Developing Positive Practice Habits

Practice Habits in Sports

Have Successful Practice Habits for Athletes

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

This quote is profound and is particularly true for athletes.

Yet so many athletes engage in bad practice habits.

In baseball, many hitters will not run out ground balls…

In gymnastics, many gymnasts will stop their routine in practice after a fall…

In swimming, many swimmers will glide into the finish during long sets…

In tennis, some players will not go hard to get to a wide ball if it requires extra effort…

In golf, some golfers will not perform their pre-shot routine prior to every shot…

When you Repeat a Bad Habit, you are Reinforcing that Habit

Regrettably, many athletes say things such as, “I never do that in competition,” or, “It’s only practice.”

The unfortunate reality is that athletes fall back on their habits when they are tired, under more pressure or during critical moments of competition.

The only way to overcome bad habits is to replace those behaviors with more positive productive habits.

Second-year quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys, Dak Prescott, understands the importance of positive competitive habits.

One characteristic of successful quarterbacks is taking care of the football and Prescott threw a mere four interceptions in 459 pass attempts.

In an interview, Prescott revealed that his success as quarterback has everything to do with habits, something he learned from his mother after a bad practice when he was younger.

PRESCOTT: “I just remember coming home from practice one day, and I wasn’t too happy, and told her that I didn’t have a good day, that I threw a couple of interceptions. She was like, ‘Well why are we practicing interceptions? Those aren’t good habits.’ That’s something that I’ll never forget, but it’s true. Don’t practice bad habits. I don’t give the ball to a defensive player. Teammates ask me for the ball all the time, and I’ll set it on the ground and let them pick it up, but I won’t throw it to them, and I won’t give it to them.”

Prescott has taken forging habits to a new level and there is no denying of his results.

If you want to achieve more in your sport, perform more consistently or shine when the pressure is on, try focusing on developing strong, effective, positive habits that are in line with your athletic goals.

For a volleyball player, that may mean jump up high to block shots…

For a soccer player, that may mean aggressively go after loose balls…

For a basketball player, it may mean committing to a preshot routine prior to each foul shot in practice…

In order for you to be successful in your sport, you must first have successful habits.

How to Develop Positive Competitive Habits:

Identify 1-2 habits that are critical for success in your sport and make you stand out among your peers.

Determine how and when you will work on these new habits in training.

Prior to each repetition or drill, say to yourself, “repetition builds habits,” to remind yourself to focus on the new behavior.

You are what you repeatedly do!

Start today by developing the habit of refocusing when you are distracted using the strategies in The Focused Athlete.

Related Sports Psychology Articles:

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