Courtesy: Rudo Loock
As athletes, we hear the saying, “Practice makes perfect,” all too often. Although it might be true in some cases, it gives a false sense of our abilities most of the time. Perfection is something all of us strive for in everything we do. However, perfection is not always realistic.
When we don’t achieve perfection after countless hours of practice, we tend to develop a sense of self-rejection. We think that we are not good enough anymore when, in reality, we are better than we were yesterday. So how exactly does practice make us better?
1. Practice allows us to fail
I have talked about the importance of failure in many of my previous posts. Failure is not what keeps you from reaching success. Failure is what makes you successful. So embrace it. Never be afraid to fail. The beauty of practice is that it allows us to fail without any real consequences. See practice as an opportunity to fail.
Failure is what helps us grow into better athletes. It allows us to learn from our mistakes and move forward. Failure provides us with the opportunity to rethink, evaluate and find new ways to reach our goals. It is not a wall that keeps us from moving past, but rather a gate that we can walk through.
2. Practice shows us what we are capable of
When someone asks you what the most challenging practice is that you have ever done, there will always be at least one practice that comes to mind. I can think of several practices that I have done throughout my swimming career that I thought would be impossible. Yet, I completed them and was happy about the way I finished them.
Overcoming hardships in our lives shows us what we are capable of. Practice, in most cases, is a mental game. There is one quote that we had all heard before that I used to think of when I thought I was too tired to carry on:
“THE BODY ACHIEVES WHAT THE MIND BELIEVES”
If you think you can, then you can. It really is as simple as that. My eleventh-grade physics teacher once told me, “If you think you can, then you are right. If you think you can’t, then you are right too.” Belief can go a long way.
When competition eventually comes around, it will hurt, and your muscles will ache. However, you will be able to push past the pain because that is precisely what you have done in practice. This is the mindset we need to have. We compete the way we practice.
3. Practice makes us realize there is always more to learn
This is the reason we can never be perfect. As we grow older, we begin to realize that there will always be more to learn about what we do. Those who believe they know everything are the ones who get stuck in their ways. As a result, they wonder why their peers are progressing while they are not.
The most successful athletes in the world are the ones who are willing to learn while others are not. We have to be willing to learn every day for the rest of our lives because that is how we get better and how we move forward. That is how we become champions of our world.
They have realized that it is okay not to be perfect. If you are perfect, you cannot grow. If you cannot grow, then you cannot get better. Remember, we can always strive to be perfect. If you retire one day and can honestly say that you gave it everything you have, what more could anyone possibly ask for?
ABOUT RUDO LOOCK
My name is Rudo Loock and I am from South Africa. I was blessed with an opportunity to go swim for Florida State University. I am a 4-time ACC qualifier and one time NCAA qualifier. After battling many ups and downs throughout my career, I now aim to share my knowledge about the sport’s physical and mental side through my personal blog at www.alpha-mindz.com with the rest of the swimming world.