Practice? We Talkin’ Bout Practice

Game 6 of the NBA Finals was one of the best games, ever.
Ray Allen made an incredible 3 with just a few seconds left on the clock.
Everyone thought the game was over.
The Heat “fans” left the arena early (and were denied re-entry).
The O’Brien trophy was being prepared to be presented to the Spurs.
But, Allen hit that 3.

And many people called it a miracle.

But, I think it was more of a result of his practicing this shot. Over and over. And over.
This is the guy who practice shooting 3s in the dark.
He’s the guy that does this

Basically, he practices his shot so much, that under enormous pressure, his form doesn’t cave into the pressure; it becomes natural to him. He can rely on his instincts and not cave or crumble.
Maybe that’s why so many of us bristled at Allen Iverson when he went off on a tangent about practice:

Because practice is absolutely important.
Boring, maybe at times. But crucial. And essential.

The more we practice, the more it becomes natural to us, and the more we don’t lose our composure in pressure moments.

I read somewhere that famous Korean golfer Se Ri Park’s father often left her in a tent by herself in a cemetery. At night. So that she knows fear and pressure and won’t be overcome by it during a crucial moment on the course.

In a very roundabout way, what I’m trying to say is that in order to do the right thing when everyone’s watching — we have to continue to do the right thing when no one is watching.

Our private lives, the way we conduct ourselves when no is looking, will form our very public lives; what we say, do, think in our private lives will affect our public lives.

One feels more confident in making that pressure-filled, buzzer beating shot if you practiced that shot thousands of times a day. In dark. Or practice the form by shooting off the wall.

Doing the right (not the popular) thing when everyone is looking is very difficult and stressful and pressure-filled. But doing the right thing when everyone is looking becomes easier when one has done the right thing over and over when no one was watching.

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