I’ve never been good at practicing. Anything. Not only do I hate practicing, it never seems to help me. Now, I admit that I’ve probably always expected immediate results, which I know is unrealistic. But that’s too bad.
There is one exception to this, and that is if I can practice by actually participating in the activity. I have no issue with this at all. In fact, I can sometimes even manage to practice alone by competing against myself, if possible. But I know that this is simply not the same as routine practice, such as specific skill drills.
As I’ve apparently only rarely mentioned, I participate in a pool league once a week. We play both 8-ball and 9-ball and I’m a fairly decent player. Even though I have a pool table at my house, I never practice. It used to be that I would at least play some 9-ball by myself, but that was mostly a waste of time as I wouldn’t really focus. I certainly would never do any of the drills that are often suggested.
I hate the driving range. Hate. Hate. Hate. Practicing chips and putts is not quite so bad, but I’d rather just play a few holes. Or 18. Though the obvious decline in my game over the last several years argues that this “improve through play” system is no longer working for me.
OK, I guess I technically practice photography in as much as I often just take pictures of random things to experiment with techniques and settings. However, even then I’m always looking for interesting subjects for my photo blog. Certainly if I’m going to be taken some portraits I try to take some test shots before hand. I suppose this comes as close to practice as anything I do. Perhaps this is just an indication that I take photography more seriously than my other endeavors?
While I do make sure to log a reasonable amount of time in these activities before a scheduled event, it’s more about simply participating in the activity than about training for the event.
I’m not even sure how I would go about practicing racquetball. I would like to play twice a week instead of my current once a week, though.
I haven’t really played bridge since we moved back to Austin over ten years ago. I miss it. This is something I actually did practice, though practicing was usually in the form of casual play. But sometimes I would create contrived hands to practice bidding, with my more experienced partner critiquing my choices.
Of course, this is last example is mental practice rather than physical practice, which makes it distinctly different from the other examples (except photography, perhaps). That naturally brings up the parallel of studying in school as a form of practice. And that was another thing I generally avoided. It worked out fine, and I don’t certainly have no regrets with my current status in life, but I do occasionally wonder what might have happened had I had the wherewithal to really apply myself. Perhaps that’s a topic for another time.