Practice for Love: Practice more. Improve more. Love it more.
by Terry Laughlin

Posted on November 4th, 2010

The main point of my recent post Love the Plateau wasn’t that Masters love the plateau. It was that they love Practice.Those who are more outcome-oriented in their practice experience doubt or impatience if they perceive stagnation. Masters, being process-oriented experience the satisfaction and enjoyment of total immersion in a high-value activity.

A recent comment by Marvin Cantos on my blog How Would Einstein Teach Swimming reminded me of one of my favorite illustrations of what it means to Love Practice.  Though I’m new to swimming, I related to your article from watching pro golfer Fred Couples swing a golf club. He does it with such grace and flow, and mental calm.

The sports psychologist Robert Rotella has worked extensively with top PGA Tour golfers. The key insight I’ve gotten from his work came from his noticing a strong correlation between practice time and tour ranking. He noticed that those who were highest on the scoring and earnings list were also those he observed spending the most time practicing between competitive rounds, sometimes up to 8 hours a day.

His initial thought were that their motivation to practice so much was competitive or financial. When he interviewed them he learned it was very different. They told him that swinging a golf club was just so flat-out rewarding and enjoyable, there was nothing they’d rather do more.

It makes perfect sense that, if you’re among the world’s best golfers, practicing your swing or shots would virtually always be a Flow State activity, which little else in life might match.

That produce a ‘virtuous cycle.’ The more they practiced, the more they improved, the more they enjoyed swinging a golf club . . . the more they practiced . . . and so on to Golfing Nirvana.

Here’s more from Rotella

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3 Responses to “Practice for Love: Practice more. Improve more. Love it more.”

  1. Rob Polley says:

    Terry,
    I’ve been reading about this concept lately. I recommend “Talent is overrated”. You’ll love it.

    Thanks for doing all you do!

    –Rob Polley

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  2. marvin cantos says:

    That was an excellent interview. “You can’t always be the winner, but you can aways be a winner”. That quote by Bob Rotella is a classic. At 51 yrs old, the one thing I have learned in life as in swimming, the more you like it, the more you will want to do it and the more fun you’ll have doing it. I look forward to reading this blog everyday almost as much as I look forward to going to the pool. Another wonderfull article Terry.

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  3. Rob
    I did read Talent is Overrated in July 2009, shortly after reading the similar book, The Talent Code. The latter book is the one that started me on studying the neurobiology of both excellence and flow. Which stimulate precisely the same areas of the brain. The same behaviors that produce flow, produce excellence and Mastery.

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