What is Good Practice?


We are talking about practice. We have a sign at the gate of all three of our practice arenas, but there is much more than just the sign.
I recently had the chance to sit in on a conversation with other sports coaches about practice. From experience and the conversation it seems that there is a lot most of us can do to improve practice. Signs and motivational sayings are great, but there is much more we can all do to get more out of practice.
For most rodeo athletes practice time is limited and it is not as structured as most other sports. However the general consensus was that a lot of practice time is wasted because of a lack of focus. Coaches and students alike can have a lack of focus that can waste valuable practice time. Runs and rides in the practice pen should be approached with a high level of focus to get results. If possible find a way, a routine, to focus for your practice. Make your time in the practice pen count.
Student and coaches need to find a way to set expectations in the practice pen. Coaches need to be able to set the expectation of how they want their students to be coachable and students need to understand the importance of being coachable. All members of the team need to understand the expectation of being a good teammate. The final expectation needs to be for effort and energy in the practice pen. There is no substitute to effort and energy in the practice pen, bring it every day.
Finally what is a definition of a good practice? If you have a team with 25 students you will probably get 25 different answers on what a good practice is?
So what is a good practice for you?
Does one good run or ride define a good practice for you?
Does improvement or progress define a good practice for you?
You and your coach should both know your definition of a good practice. Have that conversation with them, whether it is your parents, a paid coach, your high school coach or your college coach. The students who have the most improvement usually have strong communication with their coach.
For most everyone practice time is limited. Make sure you make the most of it. Show up focused and know what you are working on in that practice session. Set expectations that will lead to improvement. Bring energy and effort to the practice pen. And finally know your definition of a good practice.

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