“I don’t fear the man who practiced 10,000 kicks one time. I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times” – Bruce Lee
Basketball practice sounds the same no matter what gym you visit. The Chicago Bulls practice is no exception. Nike high-tops squeak, official NBA balls dribble and swish, and the world championship Chicago bulls sound like any college team.
I imagine watching these masters of the court. Everyone is dedicated. Each player logs hundreds of foul shots and jumpers. Rookies and pros alike pay attention and practice the right things the right way.
After practice, the superstars file out heading to showers, a little partying and home. However, 30 minutes later…THE Supertstar strolls back in the gym. He’s muttering something to himself and dragging a rack of balls behind him. He takes it to the top of the key, finds “his spot” and starts methodically shooting a specific shot.
7 out of 10 fly in – all net. But He’s not satisfied until he sinks 30 in a row. With a smile he leaves the gym.
The next night in Cleveland. Michael Jordan breaks the heart of Cavalier fans with one shot. It looks familiar.
A Tiger in the Sand
Nothing can quite describe the majesty of a PGA Course at the crack of dawn. The greens keepers are already fussing over the fairways and putting greens. Through the early morning dew you can see the red-shirted phenomenon standing in the practice sand trap.
In my mind’s eye, I see two buckets of balls toppled over with a few Titelists just a deft club tap away. Tiger is obsessing over one particularly difficult shot. He selects a ball drops it in the trap 7 feet from the edge.
Then, he steps on the ball burying it halfway into the sand.
He sets his stance, pantomimes one practice shot, then swings. The ball explodes out in a cloud of sand, lands on the green, and rolls to join another half-dozen balls 3 ft from the hole.
Tiger spends 2 more hours on the same shot. It shows, because it’s the same one that kills the Master’s dreams of his so-called competitors later that afternoon.
Here’s the Secret…
Just like Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods, the best content creators and blog writers instinctively practice their craft. They don’t talk about practice because it’s already second nature.
But, I’m not talking about general undirected practice.
In “Talent is Overrated”, Geoff Colvin introduced us to the magic of deliberate practice. Professionals who obsessively practice the small stuff – achieve great things. Talent helps but it’s not key. Practice is.
The same goes for writing a great blog post, crafting an ebook, teaching via video, or coaching one-on-one. Deliberate, obsessive practice makes perfect.
Here’s how you can use deliberate practice to make the impossible look easy:
Practice the Right Thing:
Blog writers need to master 3 tasks: 1) Topic Research, 2) Headline Writing, 3) Lead Writing.
Of course there are other things that you need to perfect, but practice is about focusing in on the essential skill that has the most impact. Of all the factors that I’ve studied, the topic, headline, and lead are the must-have skills.
Get these right and your blogs will get read.
Practice the Right Thing the Right Way
Visit the #1 blog in your niche. Pull their top 10 most popular posts. Copy the headline and first two paragraphs by hand. You’ll be shocked by how quickly you’ll pick up the flow and rhythm of the writer.
Go to your editorial calendar. Pick 5 topics. Then, brainstorm 10 headlines each. Don’t stop until you have at least 50 headlines.
Visit the bookstore and pick up a magazine that is a close match to your niche. Open to the table of contents. Write down the headline of three stories. Now, quickly start writing the leads (the first 2 paragraphs) of the stories. Again, complete the exercise no matter what. Go back and compare your lead to the writer’s. What do you see? What can you learn?
Practice the Right The Right Thing The Right Way – OFTEN.
Athletes call it muscle memory. Muscle memory happens when you practice something so often that you can do the task perfectly in your sleep. Frequency is the key.
Performed each exercise at least once a month. Mastery is your goal and you have to deliberately practice your skills like it was your job.
The Difference Between Masters and “Rookies”
Rookies will read this post and come up with a reason why deliberate practice doesn’t apply to them. In a few weeks, they’ll complain about not getting enough traffic, readers, retweets, or comments.
Masters are getting their coat on to go to the bookstore. They’ve already made time to practice and made it a priority.
Make your choice. Then mozy on down to the comment section and share what’s on your mind. Talk to me and I’ll talk right back!