Late Sunday night and into the early hours of Monday morning, the Tampa area experienced some severe thunderstorms. Having grown up here, storms don’t bother much at all anymore. I’ve learned to sleep through anything. But as parents will attest to, having kiddos changes the nighttime routine a bunch.

Jesse, our 6-year old, really never reacted negatively to storms but 3-year old Quinn always has. Shoulda knocked on wood, cause last night set them both off.

After epic meltdowns in their rooms, Quinn opted to stay in bed with Mandy and Jesse requested that I sleep with him. No problem buddy! (He never asks for me so I was thrilled). As we were settling into bed, with the thunder and lightning still doing their thing, Jesse turned and asked if we could say a prayer. “Of course…you want me to say it or do you want to?” “Let’s say one together,” he replied. What that meant is that he’d be repeating everything I said. No big deal I thought; I’ve been saying prayers as long as I can remember. Man – nothing like hearing your words repeated back to realize you need some MAJOR work in that area. How come when Mandy prays, it seems to flow effortlessly? How come our pastor on Sunday makes it sound so well rehearsed…even when it’s done on the fly?!

And exactly how does this apply to you, in the gym?

A couple weeks ago (7/6/18), we did a workout that had a ton of snatches in it. After I finished it on my own, Bart asked how difficult the snatches felt for me, as he had some difficulty with them. I told him they weren’t an issue…its a movement I’ve done thousands of times, perhaps hundreds of thousands of times, over the past 15 or 16 years. And thats when it hit me – I’ve been practicing the Olympic lifts for a loooooong time. My habits have been honed through countless repetitions over the years. I don’t think twice about how or where to grip the bar. I don’t need to need to be reminded to hook grip. I don’t wonder how far apart my feet should be spread at the start or what the tempo and timing of a good lift should feel like. Now don’t get me wrong – I am by NO means a world class weightlifter. Not even close. But even under fatigue, nothing changes in my movement. My reps when I’m tired look identical to when I’m fresh. It’s second nature.

Practice. Practice is what matters.

But not just ANY practice. Deliberate, perfect practice. No wasted reps. Everything done with intention.

In Malcolm Gladwell’s book ‘Outliers,’ he talks about the ability to achieve mastery in a task after 10,000 hours.  But his point has been misunderstood by many. It’s not merely accumulating 10,000 hours of doing something. But as I said above it is 10,000 hours of deliberate practice – working specifically to improve at one thing.

So I said above that I’ve been praying for as long as I can remember, which begs the question – then why am I not any good?

How many of you snatch as good in real life as you do in your minds eye? Exactly. There’s a difference between doing something in the comfort of your own head (like praying or snatching) and doing it out loud, or on a platform.

My next step? Praying aloud with my kiddos, every chance I get.

Yours? Whatever you aim to improve, do with intention.