by Sean McCann, PhD
US Olympic Committee
Going through the same routine in practice and competition is a useful reminder that you have done this a thousand times. The old expression of “practice like it is a competition, compete like it is a practice” describes an athlete with an effective, consistent routine. I have heard from countless athletes that simple routines enhance a sense of control and confidence. The Tiger Woods quote at the top of this column says it plainly. A routine helps an athlete feel in control, no matter what the stakes of success or failure.
An argument can be made that a coach will end up using a great deal more energy if they don’t help athletes develop great routines. An initial investment of energy in developing good habits will create a great return down the road. I see this all the time in sports, and I’ll never forget what a great coach once said to me. “Why are all these coaches screaming form the sideline? If they had done their job in practice they wouldn’t have to say anything during a game.” If a coach develops great routines, and the athletes develop great habits, then the habits make them great players.