How do athletes become top-notch? Is it just natural ability and coordination? Is it luck? Is it the ability to concentrate? Certainly it must be a bit of all three. I am not a qualified resource as to how athletes become adroit at their sport, but I do have some ideas about the sacrifice it can take to get to the top. Many kids in high school dream of making it into the NFL or the NBA. It is their dream and incentive to excel. When someone does achieve the pros, it is definitely reason to cheer and applaud. Some would say that all one needs to excel is drive. I would strongly disagree with that opinion as not all who have the drive to succeed actually make it to the pros. What prevents their making it? First of all, it depends on breaks and being at the right place at the right time. Secondly, it means staying healthy and free from injuries that can derail a career. Finally, there’s one reason that needs mentioning because it is frequently misleading. The culprit is the idea that “practice makes perfect.” That advice sounds good, but there is a flaw that can cause failure. Practice doesn’t make perfect; only perfect practice makes perfect. If you practice without adjusting and raising the bar, you can be doomed to failure or mediocrity. I will confess that I taught myself to play the organ, and I taught myself using incorrect methods. I am grateful that I can play the organ and make it sound rather good. However, no amount of practice using the methods I use will ever allow me to become a concert organist.
[Forgive me for not blogging again until October 5. I am going to see my son in a concert with Peter Cetera in Nashville, TN, and to visit with my two grandchildren who live there.]