Practice like you play

Published 6:52 pm Thursday, July 11, 2019

Despite what Allen Iverson may say, practice is important. It’s not a game; we’re talking about practice. If you’ve heard a coach say this, you’ve heard it a million times, “You practice how you play.” As frustrating as that might be to hear in the middle of the summer heat, drenched in your own perspiration with full pads and a helmet on, or wherever a sport has a student-athlete playing, it’s true.

Practice helps athletes elevate their game. Making a mistake in practice may get overlooked, but making that same mistake in a game, may cost the team points.

Coaches can tolerate mistakes, because they make them too. However, it’s the mental mistakes that drive coaches crazy.
“We always want to practice with intensity. For success to happen on Friday nights, players have to be mentally and physically focused at practice,“ head football coach of Southside, Jeff Carrow said. “We as coaches can fix mistakes, not effort. We tell our guys, ‘If you make a mistake, make it at full speed!’”

Giving 100% in practice is important. If a player is not going full speed in practice, then a player might not know what they’re capable of in a game situation.

“As a coach, we don’t want our players falling victim to (practicing poorly, which translates to game day),” Carrow said. “100% is a must. A player must practice at 100% to be evaluated by a coach. It also affects players’ conditioning levels. Those that practice hard play hard and train their bodies to be in game-shape.”

In a lot of cases, college scouts and recruiters prefer to watch a players’ practice or a camp rather than a game. Work ethic is tested every day walking onto the hardwood, gridiron or field. If a player doesn’t show their own coaches that they have a good work ethic, then coaches certainly will not relay their names to any college coaches.

It’s important to keep in mind that a player never knows who is watching them. If a player can showcase skill, a great work ethic and a high-IQ within their sport, someone will take notice and talk about it.

“It is our job as coaches to create an organized and effective practice that gives our players the best environment to grow and develop mentally and physically,” Carrow said. “As a coach, you must create a good culture, goals and expectations that fits and provides the team a path for success.”

The rest is up to the players to fulfill the foundation that has been laid out for them.