April 16, 2018 - If You Miss a Practice Session, You Will Know

The great writer Ray Bradbury wrote, in his book Zen in the Art of Writing, "Remember that pianist who said that if he did not practice every day he would know, if he did not practice for two days, the critics would know, after three days, his audiences would know."

This quote applies to most pursuits where you might want to reach a high level, including table tennis. However, it only applies if you understand what Bradbury was actually saying. To some, he was merely making a factual observation. However, if that's your interpretation, I believe you are missing the point.

To one who wishes to reach a high level in something - anything - it is the thinking involved that Bradbury was referring to. While it might be true that after two days of not practicing, the critics would know, and after three days, the audiences would know, what's key is that first day - that if he did not practice for one day, he would know.

Why is this important? Because a champion has high standards or he would not be a champion, and so must set those standards himself, and not rely on what the critics or audiences think. He knows that to reach and maintain those standards, he must practice every day, excluding rest days (generally once a week). And after those rest days, when he knows he's missed a day, if he's a champion (or wants to be a champion), he'll be raring to go, to make up for that missed practice day.

Not everyone has time to practice every day, and you don't have to strive to be a champion in every endeavor. But you too should set a standard for how often you need to practice to reach your particular goals, and when you miss a session, you will know, and will strive to make sure it doesn't happen again. Hopefully, you won't miss so many that the critics and audience will know!!!