If you regularly read my blog, you likely know what deliberate practice is. If not, take a look at: Career Success: Deliberate Practice-Part 1 and Career Success: Deliberate Practice-Part 2.

As you may know, Nancy, started playing golf when she was about 40. I should not give her age now except to say she is younger than me.

Even though with age, she is not hitting the ball as far as before, currently her golf handicap hovers between 3-5. When we play golf together, she typically shoots between 78 and 82. I can’t remember ever shooting an 82, much less a 78.

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Why is Nancy such a good golfer? Sure, she is an athlete. But, more importantly Nancy really works at it. She deliberately practices.

Over the years, even when I wanted to improve my golf game, I rarely practiced and when I did, I typically had no specific practice plan.

Nancy practices frequently and has a plan when she practices. While listening to her iPhone, Nancy will practice bunker shots, or putting, or flop shots.

Each time she practices, she focuses on certain shots. When I am in a bunker near the green, I am worried about either leaving the ball in the bunker, or putting it through a picture window of the home beyond the green.

When Nancy is in a bunker, she is focused on where she wants the ball to land. Before entering the bunker, she will take two or three practice swings to get the feel of how she wants to hit the ball.

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Nancy hit her second shot in the hole on the 18th at Diamanté Dunes Course

So what does Nancy’s golf have to do with us as lawyers?  The principles are the same.

If you want to become a great trial lawyer and you are not trying cases, you actually have to find ways to practice opening statements, or cross examination, or final arguments. When I was a young lawyer I read as many actual cross-examinations as I could get my hands on. Then, I would create a scene and outline how I would cross exam the witness.

Client development skills can be learned the same way.

If you want to learn how to network, go to events where you can practice. In fact, go to a networking event and approach strangers and introduce yourself.

If you want to become a better public speaker, speak in public. Consider joining a Toastmasters International club, or starting your own speaking club.

If you want to become a better writer, write and have someone review it and offer a critique. There are plenty of editors and senior lawyers who are retired, who would gladly critique your writing.

What are your plans to deliberately practice to get better?