Your Inner Athlete column: Practice doesn’t make perfect

Haley Perlus
Your Inner Athlete

On Nov. 23, the New York Giants were playing against the Dallas Cowboys. New York Giant’s wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. made what people are calling the “greatest catch you’ll ever see.” It was a one-hand … actually three-finger catch while flying backwards in the endzone.

In the post-game interview, Beckham thanked his mom for his long fingers, but I want to point out that nothing about this catch was fluke or luck.


You know the saying practice makes perfect? Do yourself a favor and replace that saying in your mind with a quote from English footballer Sir Robert William: Practice makes permanent. As a daily performance motto, “practice makes permanent” will have a tremendous impact on your performance in whatever sport or activity you are currently pursuing.

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Beckham did not pull this one-handed catch out of thin air. On the contrary, one arm catches are part of his pre-game routine. He puts on his headphones, listens to tunes and practices one-handed catches.

Because Beckham has been practicing these one-handed catches, when the opportunity demanded him to make a one-handed catch in a real game situation, he was ready for it.


The mental toughness lesson we can all learn from 22-year-old Beckham is to practice what we want to make permanent. Whatever technical skill you’re focused on improving, just like Beckham, include drills that target that technical skill.

Practice makes permanent! It’s one of my favorite quotes and one I ask all of my clients to remember and incorporate in their daily performance. So, what’s it going to be for you? What can you practice today to make permanent in your performance?

With a Ph.D. in sport and exercise psychology, and numerous fitness and coaching certifications, Haley Perlus empowers athletes of all types and health enthusiasts to achieve peak results. An adjunct professor at the University of Colorado, international speaker, former alpine ski racer, appointed industry leader for and author, Perlus helps people reach their highest standard of performance. For more information and free chapters of her soon-to-be-released books, visit

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