Practice makes perfect, no matter the sport you choose

Roger George, The Bee’s fishing expert, on his trip to Alaska earlier this year.
Roger George, The Bee’s fishing expert, on his trip to Alaska earlier this year. Special to The Bee

I went fishing with a good friend the other day, and he made a statement about golf that stopped me dead in my tracks. He said, “I notice most guys golf about once or less a week but I think you have to golf about three times a week to really improve.”

I’ve seen golfers going from driver to driver, always trying to find the elusive “secret” of golf success and never changing their mechanics, while others focus on putting in the consistent practice it takes to become a better golfer. Likewise, I’ve seen many anglers who seem to believe that becoming better means finding the latest hotspots, or getting the newest lure. Rather than working to become better, they are always looking for the next “thing” to exploit. I would suggest that focusing on becoming a better angler transcends depending on getting the next “tip” and goes back to the practice and work you do to improve yourself and your skills. Who do you think succeeds?

For myself, I saw a big change when I went up to three days a week fishing from being at one day a week for so many years. I found that being immersed on a more consistent basis gave me skills I didn’t have before. I began making better and quicker decisions, along with new insights and instincts.

I’ve found that when you don’t know why you know something is when you’ve reached some level of this kind of immersed learning. I’m sure you’ve heard that if you want to be an expert in your field you need to spend 10,000 hours doing it. Transformation is what happens.

At the apex of my decathlon career I was having a problem with my discus technique. This went on for a month. One night, after analyzing my technique for hours, I went to bed, only to bolt awake at 2 a.m. because I had “seen” the solution. I actually got out of bed (my wife thought I was crazy) and did a perfect discus movement! I went out the next day and threw as well as I ever had. Where did it come from? All my training had taken over. Sort of like when an experienced old codger pulls out the perfect lure at the right time. The solution had surfaced, and it felt right.

Immersion and consistent practice take work and most anglers avoid this like the plague. Practicing these disciplines can transform your life and your fishing. I think that great anglers relentlessly build their bases of knowledge and skill levels while also seeking out challenges. They embrace the work because they know this is where new skills, insights and solutions are hidden and built.

Playing golf once a week can keep you in the game, but the next level seems to take more time and focus than many are willing to give. That’s what separates good from great. You choose. The path is clear.

Never give up!

Roger George is The Bee’s fishing expert: rogergeorge8000@sbcglobal.net, Rogergeorgeguideservice on Facebook and @StriperWars