What are the effects of negative habits?

So, I am sure that anyone who has ever been involved in the world of sports has heard the expression “you play like you practice”. But what exactly does this mean, how does practice impact your play? Why is it important to nip poor habits in the bud? Is it more important to win with poor technique or learn proper technique and risk losing?

Here’s the thing, when you practice you are creating habits and muscle memory. If you are lazy at practice you will end up being lazy during the game. Why? Because your body and muscles will remember being lazy. If you practice the wrong technique, we will end up using the wrong technique during a game. What we practice becomes habit and habit becomes the way we play.

If you want to succeed you must practice the way you want to play. Put energy into your practice. Practice proper technique. Work to be better.

I was working with a youth goalie once and I realized that she had some flaws in the way she played. I mentioned it to her and her mom and told them that I wanted to work on adjusting these errors and correcting them. That was the last session I had with them. I was told that they were more concerned with winning now then using proper technique. They didn’t want to change her game for fear of losing. My argument was that improper technique now would become habit that would become difficult to adjust later.

So, my question is, is it more important for players to learn proper technique and risk losing or win using improper technique? I would argue that it is more important to learn proper technique and risk losing. When you are young you might be able to get by with improper technique because you are just more athletic than everyone else you or you can compensate in other ways. But there is a reason we have proper technique, as you get older and the competition becomes more difficult, your pure athleticism isn’t going to be enough.

Once a habit has been formed it becomes difficult to break it. Poor habits can be the difference between winning and losing. Practice the way you want to play, reinforce good habits, eliminate poor habits. The earlier you can catch a poor habit the easier it will be to adjust and fix it.