Practice is particularly important, especially for athletes. Malcolm Gladwell, a famous author and economist, proposed a theory in his book, The Tipping Point, that to become a master or expert in something - especially cognitively complex skills, such as chess or music composition - takes 10,000 hours. Further, the more focused each hour is, the more quickly a person can achieve master or expert status. With that said, a certain level of natural skill and talent - as opposed to the number of hours devoted - plays a predominant role in an athlete's success on the playing field.
As so many athletes pivot to life after sport, the concept of practice and this 10,000-hour theory will become even more important. Their natural skill and talent on the playing field will likely be a fading factor. In its place, cognitive ability will become increasingly important. However, athletes will be a step ahead because of the discipline they developed on the playing field.
As you pivot to life after sport, or to your next playing field, in whatever phase of life you may be in, what are you willing to do to become a master or expert? Are you willing to devote 10,000 focused hours? Because that is what it will take!