I watched the world snooker final last night. I should be honest, I love sport and I am particularly tied to two sports which I have grown up with, watched and participated in throughout my life. Neither of them is snooker. However, I don’t mind saying I love the world snooker finals in Sheffield each year.
Why do I like watching the snooker finals and why am I writing about it on what is essentially a recruitment business website?
- I find snooker relaxing.
The dark red carpet, then the perfectly clean and equally vibrant green cloth on the table, the sound the balls make when striking each other. All of this combined with the fact there is not much talking during the commentary of the matches, is why I find it relaxing. When you live and work in a world which is driven by communication, it’s nice to switch off sometimes.
- I’m blown away by the mental resilience of snooker players.
During yesterday’s match there was a period where for over 25 minutes not a single ball was potted. There was also three matches where one player just dominated, potted for fun as they say and the other player just sat in their chair watching, unable to respond. In the fourth game the player on the receiving end of three straight losses stepped up and scored a century break to stop the run as if nothing had ever happened. How much mental strength must these players have? The margins of error, the focus, the calculation of angles, scores, what your opponent could do if you miss, and the fact you have to just sit and watch this happen. I’m in awe of it.
Neither of these things are the purpose of this post however. Ask any snooker player how they reach the top level, and they will start by saying one thing: practice. Practice, practice, practice. From whatever age a person starts their snooker career, they will tell you it is all about the hours they put in on the practice table that develops their skills and capability.
Now if snooker is not your thing, then don’t worry about it, in reality we could be talking about any high level, elite sport. However having watched the snooker this weekend, having been amazed by how repetitive it is, it really got me thinking.
To be the best at snooker you have to practice to arguably an extreme level. However, we can’t and don’t all want to be snooker players, but why don’t we apply this logic to our professional lives? Why don’t we practice to become better at the work we do? I don’t mean trying new things and taking a different approach to work. I mean practice, practice away from the ‘live environment’ of your work. Practice of doing the aspects of your work you need to get better at, or add the most value. Not an annual training quota and or course, but relentless, all consuming, repetitive, frustrating, mind-numbing and skill enhancing practice?
We are taught from such a young age that practice makes perfect. Honestly how many times have you heard that? How many times have you said that?
If practice really does make perfect, then surely we are not just saying this applies to the sporting world? If practice does make perfect, why don’t we do it more? Why do businesses not embrace, reward and incentivise practice?
There is so much noise out there currently on how we can all be better people, better at work and better in life. Maybe we should stop listening to that noise and just practice at the thing we spend most of our working week doing? Maybe the answer is simple, if we practice at work, we will get better at work. If we get better at work, we might feel better about ourselves and the role work plays within our life?
Does practice make perfect in a professional environment?
This blog was written by Simon Brown, Founder of Digital 51 and frustrated sports enthusiast. If you would like to discuss with Simon why his maximum break in snooker is 48 and why if he practiced more this might increase, then contact him on