The Importance of a Pre-Shot Routine

Three dribbles. Stop. One more dribble. Stop. Bend the knees and become one with the shot as I follow through the ball figuratively extending my elbow and wrist like Stretch Armstrong all the way through the center of the goal swishing the ball through the net. It’s the same routine for me every time I shoot a free throw. It’s been that way since Jr. High, although I shoot a lot less meaningful free throws these days.

Drew Shooting Free Throw

In the arena of peak sports performance, we call it a pre-shot routine, and it is the key to making a great shot. In sports, every successful athlete develops a routine before they perform. The idea of a pre-shot routine applies to all sports even though the specific sport may not involve an actual “shot.” Each athlete develops a systematic routine that involves both physical and mental activity that helps them prepare to perform at their best. While every athlete may have nuances within their specific approach, a pre-shot routine typically involves the following components:

  • Mental focus – Preparing your mind to focus on a positive outcome and simplifying your thoughts to replace extraneous thoughts and distractions
  • Physical Preparation – Preparing your body to perform the task at hand

Athletes realize they can’t just summon focus magically in the moment. Preparation is the key.

The concept a pre-shot routine applies not only to sports but also to other areas of our lives like our vocation, our community, and our relationships. In my book Moments: Making Your Life Count For What Matters Most, I call this principle “Focus on the Moment” and explain that in order to have focus IN the moment, you have to focus ON the moment which involves considering the following questions:

  • What’s at stake?
  • Who else is involved?
  • How can I make a difference?

A successful presenter doesn’t just step up to the microphone and magically demonstrate focus. He or she prepares in advance carefully considering the moment, the audience, and the message. An incredible client meeting doesn’t just happen. You have to consider the needs, challenges, and questions of the other person and be prepared to provide answers and solutions that will make a positive impact. Great families don’t just happen. You have to focus on the outcomes you want to see and the opportunities you have to impact the people in your family. Effective weeks don’t just appear out of thin air. You have to be proactive and develop a “pre-shot routine” for your weeks and days that will put you into a position to “score” (i.e. be effective).

Question: What is your pre-shot routine for your life? How do you prepare for your days and weeks? Do you think your days could be more productive and effective if you spent time preparing and focusing ON the moment? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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