I try to give out a newsletter to my piano students every couple of months, and I had started writing this article for that back in February, while the Olympics were on. Even though the Olympics are over now, I thought I'd share this article that I have given out to my piano students.
I enjoy watching the Olympics, and for whatever reason I especially like figure skating.
What can we learn from the Olympics? Many of these athletes, like figure skater Evan Lysacek, are very disciplined in their practice times. They train and train and practice and practice—just for their 2 or 4 minute programs! I’m sure they don’t want to go to the gym every day. They may not like what they have to do, what they have to eat, or what they can’t do because they are practicing. Some people would say that it’s too much work. Yet a lot of the lessons we learn are formed by the habits we practice. If we do something over and over again we are training ourselves to be disciplined in that action.
Sometimes they are practicing things they may already be “good” at. By doing a little research on the internet, I acquired the following information.
Lysacek has focused this offseason on improving his spins, even though they were marked high at worlds, and posture. He has trained more with choreographers and has worked on the ice with a prima ballerina, "which for me," he says, "is not the stuff I like to do. I like to jump, jump, jump, spin, spin, spin," he says. "I want to sweat. I want to work. This has been a little more of a stretch. But I have been so sore from doing this kind of work that, obviously, it's difficult, and I have so much respect for what they do." "He's been working a lot on the emotion and bringing out his feelings — rather than just doing a program that's a bunch of unconnected elements — and really interpreting the music," says Lysacek's coach, Frank Carroll.
"Evan's consistency is something I admire," said Jeremy Abbott, U.S. champion the past two seasons, who fell apart to finish 15th in the short program. "It takes a very strong mind to focus that intently and keep things on track all the time."
Whether it’s figure skating or piano, what are you practicing? Many things in life take practice—sometimes YEARS of practice. Yet our times of training are also our times of learning. No practice time is wasted time. Training yourself takes devoted TIME and effort.
But the most important TIME of our life should be the time we devote to being disciplined in the practice of godliness. (I Tim 4:8.) Whether we’re practicing piano for our spring recital, doing homework, playing sports, or helping a friend in need, do “all to the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31). Having the right attitude and mindset is vital to our spiritual discipline.