This I Believe

Barry - Clinton, Mississippi
Entered on September 12, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

I never would have thought that the sport that I love so passionately would teach me an essential life virtue that would aid me beyond the white lines of the pitch (soccer field). Throughout my childhood and teenage years, I have been influenced by a wide variety of factors and sources. Whether the influential advice be of an athletic, academic, spiritual, social, or personal nature, I have registered the information over the years and developed my own individual belief system which has molded my personality. Although I am a dynamic person with multiple strengths, I consider myself an especially athletic person so I value my athletic beliefs greatly. “Practice makes perfect”, I always tell myself, and it has paid off for me many times in the past.

I recall the occasion from my childhood that I consider to be the beginning of my real belief in the statement “practice makes perfect”. I played for a successful peewee soccer team as a kid. One night at a training session, my coach told me that if a situation came up in a game where our team had a free kick, he would want me to take it. I didn’t think much of this news at first, but then that night as I lay in my bed it hit me. What if the championship game rested on my shoulders with that free kick? What if I’m not prepared to take it, physically or mentally? I knew then that I couldn’t let that happen so I had to devote some time to practicing free kicks on my own. The very next day I forced myself to get out onto the pitch and prepare. I was far from accurate at first, but I got better the more I practiced. I finally realized that if I put myself in the situation mentally and made it “gamelike”, it would me more beneficial to my progress. Again and again I took the kick, imagining the goalie and the other players around, making the practice as realistic as possible. Finally, I was satisfied with my preparation and felt ready for the game. Our team advanced to the championship and late in the game we were tied when and a free kick opportunity came up. I confidently stepped up to the ball, imagined myself practicing that day and relaxed myself. The whistle blew and I sent the ball into the back of the net. Celebrating with my teammates, I finally realized that what I had heard from elders and coaches for so long, “Practice makes perfect!”, is really true.

I apply that principle and belief to everyday life situations now and feel that practicing situations to make myself more prone to succeed in those situations has improved my work ethic if nothing else. As I have matured, I have applied this belief to non-athletic situations such as schoolwork and social interaction. One thing is for sure: “practice makes perfect” is one of my strongest personal beliefs and a defining attribute of my character.