Many athletes and coaches focus on doing something until it’s automatic. Sometimes this is good, but sometimes this is bad.

I recently read about a study at McDonald’s restaurants. Researchers had many people in different locations go to a McDonald’s restaurant and ask for only an order of french fries. Not a very interesting study so far, but…

63 percent of the McDonald’s employees responded, “Do you want fries with that?”

Do you want fries with your fries?

The employees were conditioned to ask that question, even though it made no sense.

Sometimes automatic is bad.

What if you only practice under perfect conditions? What if you only practice against the same people?

You won’t be able to perform outside of your “vacuum.”

Be mindful when you practice.

When I train tennis players, I purposely hit them different types of shots, different types of spin and different types of speed. I even hit different types of tennis balls once in a while, that bounce differently, just to keep the players honest.

Training should be purposeful, not just so you “look good.”

Think about it.