After making it to the gym the night of the 28th, I went out to dinner, ate until I was full, and brought home the leftovers, which I ate for lunch the next day and also dinner. Amazing—what some people eat in one meal lasts three for me. I am not a yogi or holy man in India living on a glass of ghee a day. But I sure eat less than many. No wonder I am not overweight. Now what is there about my body that requires so little food compared to others? I will do some research…

My back was a bit sore from three straight days of activity, so I rested on Wednesday. I swore to myself that I would reach the gym on Thursday, the last day of April, and that would make eight gym visits for the month. I must squeeze it in, I promised. No matter what!

I did make time Wednesday night for some more archery practice. And I had an insight that I must remember on the hunt and that applies to all sports, as well as other life situations. So often we practice one way and then perform differently “on stage.” And it is very hard to change our habits when the “real” test is in our face.

For example, when I warm up for tennis with a partner—or just hit with someone for an hour—the goal is to keep the rally going. So we make a big effort to return the ball to the guy on the other side of the net. This is especially true for me when I am practicing volleys, those returns that are hit before the ball touches the ground. I am just a couple of feet from the net, the ball is smashed at my body or close by, I reflexively hit it back before it passes me, and I hit it directly to the player across the net, so he can hit another volley to me.

What I began to notice a few months ago was that in the game I was automatically doing the same thing—returning my volley right to my damned opponent. That is what my muscle memory had been taught to do. However my only goal in the game should be to hit the ball ANYWHERE but to my opponent. I want to hit the ball where my opponent is NOT! Obvious, right? Easy? Wrong.

So over the last weeks when I am practicing, I aim away from the other guy and don’t worry a bit about inconveniencing him. Let him grumble. I keep a few balls in my pocket and feed him one of those, so our exchange isn’t interrupted for long by my volley way off the court. And guess what? My net play has improved dramatically. I am making more points, gaining more confidence and becoming a real threat to the other team.

You have to practice the way you want to perform in the real game.