Larry Bird, the “Hick from French Lick,” is one of the greatest players in NBA history. In an accolade-laden 13-year career Bird was a three-time NBA champion, three-time NBA MVP, two-time NBA Finals MVP, and a 12-time All-Star.
Bird is famous not only for his in-game performance, but also for his tremendous work ethic and dedication to practice. His game-day routine was to show up a couple of hours before tip-off to practice his shooting. Starting at the free throw line and then moving all over the court, Bird would shoot about 300 shots. Amazingly, he didn’t keep count. “I just shoot until I feel good,” he would say.
He was also known for his conditioning, which made him such a great fourth-quarter player — he just didn’t get tired. Larry Legend knew the importance of conditioning, running wind-sprints and breaking off 3-to-5-mile runs religiously. In 2007, 15 years after retiring, Bird impressed the importance of conditioning on his Indiana Pacers players by running a 5:20 mile.
His dedication to preparation was learned early in life. As a 13-year old, he played a pick-up game with older boys who commented on how good he was. In his own mind, he didn’t think he was very good, but from that point on he was determined to become an even better player. Each weekday he would walk to school early to practice free throws — 500 each morning! All of the effort and repetition paid off: Uncle Larry would go on to shoot an astounding 89 percent from the stripe across his entire NBA career.
Bird understood that being successful at something means learning how to do that thing, and then practicing it until it becomes second nature. “I don't know if I practiced more than anybody, but I sure practiced enough,” he said.
IT certification is a lot like Legendary Larry. Certification also requires obsessive practice from aspiring IT pros hoping to achieve success. Anyone can learn the fundamentals of basketball or IT, but you need to practice those skills until they become as normal to you as breathing.
This point was hammered home when I heard a TestOut employee say, “Preparing for an IT exam without LabSim is like learning how to play basketball without shooting at a basket.” Learning the raw information encompassed by an IT certification is only part of being successful. You have to work through the practical applications of what you learn until you can execute it flawlessly in any situation.
Because certification exams are stressful and taken under timed conditions, there is no better way to develop your skills and confidence than by answering the questions and performing required tasks until you can do them in your sleep. LabSim contains expert instruction, simulation labs, text lessons, and practice exams all designed to prepare you for industry certification exams.
Practice isn’t glamorous. It’s usually difficult, tiring and at times frustrating. But successful professionals know that it’s necessary. To switch sport metaphors, legendary Dallas Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach said, “Spectacular achievements are always preceded by unspectacular preparation.”
About the Author — Calvin Harper is an associate editor for GoCertify and a veteran of the publishing industry. Calvin has never been to French Lick, but he does enjoy French fries and French toast.