Practicing is indeed a very simple concept misunderstood. We know the benefits of practicing a lot but very rarely do we actually practice. There goes a saying that "practice makes perfect". While this makes a point as to it's importance, I truly believe the correct phrase is "practice makes permanent". Many players feel that by constantly playing games eventually you'll get better. This might happen... quite similar to rolling dice.
Here are a few tips
1. Eliminate multitasking and practice concepts
I mentioned in my last article the importance of fully understanding each and every basic element of your academia. This is what separates the pro's from the amateurs. Once you cover a single core concept you should be spending your practice time putting knowledge into play. Advantages are useless if you don't understand the importance and can't seem to improve your play with that aspect.
Multitasking is a very dangerous practice because it makes it near impossible to diagnose the root of your problems.
2. Don't practice to win... practice to execute.
If you practice correctly you will eventually build yourself a city of solid walls, great defense and a set of reliable offense tools. The great thing about practicing to correctly execute different elements is because you will be surprised how quickly you improve in competition and also how seemly abstract concepts seem practical.
Practicing to win only teaches you how to win the matches you are familiar with (leaving a lot of improvement to chance).
3. Solving puzzles develops tournament level tricks.
Solving puzzles are simply a great way of developing offensive analysis skills. Therefore I recommend always having an unused puzzle book at your disposal.
In higher level competitions simply playing basic will prevent you from advancing while your opponent builds a breakdown strategy. Chess is not for the passive.
4. If you have to think about it you don't really know it.
Keep practicing until it's second nature.
5. No substitution
Take advantage of everything practicing and studying has to offer. Every pawn has it's square.
Practice thoroughly and frequently. When you have free time simply ponder about the aspect's you've learned. Never let what you'v learned go to waste. As always have fun. Happy practicing!!!