In the past I would confuse training and practice, using the words interchangeably. Over time I realized there is a distinct difference and it’s an important one. Once I understood the difference I was able to properly use training, (as well as competition), to steer the direction of my practice sessions. Much like circumstances dictate strategy, we can say training and competition dictate practice.
Training, and competition, allows someone else to dictate the direction of the events hopefully taking us out of our comfort zone. Training will reveal weaknesses, and holes in my game. How often does gear break in practice compared to training or competition? Almost every time one of my guns failed me wasn’t during a practice session. Pouches or holsters don’t shear off hangars in practice but during a competition or training event? That one screw I didn’t Loctite will sure enough work loose and allow a crucial piece of gear to fall away.
If you want to see an athlete work on a weak point, let that weak point be the cause of a loss. I lost an MMA fight to a rear naked and poor physical prep. Guess who has two thumbs and worked escapes from rear naked chokes every practice for months after that event? This guy. This guy also put some serious work into understanding water depletion and re-hydration as it pertains to making weight. I think I had a water bottle in my hand every waking moment for six weeks after that experience. Want to know what else was in my water bottle in addition to water? A pinch of sea salt but that’s subject matter for another day.
I strongly encourage you to participate in training and/or competition as often as you can so you can find weak points in your game. Once you know your weak points, construct a practice regimen to consistently strengthen your weak points until you don’t have any weak points.