Some of the greatest business lessons are taught at the strangest times and places. This one comes from a kid in the local gym.

After a run on the treadmill at the city gym, I walked a lap on the indoor track to cool off. The track is on the second floor of the gym and circles the exercise equipment and looks down on the basketball courts. As I walked by the second court, I noticed a kid shooting baskets by himself.

The kid was no more than 13 or 14. He would toss the basketball in the air with a spin, grab it on the bounce, and drain a basket from beyond the 3-point line. After he drained one, he would move a few feet to his right and repeat the process.

Spin. Bounce. Shoot. Swoosh. Move.

Again and again. While I walked around the court, the kid drained five 3-point shots in a row. Each was taken from a different point.

I thought, "This kid's going to be awesome when he gets to high school."

Then, I wondered how many baskets he sank before he could hit five 3-point shots in a row. I wondered how many shots he would take tonight. He was by himself. Spin. Bounce. Shoot. Swoosh. Move. Again. And again. And again.

He was barely in his teens and it was clear he must have practiced thousands of hours to reach his current level of proficiency. This was for a game.

How much do you practice for business? How much do your people practice?

Once, after a presentation at a sales meeting, one of the salespeople came up to me and asked how I seemed to know what was coming next, before the slide appeared. I brushed off the question with a joke, but the real answer was practice. Before I gave the presentation at the sales meeting, I gave it over and over again with an audience of none.

How often do your salespeople practice their presentations? How about your technicians? How easy do you make it for them to practice? What can you do to create more practice opportunities? Is it role-playing? Is it creating and recording scenarios for them to respond to when driving to and from appointments?

If we're professionals, we should practice at least as hard as a middle school athlete. So, think about it. How can you help your people practice?

Matt Michel is the CEO of the Service Roundtable, HVAC’s largest business alliance. In addition to writing for Contracting Business and Contractor Magazines, Matt also publishes his own email newsletter. Subscribe at www.ComancheMarketing.com.