I used to imagine that once you had the golf expertise of Tiger Woods, or the musical ability of Bela Fleck, you could only get better. Yet it is amazing to me how quickly skills and muscles atrophy.
I always knew that, without practice, skills decreased over time but I figured that the horizon was decades, not weeks or months. After running a marathon in October I might be unable to run half that distance by the end of this year without continual training.
Deliberate practice is now a well-known concept: a repetitive and intentional rehearsal of the most difficult portions of the task at hand. Every single day, continuing to press against the ceiling of your ability is how growth, improvement, or even maintenance at an elite level is achieved.
If the best golfer in the world needs to take practice swings before every shot, hit the driving range on off days, watch his diet, and workout throughout the entire year, what should you be doing to stay sharp?