“Play Like You Practice!”
One of the most important pre-trial preparation steps you will undertake is getting your client ready for cross-examination. You know that no matter how well you prepare the rest of your case, if your client falls apart during cross-examination, the case may be lost. Yet despite its importance, many trial lawyers' client cross-examinations preparations are woefully inadequate.
The reason their attempts fall short isn't because the attorneys don't know what topics to tackle, and it's not because they don't know how to frame their questions. The reason they fall short is because most trial lawyers are afraid to practice like they'll play.
One of my favorite maxims from sports is “Practice like you play.” From little league to the professional leagues, coaches at every level of play invoke this phrase to push their players, because they know that a player's performance during practice determines his level of success on the field. If a player can perfectly execute drills during the third hour of practice, when his body is weary and ready to give out, then you can be assured he'll be able to perfectly execute those same skills during the final moments of the game.
One of the worst things coaches can do is to ease up on their players when they get tired during practice. If he lets them take it easy or run at 3/4 speed, that lack of discipline will come back to haunt the team during the next game. By pushing his players hard and expecting them to give 100% during practice, the coach ensures that his players develop strong habits that will carry over to the field and help them win games. The only players who prefer “easy” coaches are the players who don't care about winning. Winners want the coach who will push them to their limits during practice, so that the gameday adversity seems easy by comparison.