I've never really been involved in school sports but I imagine that if you don't show up for practice you risk losing your place on the team. You are expected to say no to things that are also perfectly valuable because you have prioritized the sport. At practice, meanwhile, you do more or less as you're told. Much of it is just physical conditioning (running). Some of it is more technical (making a shot). Some of it teaches you broader strategic competences (how to move on the court). While I'm sure there'll always be some grumbling and belly-aching, and while some coaches are wiser than others in what they put their athletes through, the basic rule is that you show up and do the work. If you don't like it, there are other teams, other sports, even altogether different pursuits.
I think we could vastly improve higher education by insisting that students show up for daily writing practice. For an hour a day, first thing in the morning, students would show up and complete a series of mandatory writing tasks under the "exam conditions" I described yesterday. Many of them would consist simply in writing the best possible paragraph they can in 27 minutes, perhaps given a key sentence by the teacher/coach. Sometimes they'd be given less time to rewrite a paragraph. Sometimes they'd be asked to write a paragraph reflecting on a quotations, perhaps specifically requiring them to quote it or, alternatively, to paraphrase it. They would show up, complete the tasks, submit them, and their work would be quickly checked by a teaching assistant. The teacher would spot-check (perhaps sometimes guided by a concerned TA) and intervene in the writing development of especially weak or especially strong writers, just as a coach on a sports team corrects people who are making mistakes, pushes people who are capable of more, and lets (I'm assuming again) most of the team, most of the time, just go through the motions, which are valuable precisely because they are "exercises". The motion itself develops your talent.
I imagine this idea can be criticized as either an infantilization or a militarization of higher education. In whatever sense this criticism might hit its mark, consider my suggestion a "modest proposal", i.e., a satire of the massification and corporatization of our universities. It's a way of taking the idea that universities should "train" citizens for service to society seriously. I don't deny that at a certain point (and a very extreme one that my proposal doesn't directly imply, I will insist) such training is merely indoctrination, a preparation for a life in servitude. The same critique can be made of sports teams and scout troops at all levels. Ideally, university students would cultivate their own exquisite solitude, requiring merely a gentle, mentoring hand from their teachers and a context for ongoing conversation (a classroom). They would not need to be forced to sit down and struggle with their writing. A university education would be reserved for people with an intrinsic desire for knowledge, and it would be of no use to people who lack the curiosity and drive required. But that is not the reality; universities have become an obligatory passage point for the pursuit of a wide variety of professions, not all of which actually demand "academic" skills, but all which, for some reason, would prefer to employ people who have demonstrated a modicum of such competence.
So I'm not actually being ironic at all. In the early days of the universities students would sit in lecture halls and be read to by, yes, "readers" (lecturers) and their main job was to write down what was said. This is how books were made before the printing press. But it is also how a particular kind of mind, and a particular kind of mentality, was formed. It may, indeed, be how the peculiar inwardness of literary pleasure was originally invented. Maybe it's not for everyone. But surely there is nothing wrong with maintaining an institution that cultivates it? My proposal is just a way of introducing a bit of realism into the way we approach writing at universities. Surely, your performance as a student must demonstrate "academic" ability even if you have no desire to be a professor, just as your performance on the varsity basketball team must be "athletic" even if you have no long-term professional ambitions. Just as in sports, you'll have people coming out of this with a "merely" solid set of skills and their prose in "merely" good shape. But you are also providing a place for people of exceptional talent to excel, again just as in sports, eventually to pursue careers as professional writers, scholars, intellectuals.
P.S. I didn't do sports in school, but I was in the band for a while. Not only did we have band practice, we were also expected to practice at home. It's just so obvious in the case of music and sports! Why is it so hard to approach writing the same way?