This essay examines Matthew Barney’s 1989 Drawing Restraint 1-6 in reference to athletic experience. It argues that the athletic experience Barney is mining in his earliest work is the ritual of practice as psychologically distinct from performance. This thesis will illustrate and describe the Drawing Restraint experiments, reference the critical response to Barney in light if his “jock status,” and provide the theoretical framework for an alternative reading of Drawing Restraint 1-6 by exploring the nature and meaning of athletic practice itself. This reading of Barney’s work is a treatise on the nature of practice. It suggests a transformation of one kind of practice (athletic) into another (art) practice and offers an alternate interpretation of Barney’s later work and the influence of the artist himself.