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There are as many theories on the proper way to practice as there are effects to perform. Ask three different magicians how they practice and you'll probably get three different answers.
One of my favorite ways, and it's shared by none other than Lance Burton, is to practice in short spurts, maybe thirty minutes in length. The theory is... it gives the brain time to assimulate what it just performed. Practicing too long can definitely result in both fatigue and a general sloppiness in your handling. This is not considered 'smart' practice.
The saying in magic goes... "Practice doesn't make perfect... perfect practice makes perfect". I don't know how much truth there is to this saying, but I do know that practicing in short spurts is as close to perfect as I can get.