The goal is to win the game. In the heat of battle, there are three possible results, called loss, draw and win. Sometimes there is no battle and you are destroyed. There are two parts to become a strong practical chess player. The first part is to get an okay position in the middle game so that you can fight and do battle. The second part is to become good at fighting and doing battle.
Both parts are important and both parts need to be improved. They differ and therefore differ in the types of training and exercise that are needed to improve them. Understanding these two parts, their differences and their roles, will get you a step closer to becoming a strong practical chess player.