Talkin' bout practice?
I love thinking of working out as practice. Maybe it’s because I am a washed-up ex athlete (Sike! I still ball out). Maybe it’s because I love the idea of focused attention on exactly what I am trying to accomplish.
Deliberate practice is a hot-button topic right now. This isn’t a fad or some shit that will be here today and gone tomorrow. Deliberate practice has been around for centuries. All the successful people in anything, anywhere, EVER, implement deliberate practice.
People have this odd misconception that if you just do something over and over and over and over again, then you will just miraculously get better at it. News flash, if you practice something with bad form you will just get really good at doing it with bad form. Let’s talk basketball for a second. I can go and shoot my shot a hundred times and maybe get a little bit better at making the ball go into the basket. However, if I implement deliberate practice, my results will be substantially better. If I think about where my hand should be positioned on the ball, where my elbow should be placed, what shape I should be looking through etc., that right there is deliberate practice.
Okay, but what exactly is deliberate practice? You’re gonna be happy you asked that question. Deliberate practice is when you think about the skills you wish to improve and what you need to do in order for them to get better and implement different drills to help you become better. Another example of this would be learning how to properly run. Some things you would want to improve are arm action, stride length, turnover rate or how often you strike the ground, and location of footstrike. In order to deliberately practice these, one day you may want to work on skips or bounds, or maybe just arm action and marching, making sure your arm position, knee, and foot position are in the right place.
You must be very mindful throughout whatever it is that you are practicing in order to implement deliberate practice. Often, when we work out or write, or whatever it may be, we completely zone out. It is therapeutic for us. However, if we want to get better at doing whatever it is, we must be aware and mindful of what we are doing so we can correct the things we do not do so well. This does not mean it can’t still be therapeutic. As long as you do not become frustrated and just take each opportunity as a learning experience, there is no reason why it can’t still be therapeutic.
Deliberate practice is necessary if you want to go from good to great. I want to be great at just about anything that I do, so part of that is being very coachable, which was quite the process. The other part is making sure I deliberately practice whatever I need to work on. Just because you know perfect doesn’t exist does not mean you shouldn’t be chasing it. Knowing the true Power of Strength only comes from deliberate practice. This is why I like to think of my “workouts” as practice because I am always looking for what I can improve on knowing that I am never perfect.