Persistence Practice Performance
As the Woz Cup draws near, I am seeing across the globe an increase in deliberate practice, more training sessions and in general, a desire to have persistent practice in order to improve performance.
I do not believe in ‘Practice makes perfect‘ because what is perfect? Can it ever be achieved? Why put a ceiling on your goals? I always want to be better; Harder, better, faster, stronger – and to save more goals along the way of course!
But after all, practice is practice, right? Wrong – I have seen players both in Segway Polo and in other sports who aren’t switched on to what the coach is saying, who’s minds wonder and take nothing from the session. This is a waste of both your time and mine – In order to achieve your desired outcome, you will need to attain deliberate practice.
First, we should ask – What is performance?
I see performance as an observable behavior that refers to the execution of a skill in a specific period of time or in a specific manner. It will always require improvement, consistency, persistence and adaptability. It is so easy to find yourself in a routine. We all possess a preferred way to perform many skills which is why changes are so difficult to make.
Right now, I am trying to find the goal post in the corner of my eye, so I know what my body is able to cover behind me but the process of what I do when the ball is coming towards me is already so ingrained that I am finding it difficult to remember to do it.
When acquiring a new coordinated pattern to an already learned skill there is going to be a transition period. Initially, we will resist and there will be a period of instability then eventually we will adopt the new preferred pattern.
Things I believe are important to practice deliberately and successfully:
- Players become world class because they practice over and over again. Repetition becomes muscle memory.
- Stretch your ability and challenge yourself – both mentally and physically. World class players don’t stand still, they continually stretch themselves to improve.
- Set specific process goals with actions that need to be undertaken to achieve that goal – Have you heard of SMART targets?
- A passion and drive for achievements – Motivation proves itself in the end.
- Focus on your mindset – pre-performance routines and music playlists are good examples of this – Read my posts on these for more info – Linked at the bottom!
- Personal feedback can be important to your progression – ‘You need to catch more crosses and passes’ is bad feedback, ‘you need to communicate better to enable you to catch more crosses’ is good feedback. I think this sport is great at this already; I am always hearing ‘great shot’, ‘awesome save!’ and if you’re playing Barbados, well you could get anything from a round of applause to a ‘yeehaw!’. It can even be as simple as a mallet tap to a player who has just scored.
- Ensure you have some play time – This will be boring, it will be tedious, it will be long. Do something occasionally to ensure that it is still fun. Don’t get to the burnout stage because if you do, you’re already too far gone.
So when you are next practicing:
Look for improvement and consistency
Do not be disheartened by performance plateaus
Think ‘how can I make this deliberate practice?’
I can’t wait to see you all very soon – not long now!