Deliberate Practice

In Get Moving, every Thursday is Thinking Thursday. But this is a concept I use not only with Get Moving clients, but with everyone. This is what I mean by that…

Level 1 – Going through the motions

When it comes to exercise, building physical experience is everything. In other words, we actually have to physically do the moves. This is why improving our health through exercise is such a simple process (I’m not saying it’s easy, I’m saying it’s simple…they are very different things!) We just need to turn up, go through the motions, and repeat.

This is why exercise classes and the such as so good. People turn up, do the moves, done! Huge health benefits are yours! But this is the low hanging fruit. This is definitely “Level 1” stuff.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking this at all. Absolutely everyone starts at Level 1. You, me, your favourite sports star, every Olympic champion ever, they all started at Level 1. And for many people, that is all they want and need, so they will stay at Level 1. And I am not knocking anyone at all for doing that.

However, the vast majority of people hire a coach like me because they want to progress beyond that. They want more. And so, we have Level 2…

Level 2 – Deliberate Practice

This is where Thinking Thursday come in (it doesn’t mean you can only do it on Thursdays, but the alliteration makes me smile). This is where we start to really engage the brain, as well as just the body. This is where we pick an aspect of the move/exercise and drill, rehearse and practice it, to make it as good as possible.

  • We see what happens is we change this, modify that or experiment with the other.
  • We try to understand the cause and effect of the different moves.
  • We try to identify our limiting factors, and by improving them, stop them from limiting us in the future.
  • We focus and spend time and effort working on and improving an aspect of the move, making the whole greater as a result.

In other words, we don’t just go through the motions, but we make a conscious effort to improve. This is the deliberate practice we do on Thinking Thursdays. And to get you started, I want o leave you with 2 of my favourite questions I ask myself when I do things on Thinking Thursday…

“What happens if…?”

For example, “what happens if I move my feet wider/narrower”, or “what happens if I try this faster/slower”, or “what happens if I make this heavier/lighter”. This gets me thinking about the connection between cause and effect. And specifically it gets me planning ahead.

“Why did that happen?”

For example, “why did I lose balance forwards/backwards?”, or “why did I lose my grip that time?”, or “why did I not jump so high that time?” This gets me to critically look back and evaluate what happened in the past.

If I can get some answers to the above questions, it gives me a clue as to where I can deliberately practice next. Give it a try next Thinking Thursday (or why wait til then…do it next training session!)