Deliberate Practice


This one is short and sweet. I feel like I repeat this speech several times a week. So I decided to put it in writing.

This is an great analogy that most of us can relate to. If you don’t drive, then think of a bicycle or even walking in the following example.

Most of you have driven a car well past the 10,000 hours estimated by Malcom Gladwell to achieve mastery. For many of you that is a little over 1.5 hours in the car 5 days a week for 2 years.

Unfortunately most of you are probably the same if not worse than when you originally passed your drivers exam. Don’t take this personally, if you ask most people they say they are a “good” driver. Very rarely do you hear someone say they are average or a bad driver, yet there is very large pool of average drivers that no one claims.

The point being, most of you get in the car and just go on autopilot  Maybe you are singing along to the stereo or having a business call. Either way, your still manage to get to your destination without putting much effort into it.

This is a way our brain helps us by moving instinctually once the movement pattern has been learned. If it’s recent enough, think back to how much attention it required and how much stress your first few times driving were. Luckily it doesn’t always stay like that or nobody would enjoy road trips.

Your body movement is the same. After several years of exercising you start to just tune out. When is the last time while performing air squats you were feeling where your weight distribution was on your feet, or if you are keeping your obliques tight the entire movement, how about the external torque on the ascent, firing your glutes, your breathing? As you can see there are a million things to pay attention to even for this fairly simple movement.

Now I don’t expect everyone to start keeping a checklist with them when they perform each movement, just be more in tune with your movements. Take a key movement point and try to perfect it each rep.

This is how you reach mastery, with deliberate practice. Remember the reps in the gym reflect the work done during competition. Under high stress your body reverts to its ingrained movement patterns, of you move like crap in the gym, you will move equally as bad when it counts. So move better. And remember faster or heavier is not better. Better is better.

Yours in health,
    Coach E

Crossfit Bytown