Thursday, September 22, 2011

Have you stopped improving? I can help

Before I get to my topic, I'd like to start by saying once again that I had intended this blog as not just a personal tool but also for the Moncton Squash Club. And as I mentioned I decided to continue with my blog even though I left the club last spring. So I am going to start updating this on a regular basis. If you want to find out more or have a point I haven't considered I would love to hear it. Feedback is always welcomed!

Alright...maximizing learning and practice. What are your strength and weaknesses?

I'm reading a Tony Robbins book at the moment and he got me asking myself some questions. I feel that a lot of this can be applied to improving how we practice and getting better. The main idea is that we get stuck in limiting patterns. When I practice my squash game, even when I'm working on a weakness, I am practicing the same ways over and over. You have a problem with this, do that. After a certain point it's only natural to lose out focus and we will not be able to do it any more effectively (and this means I will stop improving or at a very slow rate).

So my revelation is to completely change how I'm practicing. Say for example that I want to work on my footwork. After how many times of doing the same footwork drills am I going to max out and have no more room for improvement? Yes they can still maintain or improve my fitness, but I believe there is a better way(S)!...by making it more challenging.

What if we change where the 'T' is and where we go back to after each shot? What if we randomize the time we're working? Or what if you have to balance something on your head or your racquet while your moving around the court? My theory is that this breaks us from out regular comfort zone and it challenges us to do something we aren't able too. And if there is an area of weakness in my footwork that the normal routine hasn't solved yet, try something different.

An added benefit is of course psychologically, I am more likely to be consumed with the challenge of the new court movement because it isn't the same old thing. And this philosophy can be done for anything...after years I have a developed a similar solo routine..it might not be set in stone, but the minor variations are minimal. So the last time I went out to hit some balls I didn't hit a single ball from the back of the court or on the bounce. I didn't do any drill for more than a minute or two at a time and I was able to find numerous ways to challenge myself and find things I was not able to do. Usually we try and avoid the things we can't do..so I found the dirtiest spot on the wall and did some vollies. It was difficult to see and I struggles at the beginning..but it got better, but still has room for improvement. Then I picked out 2 spots close to one another on the wall and aimed for one and then the next and tried to focus on hitting them on each shot. Was I able too? Sometimes, but not often enough. And when I get better at it, I would step back or hit it faster.

So my challenge to you is to find what challenges you? What needs improvement? What do you usually do? What can you try differently? What patterns have you got stuck in? How can you break the bad ones and make them more positive?

Thoughts? Opinions? Confused? Understand? Interested? Let me know what you think.

Chris

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