“Don’t practice until you get it right. Practice until you can’t get it wrong.” — Unknown
When you begin something new, showing up is the most important habit to develop.
Once the act of showing up is second nature, getting your reps in is the next level up. Repeating a skill over and over again is practice, and practice makes the patterns of a skill automatic.
The “experts” say thousands of reps are required to master a skill. This is true in a sense. The human body excels at mimicking patterns.
There is a saying: “practice makes perfect.” It promises mastery if you just show up each day and get your reps in. However, most people don't realize there is a serious catch:
Unless you pay close attention to form and progression, you will master the WRONG technique.
If you are stuck in a plateau of skill development, it’s time to level up with deliberate practice. In the words of James Clear, “while regular practice might include mindless repetitions, deliberate practice requires focused attention and is conducted with the specific goal of improving performance.”
With deliberate practice, you are hyper-focused on not just practicing a skill but on HOW to practice a skill. You course correct each day back toward what is perfect form. You track numbers and statistics. You get feedback and seek to maximize every ounce of performance.
Deliberate practice is what distinguishes a true master from a novice, and it is the next level up in your development. Unfortunately, you are your own worst enemy for spotting mistakes and deviations from good form.
Deliberate practice requires a second pair of objective eyes: a coach, a mentor or even a fellow practitioner. A coach sees what you cannot see or refuse to see. A coach will spot bad form and diagnose stalled progression. A coach will hold you accountable.
Don’t just practice. Practice deliberately.
Have you ever caught yourself mindlessly putting in the reps on a skill without paying close attention to form?
What were the consequences?
How did you get back on track?