Do it all the time

So you want to get good at something do you? Great news. And it’s a new skill or sport that you haven’t played or tried before? Well that’s OK too……..ummm and you are only going to practice it once every two weeks? Well that’s interesting. But oh yes of course you want to reach a certain level of proficiency within 3 months.

WOW. And who do you know that has a nice big magic wand they are going to wave in front of you?
The London Olympics was a great display of a variety of skills that made the crowds “wooooh” on more occasion than 1. What we often fail to comprehend is that these athletes have not only been practicing their skills daily since the last Olympics but many of them have been doing so for their entire life.
Take the weightlifting for example which is an event that gets a righteous number of “wooooohs” as the athletes lift weights over their head of serious mass and display unreal strength. Many of these athletes have been practicing the movements of the snatch and clean and jerk since childhood, the very skill of their sport becomes ingrained in their body because of the number of hours that they practice it. As Mathew Syed reminds us in his book Bounce, we need around 10,000 repetitions at something like this for it to become second nature to us. The second element of the Olympic weightlifting is obviously the strength, its all very well the body knowing how to move, what it must know is how to move these heavy weights. That again is down to frequency of moving the weights. By lifting heavy weights all the time the body gets used to them and they become relatively lighter.
Check this guy out. Do you think he was born with the ability just to walk like this? 
Yes there is a certain amount of genetics involved but you can consider that as the raw materials. The practice and doing things over and over again is what makes us master such skills.
 
When we were kids and we started to learn to walk we fell over time and time again. We were wobbly, we needed help, we held onto things. But we got up when we fell, we persevered without help and slowly stopped holding onto things. And for some of us this happened very quickly. Why? Because we practiced it every second of every day that we could. 
 
New skills are much the same, they need attention, they need to be practiced and you will get better at them. The bottom line remains the same, if you want to excel at something, make sure you do it all the time and you will be pleasantly surprised by the results.
 
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InnerFight founder Marcus Smith is a high performance coach with a wide array of clients on all matters related to performance. For more information how he can help you increase your performance contact him direct at ms@innerfight.com

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