In the pursuit of acquiring skills and making progress, it’s easy to get caught up doing more & more training. We don’t like to admit it, but there are times when athletes sacrifice quality over quantity.

It can be tricky to get the balance right & sometimes we need some extra motivation to train smarter & tweak our training behaviours to become more effective.

So be reassured to know that studies into expert performance found the key thing which separated the top percentage of performers from was, how they practiced. They dedicated same amount of time to practicing, but their practice approach and mindset was different.

Here’s the science:

In one of the largest & most famous studies into performance spanning music, sport etc, Erricson found that practice is not all equal. What he called ‘deliberate practice’- high quality & concentrated practice, led to deep learning & change whereas automatic practice, led to little change. This is was what separated the good from the excellent performers across the board.

When you think about it, it’s obvious that when you’re on auto pilot or multitasking, your practice is less conducive to progress – but if you’re honest with yourself, how often do you train like this?

It’s not surprising when you think about how many hours you put into improving something . Perfecting a gymnastic move or weightlifting technique. Your dedication & commitment will mean that sometimes you will practice when you’re tired. Juggling work & family commitments can be challenging & distracting & you wont always be fully focused.

You might leave training sessions feeling dissatisfied & you may feel like you need to do more.

Seems serious, and idealistic? Maybe, but who wants to waste their time doing things which are ineffective? Consider how practicing with more purpose & applying these principles in, say 2 of your training sessions each week will make a difference to the results that you are getting. How satisfying will that feel?

So take a few moments to consider your mindset in training. What percentage of your practice is deliberate & purposeful?

These questions can be useful to bounce:

РDuring training, are you fully focused or distracted? Do you train with intent & purpose?

What is the purpose??

-What is your priority? Do you keep that in mind during your training/ practice or do you get carried away with what others doing?

Focus on yourself and what you need to do to get where you need to go.

– Are you taking too much or too little rest during the session?

Become more disciplined and selfish if need be.

– Do you turn up fully fuelled & hydrated?

Sort it out!

– Multi-tasking is a clue that you are on auto pilot. Sometimes this is necessary- but only when you have mastered the skill. Are you happy with your progress in this activity? If not stop multi-tasking- i.e loading the weight, linking moves.

In order to improve skills you need to do them with conscious awareness, not in a wod or while having a conversation with someone who has just dropped in.

Use this knowledge to re-focus your training and make the satisfying progress that you fully deserve.

Athlete: Bill Carey Insta : @bcfunctional @function_sfr

I’ve observed Bill using purposeful practice to breakdown and re-learn his muscle ups to optimise his technique.

Photocredit: RXD Photography