What does it mean to train until you can’t get it wrong? Training until you accomplished a skill or hit a routine, isn’t enough. In order to make successful skills a habit, you must train until your body knows what it needs to do, and you most of the time, you do it right.
Do the numbers.
Picture a large area of grass, like a football field. If you are standing at one end zone and walk to the other end zone one time, the grass will most likely still be fresh and green. There probably won’t be any clue that you walked across the grass.
If you walked across the football field along the same pathway over fifty times, there may start to be a little wear and tear in the grass and an obvious dirt pathway would soon start to appear. The more you walked along this path, the path would become deep and more permanent.
If we do a skill 100 times, our bodies create memories of the skill; what it feels like, the timing, and the muscles remember when what they need to do. If we are doing a standing tuck, we know fast our arms must swing, when our legs need to jump and how high we need to go, our stomach muscles know when to pull, we know when our feet should be feeling the ground, and we prepare to stand up at the end. After doing our standing tuck over 100 times, we know exactly what we need to do to be successful.
On the other hand if you took a different path across the field, occasionally took the same path, or only took the path about ten times, the grass would not create a strong pathway. If we only do the skill 10 times, there isn’t enough memories for the body to know exactly what it needs to do. We may jump too high or not high enough, we may pull too much or not enough, we may not know where we are in the air, we may land some on our feet, over rotate, or land short.
The more numbers we do, the more we will train our bodies to perform the skills. Learn to do the numbers.
Do the numbers the right way.
Numbers alone will NOT help us, we must practice those 100 skills with a purpose. Doing 100 back tucks inconsistently, with poor technique, or without paying attention to what makes us hit will not help either. Just like when we walked across the football field on a different path, it didn’t make a strong pathway. How we train matters.
If we want to walk across the football field from end zone to end zone in a straight line, but every time we walk across it, we walk in a zig zag. The pathway won’t be a straight line, it will be a zig zag.
Just like if we train wrong, we will be very good at doing the skill wrong. In order to create the correct muscle memory pathway, we must know what path we take and make sure it’s the correct path.
If we want to train our standing tuck until we can’t get it wrong, we must know what we need to do to make it right.
Do the numbers the right way in the full-out.
Training skills until we can’t get them wrong doesn’t stop there. It is one thing to do the skill, but we need to know how to do the skill in the routine. We need to focus on more than one skill, there are teammates tumbling around us, we are tired, and full-outs aren’t easy.
When we practice our full-outs, we can learn a lot. If we make a mistake, we figure out what went wrong and how we can fix it. When we do something correct, we figure out what we did and how we can repeat it. If we don’t train the full-out, we don’t give ourselves the opportunity to learn.
If we can make 80 standing tucks out of 100, but during the full-out, we fall, we need to figure out why. Were we tired? Do we need to condition more? Were we focused on the person standing next to us and not on how to hit our standing tuck? Did we rush through so we could get to the next skill, or was it simply a mistake?
When we compete, we want to make sure we are prepared. The more we prepare, the more confident we will compete. When we do our full-outs, we want to make sure that we prepare properly, and fix what we need to fix.
If we do our full-out and it is a disaster, continuing to do disastrous full-outs won’t help. We need to learn how to do them the right way, and we must learn WHY it was a disaster. We want to work on the fix, not until we get it right, but until we can’t get it wrong.
Focus on one skill or part at a time. Start by learning to hit step-by-step from the beginning. After we learn how to fix our mistakes and we focus on how to hit, we will be ready to move on to the next part.
Have a new outlook on practice and remember that we get out of practice, what we put into practice. If we put a little effort in, we will see little results. If we put random effort, we will see random results, but if we put in purposeful focused effort, we will see specific focused results.
Focus on HOW to hit, what we want to do, and don’t stop until we get there. The best teams aren’t the best by accident, they are they best because they train to be the best.
For more information on Tumbling, Mental Training, or to schedule camps or clinic with Wendy Bruce, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website at www.psyched4sports.com.