“I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.” – Bruce Lee
Do you want to become unstoppable in your sport or craft?
There is a specific path to move from the place of novice to being an expert.
You may have heard something about the 10,000-hour rule or read Malcolm Gladwell’s book “Outliers” touting the theory originated by Anders Ericsson. It suggests that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to achieve mastery of a skill. While there is an aspect of truth buried in this simplification two other components matter: deliberate focus and the number of repetitions.
Deliberate focus is quite specific.
If you were learning to box or do a roundhouse kick in karate, for example, placing all your attention on just your forearm or your foot would be key. This way you allow your brain to notice, almost unconsciously, exactly what it needs to do to get to where it has got to land.
Repetitions are useful regardless of success or failure. Think shooting darts or hitting a golf ball. If your attempt results in a “hit”, the neurotransmitter dopamine rewards you and drives you to continue your practice. If your repetition results in a “miss”, your cerebellum is nonetheless learning to make micro-adjustments.
Celebrate the wins along the way.
Just as important as your focus and your repetitions is your mental game. As you practice, it is imperative you take note of your growth and that you give yourself positive feedback on several things each time you practice or compete. Research has also proven that we maintain enthusiasm and motivation when we are able to acknowledge change. (DiDomenico and Ryan, 2017)
Put-downs and constant criticism continue to fail as robust motivators. So give yourself a pat on the back and some encouragement to keep you going.