Coach Caleb’s Corner
Practice makes… Results!
When you hit the gym, do you “work out” or do you “practice?” The truth is, just doing sets and reps at a challenging pace is not enough; if we’re trying to truly improve and break through plateaus, then we have to become well versed in the art of “practice”. Knowing how to practice is a highly underrated skill, but it is one of the most valuable skills one can acquire. It’s not just what we do, but how we do it that will bring results.
After a few years of continuing in this fashion (with the associated lack of progress), I began to feel guilty about wasting my teacher’s time and my parents’ money. Without seeing my skills improve, my desire to play the piano dropped off almost entirely. I went from playing almost every day, to not playing at all. My teacher noticed that I had regressed from not looking familiar with my music to not even looking familiar with the instrument. After years together, why was this the case? I had to admit that I wasn’t playing at all between lessons. When he asked why, I realized in that moment that it was because I really didn’t know how to practice.
If we’re going to invest our time in doing some training, then it’s worth doing right. For example, let’s say you include squats in your workout. You could perform your squats with a focus on making sure you pry in the hips, keep the knees tracking the ankles, pull yourself down with control into full range of motion with the hips below the knees, and contract the muscles into a nice lockout at the top. Or you could perform half-squats as quickly as you can to get them over with, without regard for body alignment and proper tension. Which method do you think leads to better squat skill, and gets better results from your training?