Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Practice Makes Perfect?

I was a Stingerette in High School.  Unless you're from Rockwall, Texas, you probably don't know what that is.  Stingerettes is the varsity drill team for Rockwall High School.  I grew up in Rockwall and I wanted to be a Stingerette my entire life.  I have a newspaper clipping of a picture of me watching a Homecoming parade and the caption says "Aimee Gheen, future Stingerette, watches the parade".

When I tried out for Stingerettes at the end of ninth grade, I made alternate.  That meant that I would only get to perform on the football field if someone was sick or out of town or didn't pass their classes.  Stingerettes marched a very intricate show with our band and performed a dance at half time.  I had to pay close attention at practice to learn lots of different parts. Wanted to be ready to go in at any minute.

I remember my first performance, I had to be a line leader.  It was going to be super obvious if I messed up.  But I had paid close attention in practices. I was nervous but confident.  Plus, the girl behind me helped me know where to go with gentle promptings. 

I think it was during this time that one of our directors, we called them M&M (Mrs. Martin & Ms. Moore), said something that stuck with me a long time:


In Outliers Malcolm Gladwell references work by Anders Ericcson that's become known as the 10,000 hour rule. Gladwell gave the impression that anyone who worked on something for 10,000 hours would become great at it, according to Ericcson.  However, Ericcson says you actually need to be deliberate practice.  You can't just be playing the violin, you have to be doing things that will help you get better.

Perfect practice, perhaps? 

Monday morning on his podcast Increase Your Impact, Justin Su'a discussed deliberate and purposeful practice.  He outlined 4 things necessary for purposeful practice,

Purposeful Practice...
1. has well defined specific goals
2. is focused
3. involves immediate feedback
4. requires getting out of your comfort zone - progress is made on the edge of your comfort zone

What are you trying to improve?  Are you engaging in purposeful practice to get better or are you repeating the same thing over and over hoping it will get better?

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