Understanding Versus Practicing

training strategy Sep 05, 2016

I'm sure you've found yourself in a situation in which you uttered: "Just because I know how to do it, doesn't mean I can do it."

This sentence perfectly describes two different ways of learning and memory: declarative and procedural.

Declarative learning is acquiring information that you can speak about. If I ask you what your spine should be doing in Briding, you can tell me straight out: "Roll down one vertebra at a time." Bingo. You've heard that a million times. You get it. But does that mean you're doing it? Hm.

Procedural memory guides the tasks we perform most often, and it happens on an unconscious level. Because you've punched in your PIN number (to unlock your phone or to access your voice mail) a thousand times, your fingers now do it automatically. Were I to ask you to repeat the number consciously, you probably would need to pull out your phone, move your fingers over the keyboard and then repeat out loud the numbers you see them touching. It's funny how our brains work like that, isn't it? This is also called habit learning.

Let's tie this information into your physical practice. There are times during your fitness journey, where you need to learn something new; a new exercise, a new way to move your spine or a different approach to movement such as more efficiency. This can only be achieved with the help of a great teacher, who uses tools such as her words, and guided touch to show your body the direction it should go. Once you've learned and understood what to do (differently), you can practice this new skill on your own. For it to become a habit, you'll have to repeat it over and over again, until your nervous system, muscles and joints are totally in sync, a well-oiled machine.
At this stage, you don't need the teacher to look over your shoulder every single time. You just need the focus and accountability to stay on track.

It's important to know when to ask for help to get a deeper understanding, and when to just keep practicing what you already know.

Many of you already know so much, just keep up the practice. But - if you ever hear your teacher say something that doesn't make sense to you, then dig deeper, ask and fill the gaps of knowledge.

Finally, consider this "If I do not quit, I can not fail." Keep at it.


Make life move better,

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