3 minute read

I'm sure I'm not alone here. Teachers in all disciples, if they need their students to practice to learn what they are teaching, will relate. I don't know if “movement educators” have it worse because people tend to think of all movement as “working out” -- something you go and do, not an art you have to practice.

In fact, one of my favorite concepts when you are talking about getting really good at something is called “deliberate practice”. Geoff Colvin, explains the elements of deliberate practice in Talent is Overrated. Here's a summary article he wrote on CNNMoney.com.

Trying to implement deliberate practice strategies has been a major shift in how I train myself and that's another story entirely. As a professional movement educator, though, I had another problem: I most of my clients for one hour a week. Maybe if I'm lucky we meet in a group class setting for 3 or 4 hours a week. How can I extend a practice model to them that involves hours of practice repetition, constant feedback, goal setting, and ever-evolving mental models of the practice in such a short amount of face-to-face time?

In order to make the deliberate practice model work, I had to decide how to spend the precious little in-person time with my clients and inspire them to cover as many of the other elements as possible outside of our one-on-one time.

Which would you choose? Endless repetition? Refined feedback? Goal setting? Mental models?

In practice, it turns out to be a blend. They need to lay the foundation between sessions for refinement by getting their reps in. We can talk goal setting any time, but lots of it comes down to an emotional understanding of where they want to be that is finally sharpened face-to-face. There is an initial hump when I start to work with someone where the conceptual framework for training needs to be established, but the mental models evolve based on what they experience through practice and what other resources I can send their way.

Maybe you can see where I'm heading at this point. In order to make the most of one-on-one time in person, and give my clients the best possible movement education, I needed to separate out the pieces of the whole training pie that could be automated, or at least frozen in time through asynchronous communication tools (haha, fancy term for things like email and blogs!). Later, I'll explain how I began to sift through what could be leveraged and what needed to be face-to-face, but the problem started to be clearer when I realized I would have to make this distinction: can I share this later or do I need to address it face-to-face.