What does it take to improve a new skill?

We’re nearing the end of 2022 and yet we still have 2 months to go. That’s plenty of time to take on some new skill challenges! Now sometimes in our flow of training we can forget the obvious. We’ve done something a certain way and that’s the way we continue to do it. I’m talking about learning here.

As a soccer coach for many years, I understand the pace of the season as we work to introduce a wide range of skills to our players. However, sometimes when we step back and look at the learning process differently, we’re reminded of what we’re forgetting to do. I’m talking about the repetitions we must work into our training to become good at that new skill.  I’m not going to share anything new here, but instead a reminder, hopefully one that will put you or your player back on track to accelerating your progress.

As we step outside the world of soccer and take on learning new skills, I’m reminded of the repetition required to improve.  Throughout our soccer break I’ve taken on learning a new 3D Modeling program, I’ve worked on building and flying a large drone (only one crash so far!), and I’ve stepped up my training in Krav Maga martial arts. All of these were far from activities I’m proficient in, at least not compared to me decades of soccer experience. And as I’ve progresses through each, I’ve seen the experience points build up the more I get in the practice. I’ve had more time on the computer with 3D programs and I’ve got a few tricks up my sleeve now to work much more efficiently. 

With my drone I have less time, but each time I took it out to fly I learned something new. And yes, even during the disappointing times like when it crashed out of the sky, I learned how to read the very detailed flight data!

So, I’ll wrap this up by reminding each of you: When you take on your next skill, be patient enough to get in the practice. Instead of seeing a new skill and trying it out a couple times, remember that it takes time and repetition to get good at it. Take that new skill and devote time to practicing it (even on the days you think you’re failing miserably at it) 3x per week, for the next 4 weeks. I think you’ll be surprising at how far that takes you!

Coach Louie and the SISM Team