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AOW- Too Much Practice? March 5, 2012

Filed under: Article of the Week — prushton101 @ 6:13 am

Do you limit yourself to how much you study or ever feel like you are over practicing? Typically an ordinary person would stop once they felt like they had accomplished their goal.  This might look like playing the song perfectly once or shooting 5 baskets in a row.  Actually, they are far from a master at this point.  Practicing after you “have it” is what makes you really master a skill.

They say practice makes perfect but there really is no such thing as over practicing.  Three simple steps to turning feeling confident into doing great, are getting used to the amount of energy you use, creating muscle memory and decreasing the amount of energy and thought you use in the process.  Once you have mastered your task, continued practice will let you reach a level where you can watch your opponent closer or track what the judges are watching and how they are responding.  If your brain is still working on processing your tasks, even if you are performing at a high level, you have not reached your potential.

Getting used to the amount of energy you use, means performing at a competitive or performance level when practicing.  If you practice “full out, ” you will be conditioned to the level of intensity required by the real event.  Your body will be ready physically and mentally.  This is more than just general physical conditioning that is important to being capable of doing the task.  Practicing at the level of your highest ability, also trains your brain to go to that level without needing reminders.  It is automatic that your body and brain are working at your potential.

Muscle memory is creating a path in your brain through repetition, so that you do not have to think about what you are doing.  This gives you the ability to focus on other things like small details and your surroundings.  If your brain knows what it is to do without concentration then you can adapt to what is unique in the environment.

Research shows that with overpracticing, you will use less energy not only for your body but for your brain.  Any energy saved or used efficiently can be used to make your physical and mental performance even better. You can think of other things that give you a competitive advantage.  You can focus on details that allow you to have better musicality or understand the mood of other individuals.  You as an individual have so much brain power  and so much physical strength and energy at any moment.  The more efficiently you use what you have, the better your performance will be.

Those who practice after it appears that they have mastered a task are labeled as overpracticing.  This is probably not a good term because it does not sound positive.  Overpracticing does have a positive effect.  Through repeating practice after mastering the task, and by practicing at a high level every time, you can get used to the amount of energy needed, create muscle memory and decrease the amount of energy used for the physical and mental task, freeing your mind for even more improvement.

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