Avoid the "OK Plateau" - Deliberate Practise

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TechnoEngineer
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Avoid the "OK Plateau" - Deliberate Practise

Post by TechnoEngineer »

In summary (my emphasis):

"When you want to get good at something, how you spend your time practicing is far more important than the amount of time you spend."

"We start in the “cognitive phase,” during which we’re intellectualizing the task, discovering new strategies to perform better, and making lots of mistakes. We’re consciously focusing on what we’re doing. Then we enter the “associative stage,” when we’re making fewer errors, and gradually getting better. Finally, we arrive at the “autonomous stage,” when we turn on autopilot and move the skill to the back of our proverbial mental filing cabinet and stop paying it conscious attention."

"And so we get to the so-called “OK Plateau” — the point at which our autopilot of expertise confines us to a sort of comfort zone, where we perform the task in question in efficient enough a way that we cease caring for improvement."

"Something experts in all fields tend to do when they’re practicing is to operate outside of their comfort zone and study themselves failing. The best figure skaters in the world spend more of their practice time practicing jumps that they don’t land than lesser figure skaters do. The same is true of musicians. When most musicians sit down to practice, they play the parts of pieces that they’re good at. Of course they do: it’s fun to succeed. But expert musicians tend to focus on the parts that are hard, the parts they haven’t yet mastered. The way to get better at a skill is to force yourself to practice just beyond your limits."

Full article here:
http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/ ... k-plateau/
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Re: Avoid the "OK Plateau" - Deliberate Practise

Post by colonelorbit »

Can't agree more, I used to be part of a Stammers self-help group called the McGuire programme, which based it's philosophy on sports coaching - the sport of speaking. We used to do lots of exercises where you push yourself out of your comfort zone and do what you fear most in order to get better. Psychologically, in doing this you prove to your negative-self that you can succeed where you feel uncomfortable and that and therefore feel less the tense each time you push yourself into new or difficult situations. Physically, as long as you do it in a 'safe environment', with support and recovery strategies, it helps to condition muscles in positive reactions.

Basically, you identify where you want to be and take small, but exaggerated steps to get there. Once there (I guess the OK plateau) you need to 'test' yourself by putting yourself deliberately into difficult or fearful situations. As stammers we used to do this by going up to groups of people (whoever you feared speaking to the most), getting the attention of the whole group and starting off the conversation by being deliberately disfluent, before bringing your speech back into fluency (or not as you chose). You got a real buzz out of pushing yourself into these difficult situations and coming out on top. Of course you had to be capable of it otherwise a failure at this level could have significant negative come backs.
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EddR
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Re: Avoid the "OK Plateau" - Deliberate Practise

Post by EddR »

I think this stuff is fairly intuitive but its nice to have it put in a structured and concise manner. Think about it for a second, if you don't do new things you won't learn how to do said things. Would you expect to learn how to punch though big holes if you always take the line around them or portage when you see a rapid that means you have to? Or learn to cartwheel when all you do on a wave is flat-spin as you know you can do it? No, you need to try these things yourself and work out how to do them by trial and error.

Places where you can run the same rapids many times are fantastic for this, like the Trywryn, Lee Valley, Cardiff etc. as you build confidence first then try new a different moves, aim to get different breakouts and so on. Playboating is also great for learning body position and edge control which is applicable to everything, not just playboating plus you're generally in a safe environment. There's very little that can go wrong at Hurley for example.

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AS Watersports
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Re: Avoid the "OK Plateau" - Deliberate Practise

Post by AS Watersports »

I wrote something on a similar theme whilst guiding last year.

http://smallworldadventures.blogspot.co ... -your.html

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Re: Avoid the "OK Plateau" - Deliberate Practise

Post by Dr Robin »

Will I be the one to state the obvious?

If the musician fails to play a difficult piece, he doesn't get a beating!

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Re: Avoid the "OK Plateau" - Deliberate Practise

Post by Poke »

Dr Robin wrote:If the musician fails to play a difficult piece, he doesn't get a beating!
Unless it's a child prodigy with "pushy" parents...
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Re: Avoid the "OK Plateau" - Deliberate Practise

Post by dpround »

Practising outside your comfort zone doesn't have to mean going to a higher grade water. There are lots of ways to make easy water hard, the most obvious of which is to set a slalom course. The requirement to put your boat exactly where you want it, instead of just hitting the eddy will teach a level of precision you would never get just running down a river and then running this course at maximum speed where every stroke matters and bits of a second could be the difference between first and last...

I am a far more experience sailor than kayaker and I have certainly found in dinghy sailing that racing is the surest way to find your weaknesses!

David

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Re: Avoid the "OK Plateau" - Deliberate Practise

Post by RizzRat »

Dr Robin wrote:Will I be the one to state the obvious?

If the musician fails to play a difficult piece, he doesn't get a beating!
Clearly don't know my parents ;)
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Re: Avoid the "OK Plateau" - Deliberate Practise

Post by DaveBland »

dpround wrote:Practising outside your comfort zone doesn't have to mean going to a higher grade water. There are lots of ways to make easy water hard, the most obvious of which is to set a slalom course. The requirement to put your boat exactly where you want it, instead of just hitting the eddy will teach a level of precision you would never get just running down a river and then running this course at maximum speed where every stroke matters and bits of a second could be the difference between first and last...

I am a far more experience sailor than kayaker and I have certainly found in dinghy sailing that racing is the surest way to find your weaknesses!

David
...exactly, buy an Axiom and have fun making every move possible on an easier river. Or just pile into every big hole you find in your creek boat and try to get out. Both methods give you a refresher course in hero-boating.
dave

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Lowri Davies
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Re: Avoid the "OK Plateau" - Deliberate Practise

Post by Lowri Davies »

Adding any change is a to your comfortable environment is going to give you more "learning" than repeating the same thing. This can include swapping boats or paddles, switching your normal eddy sequence, purposefully going wrong (e.g. capsizing, or going "off-line) in order to practice dealing with that... and much more!

Another great way to challenge yourself is of course playboating. Whether the challenge for you is just learning to feel comfortable in wave & stoppers, improving your roll (because you will inevitably capsize in all sorts of funky positions) or gaining spacial awareness (from adding an extra axis and using the river's flow in a different manner).

And yes success is fun, but repetition is boring. Achieving something new or different is much more fun! Especially if it has a level of challenge.

Have fun challenging yourself, regardless of how comfortable you are in that environment :-)

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Re: Avoid the "OK Plateau" - Deliberate Practise

Post by TechnoEngineer »

[topping old posting]

More on this from Brain Pickings - about how the 10,000 hour generalisation is a myth:
http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/ ... ours-myth/
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Re: Avoid the "OK Plateau" - Deliberate Practise

Post by Simon Westgarth »

There is a lot of food for thought here, still I believe the central argument is only correct at a superficial level, in the learning a function or task, and does not reflect the state of mind of those whom master the function or task. It is of cause common for people once sufficient at something, not to or have little desire to keep challenging themselves. The social or culture context often indicates a reasoning for that situation. Still a great mantra is "only boring people get bored", and as such the challenge is always within. Tai Chi masters re-enact the form repeatedly, with true perfection is rarely arrived at yet the pursuit of this perfection is seldom boring.

For white water paddlers, what we practise matters, as the environment is highly dynamic and thus so must we be. As a coach I observe often ridge performances, where paddlers try to control the outcome with a whole range of coping strategies, these are often blow apart with more water or steeper terrain. The old saying is "practise make permanent", this double edged sword is true, if what you are doing is not great, then it will always be not great. Thus what we practise truly matters, if its to be called upon when we really need it. Hence why I find the questionable desire to make every micro eddy around. It's not like making micro eddies is a core skill, they can aid scouting a rapid, and even stopping in an emergency, however they do not make up day to day skills used when running the river, or at least they should not.

One thing I do find myself repeating a bunch, is to "always practise where it's easy so you have it for when its hard". Some paddlers like to turn it on for the occasion, this approach would be the best for the “autonomous stage".

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Re: Avoid the "OK Plateau" - Deliberate Practise

Post by roo »

I don't think that post states that the 10,000 hour thing is a myth. But it does say 10,0000 hours of crap repeated technique is not effective. That's why quality coaches who are prepared to share their opinion for free are so valuable to our community

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