The Importance of Deliberate Practice

EIE participants have until tomorrow, Tuesday March 11th, to retest and input your data into the Google Doc HERE.  Open participants have until 5pm PST today to register and input their results from WOD 14.2.

Weekly Programming Links:  Group ClassVenice Barbell ClubTrack Night

Monday, March 10, 2014


Keg Drill
Overhead Band Distraction
Foam Roll Lats


400m Run
2 Rounds, 10 reps each of:
Push Press with Bar
Back Squats
Push Press BTN with Snatch grip
Overhead Squats
Lat Activations
Knees to Elbows

Classic Strength

A) 5×3 Overhead Squat (Rest 90 seconds)
B) 5×5 Strict Pull-ups (Rest 60 seconds)

Notes: Alternate A and B sets adhering to the rest time.  Prioritize good overhead position and lockout.  Pull ups should be performed in a tight hollow position.  Any grip may be used.

Advanced Strength

A) 5×2 Snatch @75-80%- Do not go above percentages! (Rest 90 seconds)
B) 5×5 Strict Chest to bar Pull ups (Rest 60 seconds)

Notes: These should feel smooth and fast. Warm up to your working weight and focus on fast reset and perfect form.  Perform regular strict pull ups if needed.


5 Rounds:
30 Double unders
15 Wall Balls (20/14)
7 Power Snatch (115/75)
Rest 1 min between rounds
-20 min cap-

Notes: Try and keep consistent pace each round.  Sub Du’s with 50 singles.

Cool Down

Pike Stretch, 1 min
Couch Stretch, 1 min each side
Samson Stretch, 30 sec each side
Calf Stretch, 30 sec each side

A big CONGRATULATIONS to Osbaldo and Tara who completed their first marathons yesterday!

The LA Marathon is one of my favorite events of the year to spectate.  It is inspiring to sit along the course and watch thousands of runners accomplish a huge feat that very few people even attempt; only 0.5% of the U.S. population has ever completed a marathon.  The raw emotions along the course are palpable.  Looking at the runners’ faces you can see anguish, pain, suffering, glee, ecstasy, determination, grit.  You can’t help but start cheering people on.  The positivity is contagious and will leave you envious that it’s not you on the course receiving that affirmation and checking another item off the bucket list.

I have a private client I have been seeing for a year and a half who just completed her first marathon yesterday.  I couldn’t be happier or more proud of her accomplishment!  All her hard work and dedication reminded me of a great article I read titled “How Successful People Practice” on Business Insider.  (It was floating around on Facebook a couple of months ago so you might have seen it, too.)  Most people have heard of the “10,000 hour” rule: to become an expert in your field you need to put in 10,000 hours of practice.  This is also known as “10 years of silence”, because it usually takes a decade to amass those 10,000 hours before any substantial success or recognition is achieved.  However, the article expands on this concept and highlights the fact that it’s not just the amount of time you put into learning a skill, but also how you practice that is important.  The article uses Kobe Bryant while training for Team USA during the Olympics as a great example:

“For those of you keeping track at home, Kobe Bryant started his conditioning work around 4:30am, continued to run and sprint until 6am, lifted weights from 6am to 7am, and finally proceeded to make 800 jump shots between 7am and 11am.

Oh yeah, and then Team USA had practice.

It’s obvious that Kobe is getting his 10,000 hours in, but there is another part of his story that is even more important.

The Importance Deliberate Practice

Kobe isn’t merely showing up and practicing a lot. He is practicing with purpose.

Kobe had a very clear goal at practice: 800 made jump shots. He was deliberately focused on developing the skill of making baskets. The time he spent doing it was almost an after thought. That sounds simple, but it’s very different from how most of us approach our work each day.

When most people talk about working hard, they use the amount of time they worked as an indicator of how hard they worked. (i.e. “I worked 60 hours this week!”)

Putting in a lot of time might make you tired, but simply working a lot (even if it’s 10,000 hours over the course of your career) isn’t enough to make you a top performer. It’s not the same thing as practicing deliberately. Most people who think they are working hard are merely developing the skill of being in the gym, not the skill of making baskets.”

Back to my private client as an example of deliberate practice from a normal human being and not a genetic rockstar like Kobe.  She came to me to increase running efficiency and reduce the risk of injury.  I have met with her once a week for a year and half (75 total sessions) and at each session we have done the following POSE drills with the focus on developing the specific skill of running more efficiently: 50 pulls 100 Ups Drill Beginner, 50 pulls 100 Ups Drill Advanced, 20 pulls each side Forward Lunge Drill, 30 hops Ball of Foot (BOF) Drill, 6 pulls each side Partner Foot Pull Drill, and 60 pulls Wall Drill with Lean.  This doesn’t include speed ladder drills, jump rope practice, and cadence repeats we have also done but aren’t as quantifiable as the drills listed above.  For all you math nerds out, that’s a grand total of 15,900 repetitions of pulling her foot up and down in the correct path and 4,500 hops working on her body position and forward lean.   That is deliberate practice, and the result is a more efficient stride:  When we first started she had a 5k PR of 35:32.  Today her 5k PR is 26:11, her half marathon PR is 2:10:59, and her first marathon yesterday in 85 degree weather was 5:41:26.  It should be obvious that her improved skill is the result of patience, consistency, and focus, and that she deserves all the credit for her success.  Check out her before and after comparison in the video below!

“You can take the same approach to your work, to your goals, and to your legacy. By combining these two ideas — the consistency of “10 years of silence” and the focus of “deliberate practice” — you can blow past most people.

On a daily basis, this doesn’t have to look big or impressive. And that’s good, because it will often feel like you’re failing. What feels like struggle and frustration is often skill development and growth. What looks like little pay and no recognition is often the price you have to pay to discover your best work. In other words, what looks like failure is often the foundation of success.

Thankfully, just one hour of focus and deliberate practice each day can deliver incredible results over the long–run. And that brings us to the most important questions of all:

Are you working toward your 10 years of silence today? Are you deliberately focused on developing your skills? Or are you simply “putting in your time” and hoping for the best?”

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