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Practice makes perfect...


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This thread is more of an observation I've had and I wonder if anybody has had a similar thing.

I've always been under the impression that the more you practise something, you will get better at it until you reach a peak and plateau. A bit like with exercising: the more you exercise, the fitter you get until you reach a point where you plateau and either need to exercise more or change your routine to improve.

As some of you will know, I've been playing darts for the past year or so on and off including a lot for the last 6 weeks or so. Naturally, if I haven't thrown in a while I will be rusty but within a few days be getting back to where I was previously. This happened over Christmas and within a couple of weeks I was steadily getting better to the point where my average was pretty much always over 50 and sometimes hitting 60 in matches (still no great shakes!).

However, rather than continuing to improve as I'm playing more, I've suddenly started going backwards and getting clearly worse. I'm not just talking off days which always happen, or specific areas like doubles but my general play for the last week or so. I used to play quite a lot of golf, and I know the same thing used to happen then. The more I played and practised, the worse I would eventually get. Then I would find that if I didn't play for a couple of months, my swing would feel much more comfortable for a bit. I know this would be the same with darts and my throw. 

I know there is a saying about golf and sex being the two things that you always think you could do better next time at. There is definitely an element of this with me, I quickly become convinced that I've figured out the one thing that will sort my game out.  Then it works for a little while before it stops again. It's like I become too aware of the things I'm doing wrong/should be doing, but it's much easier to stop this than is sounds.

Has anybody had a similar experience to this? Part of me wonders if it is just a natural dip and I need to persist, or stop and reset etc. There are options for coaching etc, but I'm concerned this could worsen my over-thinking. 

 

 

 

Edited by Maximus Decimus
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I’ve been learning Italian nearly four years and I think I’ve reached a level I’m not going past . I just tend to be refreshing things now . Some things are just to hard and beyond me , other than going there for a prolonged spell and being immersed in it

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On all the RL coaching courses there was a tendency to use " Perfect practice makes perfect " in order to motivate everyone beyond where they are at present.

Dips, limits and frontiers for improving depend on too many variables for simple answers.

I do think when something seems more like play than work your ability to become "better" is certainly much easier.

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1 hour ago, Maximus Decimus said:

This thread is more of an observation I've had and I wonder if anybody has had a similar thing.

I've always been under the impression that the more you practise something, you will get better at it until you reach a peak and plateau. A bit like with exercising: the more you exercise, the fitter you get until you reach a point where you plateau and either need to exercise more or change your routine to improve.

As some of you will know, I've been playing darts for the past year or so on and off including a lot for the last 6 weeks or so. Naturally, if I haven't thrown in a while I will be rusty but within a few days be getting back to where I was previously. This happened over Christmas and within a couple of weeks I was steadily getting better to the point where my average was pretty much always over 50 and sometimes hitting 60 in matches (still no great shakes!).

However, rather than continuing to improve as I'm playing more, I've suddenly started going backwards and getting clearly worse. I'm not just talking off days which always happen, or specific areas like doubles but my general play for the last week or so. I used to play quite a lot of golf, and I know the same thing used to happen then. The more I played and practised, the worse I would eventually get. Then I would find that if I didn't play for a couple of months, my swing would feel much more comfortable for a bit. I know this would be the same with darts and my throw. 

I know there is a saying about golf and sex being the two things that you always think you could do better next time at. There is definitely an element of this with me, I quickly become convinced that I've figured out the one thing that will sort my game out.  Then it works for a little while before it stops again. It's like I become too aware of the things I'm doing wrong/should be doing, but it's much easier to stop this than is sounds.

Has anybody had a similar experience to this? Part of me wonders if it is just a natural dip and I need to persist, or stop and reset etc. There are options for coaching etc, but I'm concerned this could worsen my over-thinking. 

 

 

 

Do what I did to stop the ' rot ' , throw your darts and golf clubs in the canal , I won't get any worse now will I ? 😉

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2 hours ago, Maximus Decimus said:

This thread is more of an observation I've had and I wonder if anybody has had a similar thing.

I've always been under the impression that the more you practise something, you will get better at it until you reach a peak and plateau. A bit like with exercising: the more you exercise, the fitter you get until you reach a point where you plateau and either need to exercise more or change your routine to improve.

As some of you will know, I've been playing darts for the past year or so on and off including a lot for the last 6 weeks or so. Naturally, if I haven't thrown in a while I will be rusty but within a few days be getting back to where I was previously. This happened over Christmas and within a couple of weeks I was steadily getting better to the point where my average was pretty much always over 50 and sometimes hitting 60 in matches (still no great shakes!).

However, rather than continuing to improve as I'm playing more, I've suddenly started going backwards and getting clearly worse. I'm not just talking off days which always happen, or specific areas like doubles but my general play for the last week or so. I used to play quite a lot of golf, and I know the same thing used to happen then. The more I played and practised, the worse I would eventually get. Then I would find that if I didn't play for a couple of months, my swing would feel much more comfortable for a bit. I know this would be the same with darts and my throw. 

I know there is a saying about golf and sex being the two things that you always think you could do better next time at. There is definitely an element of this with me, I quickly become convinced that I've figured out the one thing that will sort my game out.  Then it works for a little while before it stops again. It's like I become too aware of the things I'm doing wrong/should be doing, but it's much easier to stop this than is sounds.

Has anybody had a similar experience to this? Part of me wonders if it is just a natural dip and I need to persist, or stop and reset etc. There are options for coaching etc, but I'm concerned this could worsen my over-thinking.

I am no expert. I have heard the phrase "practise does not make perfect, it makes permenent". If you are not being coached, then no-one is correcting you.

"You clearly have never met Bob8 then, he's like a veritable Bryan Ferry of RL." - Johnoco 19 Jul 2014

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2 hours ago, Bob8 said:

I am no expert. I have heard the phrase "practise does not make perfect, it makes permenent". If you are not being coached, then no-one is correcting you.

Yeh I get that, but with something like darts I suspect most people learn without any coaching. You just need to look at the different styles of throws to realise most people just figured out their own way.

My issue isn't necessarily that I'm not getting better and stuck at say a 50 average. It is how I end up seemingly getting worse the more I practise and play.

That said, I once had a few golfing lessons, and the guy stood right behind me with a golf stick underneath my armpits. No lie, I was hitting every drive perfect down the middle with a bit of fade at the end.

I suppose therein is my problem, I know what I'm supposed to be doing so overanalyse when it goes wrong and try to fix it. It's like a mental version of a player constantly changing his darts, stems and flights.

 

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3 hours ago, Gerrumonside ref said:

Or you can follow the motto of the American wrestler baddies of the 80s:

Win if you can,

Lose if you must,

But always cheat!

😉
 

Edit: sorry having a giddy half hour.

Haha, it's a lot harder when you're on the webcam!

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I remember people saying that anyone could draw, it was just a matter of practice. But they were wrong, I couldn't learn to draw if I had tuition from now until the end of time. I think certain things you can either do or you can't. 

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3 hours ago, Bob8 said:

I am no expert. I have heard the phrase "practise does not make perfect, it makes permenent". If you are not being coached, then no-one is correcting you.

Very true, I've been in my current job (at least one of them) for 8 months now and only a couple of days ago I found out that I'd been doing a particular task in completely the wrong way that whole time and I only found this out when someone put in a complaint. However, no one had ever shown me how to do the thing in the way they wanted when I first started so just did it how I'd done it at previous similar jobs and no one pulled me up on it so I just figured it was fine. I'm very good at doing it my way but don't have a sodding clue about doing it their way because they'd never corrected me. 

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17 minutes ago, Johnoco said:

I remember people saying that anyone could draw, it was just a matter of practice. But they were wrong, I couldn't learn to draw if I had tuition from now until the end of time. I think certain things you can either do or you can't. 

I think it’s true that anyone can learn basic techniques that improve drawing skills.

I used to think like you do on that subject until I tried myself.

There are techniques that are similar to the way we learn to read and write building slowly one stage at a time.

 

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9 hours ago, Maximus Decimus said:

Yeh I get that, but with something like darts I suspect most people learn without any coaching. You just need to look at the different styles of throws to realise most people just figured out their own way.

My issue isn't necessarily that I'm not getting better and stuck at say a 50 average. It is how I end up seemingly getting worse the more I practise and play.

That said, I once had a few golfing lessons, and the guy stood right behind me with a golf stick underneath my armpits. No lie, I was hitting every drive perfect down the middle with a bit of fade at the end.

I suppose therein is my problem, I know what I'm supposed to be doing so overanalyse when it goes wrong and try to fix it. It's like a mental version of a player constantly changing his darts, stems and flights.

 

Coaching comes in different forms and I find it interesting what sticks and what doesn't.

I am, in my own way, training for a marathon (Manchester, 3rd April, somewhat to exceptionally nervous). I'm following an online training plan for that because I know that I don't need anything else.

But to get to that point I did actually take a lot from going for club runs and a lot of what has helped me get to the point I'm at now came from comments from the coaches about seemingly very minor things I was doing that, once I was aware of and able to adjust, have made a massive difference. And they were simply not things I would have ever even considered.

There may not be skill things you need to learn with darts but there could easily be "process before the throw" or distraction/visualisation techniques that are out there that will mean you stop focusing on which bit isn't working and are just more able to execute what you know you can do more times than not.

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Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life. (Terry Pratchett)

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10 hours ago, Gerrumonside ref said:

I think it’s true that anyone can learn basic techniques that improve drawing skills.

I used to think like you do on that subject until I tried myself.

There are techniques that are similar to the way we learn to read and write building slowly one stage at a time.

 

Understood but I have actually tried. I had to sack it and just face it, I could never draw. It's possibly a gene thing.... either way, not gonna improve from something a 5 year old would be embarrassed about. 

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15 hours ago, Oxford said:

On all the RL coaching courses there was a tendency to use " Perfect practice makes perfect " in order to motivate everyone beyond where they are at present.

Dips, limits and frontiers for improving depend on too many variables for simple answers.

I do think when something seems more like play than work your ability to become "better" is certainly much easier.

Correct. Perfect practice makes perfect. Here endeth todays lesson.

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29 minutes ago, Johnoco said:

Understood but I have actually tried. I had to sack it and just face it, I could never draw. It's possibly a gene thing.... either way, not gonna improve from something a 5 year old would be embarrassed about. 

I tried too and got better at it when learning how to use basic shapes like squares and triangles while sketching things like human outlines.

The results weren’t fantastic but a great improvement on my attempts to do everything ‘freehand’.

Ultimately like music, I didn’t have the dedication to get the kind of results I wanted.

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2 hours ago, gingerjon said:

Coaching comes in different forms and I find it interesting what sticks and what doesn't.

I am, in my own way, training for a marathon (Manchester, 3rd April, somewhat to exceptionally nervous). I'm following an online training plan for that because I know that I don't need anything else.

But to get to that point I did actually take a lot from going for club runs and a lot of what has helped me get to the point I'm at now came from comments from the coaches about seemingly very minor things I was doing that, once I was aware of and able to adjust, have made a massive difference. And they were simply not things I would have ever even considered.

There may not be skill things you need to learn with darts but there could easily be "process before the throw" or distraction/visualisation techniques that are out there that will mean you stop focusing on which bit isn't working and are just more able to execute what you know you can do more times than not.

As somebody who has ran a lot over the years, this is probably what I'm comparing it to. When starting from scratch, it usually takes 3/4 runs to shake off the cobwebs and be able to manage a 5k comfortably enough. Then as long as I run consistently and mix it up a bit, I will improve to the point where I plateau and to improve any further I would have to take it more seriously. Just before lockdown I was seeing a running coach once a week and he was able to suggest some little tweaks that I took on board. 

The difference for me is that with something like running, as long as I keep up the routine I won't get worse. However, with skill-based hobbies like golf and darts I can start going backwards. I'm still in the process of working out whether this is natural or a particular mental issue I have. 

As a teacher, I've done things on growth mindset and part of this is the idea that when learning something new you suffer a dip after the initial enthusiasm has waned. We obviously teach the need to keep going at this point. I do wonder whether it is something similar to this as well.

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50 minutes ago, Gerrumonside ref said:

I tried too and got better at it when learning how to use basic shapes like squares and triangles while sketching things like human outlines.

The results weren’t fantastic but a great improvement on my attempts to do everything ‘freehand’.

Ultimately like music, I didn’t have the dedication to get the kind of results I wanted.

Yep again a similarity here. When I was 16-17 or so, loads of my mates were in bands and I thought I'd get on board too. I had plenty of people willing to teach me a few basics but the problem was (and possibly still is) that I broke my arm twice growing up (same arm, same spot) and really really struggled to manage even very simple chords due to very little dexterity. And I mean, basic. So I eventually gave up the ghost. Similar story with drums, could do ok but just not enough endurance due to weaker arm. 

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37 minutes ago, Maximus Decimus said:

As somebody who has ran a lot over the years, this is probably what I'm comparing it to. When starting from scratch, it usually takes 3/4 runs to shake off the cobwebs and be able to manage a 5k comfortably enough. Then as long as I run consistently and mix it up a bit, I will improve to the point where I plateau and to improve any further I would have to take it more seriously. Just before lockdown I was seeing a running coach once a week and he was able to suggest some little tweaks that I took on board. 

The difference for me is that with something like running, as long as I keep up the routine I won't get worse. However, with skill-based hobbies like golf and darts I can start going backwards. I'm still in the process of working out whether this is natural or a particular mental issue I have. 

As a teacher, I've done things on growth mindset and part of this is the idea that when learning something new you suffer a dip after the initial enthusiasm has waned. We obviously teach the need to keep going at this point. I do wonder whether it is something similar to this as well.

I used to run and went from totally  useless to doing a 5K in around 25 mins, which I personally was happy with and quite impressed. But I found I just couldn't get better than that and due to iffy knees I had to stop. But even if they cleared up, I doubt I could get past a certain level. 

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8 minutes ago, Johnoco said:

Yep again a similarity here. When I was 16-17 or so, loads of my mates were in bands and I thought I'd get on board too. I had plenty of people willing to teach me a few basics but the problem was (and possibly still is) that I broke my arm twice growing up (same arm, same spot) and really really struggled to manage even very simple chords due to very little dexterity. And I mean, basic. So I eventually gave up the ghost. Similar story with drums, could do ok but just not enough endurance due to weaker arm. 

That’s interesting and a similar situation for me where I’ve always had friends in bands too.  I have a guitar that does fine work as an ornament in my front room!

I found the finger-work on changing chords very difficult as I am double jointed, so instead I used to act as a roadie because I really wanted to help my mates out when they played gigs.

Sometimes in the recordings and rehearsals I’d be asked my opinion during the creative process or I’d be given the bass and be asked to do something very simple.

I felt like part of things even in a minor way.

 

Edited by Gerrumonside ref
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4 minutes ago, Gerrumonside ref said:

That’s interesting and a similar situation for me where I’ve always had friends in bands too.  I have a guitar that does fine work as an ornament in my front room!

I found the finger-work on changing chords very difficult as I am double jointed, so instead I used to act as a roadie because I really wanted to help my mates out when they played gigs.

Sometimes in the recordings and rehearsals I’d be asked my opinion during the creative process or I’d be given the bass and be asked to do something very simple.

I felt like part of things even in a minor way.

 

Ha ha, yeah I was always there at rehearsals so forth 😁

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2 hours ago, Johnoco said:

I used to run and went from totally  useless to doing a 5K in around 25 mins, which I personally was happy with and quite impressed. But I found I just couldn't get better than that and due to iffy knees I had to stop. But even if they cleared up, I doubt I could get past a certain level. 

25 mins used to be my limit, but due to lockdown and the extra time and energy I had, I was able to take it a bit more seriously and got down to 23:30 and 49 mins for 10k. Sadly, I gave myself food poisoning that summer and didn't run for about 17 days. The next time I tried to do a 10k I think it was 55 mins and even though I still ran for another 5 months or so, I wasn't able to come close to regaining it. I started to lose enthusiasm and it became a chore.

I've no doubt that natural ability plays a big part. I have a brother in law who got under 20 minutes, and I genuinely can't see how I'd ever had done that. Also, I remember playing golf once as a teenager and my best round to that point was a 98. Any time not devoted to RL was spent practising golf. We went for a round and were put with this older guy who'd recently been bought a set of clubs by his wife but had no-one to go with. His swing was like a strange half-swing thing.

He went round in 86.

I've no doubt that there are pro darts players who were better after about an hour of picking up a dart than I am now.

 

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2 hours ago, Gerrumonside ref said:

That’s interesting and a similar situation for me where I’ve always had friends in bands too.  I have a guitar that does fine work as an ornament in my front room!

I found the finger-work on changing chords very difficult as I am double jointed, so instead I used to act as a roadie because I really wanted to help my mates out when they played gigs.

Sometimes in the recordings and rehearsals I’d be asked my opinion during the creative process or I’d be given the bass and be asked to do something very simple.

I felt like part of things even in a minor way.

 

For me the hardest thing about playing instruments, is playing under pressure. I can play a similar level of guitar and piano that is not very high but to non-players looks like I can play the instrument. I know a fair few chords, and can play some impressive sounding songs on piano.

I learnt piano for my wedding and despite having practised the song 1,000 times totally bottled the intro. Luckily, it was an obscure enough song that most people didn't realise.

I play quite a lot of guitar in school, and you basically have to get to the point where you don't care if you make a mistake. There is another teacher who is a much better pianist that me, but she simply can't play in school, she gets too nervous, makes mistakes and loses her bit.

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