3 Ways To Get Better At Just About Anything

I may be wildly off-base but I’m assuming that most of the folks that saw this link and then clicked on it to read the internal bits are probably here trying to learn something. Maybe even how to improve their roller derby game. (Just a shot in the dark, of course.)

And, the thing is, even if you aren’t trying to specifically get better at roller derby, there are things you can do to get better at just about anything.

1) Understand the thing better.

Whether you want to get better at knitting oil painting or roller derby, it helps A LOT to build up your mental representation of whatever it is. That means not just understanding the basics of the thing but also experiencing the thing in all its iteration.
It’s a lot easier to deal with a dropped stitch once you’ve dropped a few and also watched people drop stitches and how they responded. The same is true for most of what we want to get better at. Think of it as building up your encyclopedia on the subject. There’s lots of research you can do on anything given thing but you have to create your own mental library of the skills you want to get better at in order to, well, get better at them.

Which leads us to…

2) Embrace the suck.

Sucking at something really sucks. But those “failure” experiencing are writing entire new chapters into your mental representation encyclopedia. There are lots of cliches that speak to this “crawl before you walk” comes to mind and they are true because you can’t build higher-level skills on clouds. You have to build them on lower-level skills.

You don’t have to enjoy every single moment of being terrible or having your ass handed to you. But you do have to be terrible and have your ass handed to you in order to get better. And you have to be terrible at the most basic stuff before you can graduate to being terrible at the more difficult stuff.

Which leads us to…

3) Focus on what you’re focusing on.

This is a phrase I use a lot with Autotot who, if not gently reminded of what he should be doing at any given moment, will chase after every squirrel and shiny object in his periphery. (That’s why it takes us 18 hours to get into the car.)

It is really easy to see the apex jumps and twirls and spins of the high-level skaters you see on the streams and get sucked into practicing those things. But those things might not be where you’re at. If you can’t glide on one leg, then an apex jump is more likely to injure you than bring you roller derby glory. You have to knock down the FIRST DOMINO first. And, in knocking down that first domino, the rest of the dominoes will fall when it’s time.

That’s why the most important thing you can do to get better at just about anything is to identify what that first domino is.

So the challenge is always to identify what the biggest thing holding you back from improving is. Because, just like Autotot, you have to get your shoes on before you can leave the house.

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About IronOctopusFitness

Online athletic training and nutrition coach, full-time mom, okay skater, and connoisseur of all things tea, chocolate, and roller derby. I'll help you unleash your inner athlete by building a strong, capable body that can withstand whatever life throws at you.

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