Tag Archives: focus

The value of focus in training

I see plenty of discussions about training sessions and programs but there’s some important subtitles of training that I don’t think get the time they always deserve. One of these is how much focus and concentration is put into sessions. It’s easy to just go through the motions when you’re training but I think it is important to be concentrating and to be present during the session. I’ve done many sessions where I paddled it but was thinking about other things. I’ve watched many others do the same. They aren’t completely wasted sessions but you don’t get as much out of them as you could.

You may well have heard of the idea that you need 10,000 hours of practice to get expert at something. It’s been distorted from the original research / idea but the key point really boils down to the fact that you can’t get good at something without deliberate practice. There’s a few components to deliberate practice but focusing on the task and getting feedback are key. Spend as long as you like pretending to practice but you won’t be anywhere near what you could have been with deliberate practice. Focussing on what you’re actually doing yield vastly better and faster results, as does performing drills and exercises that target areas you need to improve.

Getting feedback is very important. Without knowing if what you did was better or worse than before you can’t hope to improve it. Sometimes you can tell what’s happening yourself, maybe you changed technique and your time trial time improved or you lifted more weight (though you still have to make sure you actually notice it!). Other times you need someone else like a coach or training partner, for example to video technique or shout changes at you mid session. Continue reading