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  • Given the importance of the sub-conscious to our performance, how do we go about making the learning process as efficient as possible?

    While it sounds like common since, the first thing we need to do is to make sure that we practice the right things. Practice the wrong things and this will be what is transferred into your sub-conscious. So how do we go about finding out what the right technique is? The most effective way is to get some coaching. When you first start, you might get a mate to show you the ropes, but once you know you are serious about the sport, you need to get someone with relevant qualifications and experience. The governing bodies of most sports will maintain a list and you should be able to access these online.

  • Get some instruction early on

    If you want to progress quickly - get some lessons from the outset, before you develop any bad habits. You don't need to go mad - get 2-3 lessons and then review what you want to do. Is it the sport for you? Are you enjoying it? Is there somewhere near where you can practice? Can you dedicate the required time and resources?

    Ideally, you need to be able to practice in between the lessons - if you find yourself unable to put the time in between the lessons (for financial or other reasons), then rethink your approach. Without the right amount of practice, you are not going to get the most out of the lessons.

    Good coaching doesn't come cheap, but it is the quickest and cheapest way to learn in the long run. I have heard people say that they can't afford coaching, yet they still find the time and resources to go out and practice the wrong things!

    Once you have mastered some basic technique, you can supplement this with books, DVDs and online material. But do get someone to help you set out the basic groundwork. This will provide you with the framework to fit this additional information into.

    Personally, I think getting some good quality coaching is the key to developing skills. I have included a whole section on how to get the most out of coaching.

  • Purposeful practice

    You need to make sure that all of your practice is "purposeful" - by that I mean that you are concentrating on the areas of your performance that require attention, that you understand what you should be doing, and you attempt to do this every time.

    There is no point in spending hours practicing the wrong technique or practicing something that you can already do. The former will send you backwards and you won't achieve anything with the latter.

    Every time you train, you need to ask yourself "Is there a particular problem or issue I want to iron out? Is there some aspect of my performance that I am not 100% happy with?"

    If the answer is "yes" to either question, ask yourself "Do I know what I need to do to put it right?" In other words, do you know what the right technique is. If you don't, it is time to get some input from someone who does. There is little point in just practicing the wrong technique in the hope that it will eventually correct itself! If you don't know what the right technique is, then it is time to get some help.

    Don't fall into the trap of just practicing what you can do already (a common failing amongst would be musicians!) - playing a piece of music perfectly might give your ego a boost, but you aren't going to learn anything new from it. Remember, we often learn more from our mistakes than our successes!

    You will find a separate page on how to get the most out of practice here.

    Another key to purposeful practice is accurate record keeping as it keeps track of what we are doing well and what requires more work. Record keeping isn't the sexy part of any sport, but it can be critical in developing and refining peak performance. And there is a separate page on this too.

Further information


There are a number of websites online that can provide more detailed information. I have included a list for you to use as a starting point.


You'll find an extensive list of books included on the Further Info pages. They are all readily available on Amazon.


There are some great TED talks available that cover many of the areas discussed on this website. I have included links to many of them on the Futher Info pages.