So I was doing my zig-zag Heiden and stick tonight as part of my lateral plyo module and something clicked. I landed like a ninja. An explosive, silent, and perfectly one legged balanced killer. Thrilling!
My first lateral plyo post was April 6th. At that point I was very far from being a ninja and was having trouble just sticking the landing in a lateral bound let alone landing quietly. It only took two sessions for me to become proficient at sticking the landing. At this point, I was tempted to move on and progress to something more difficult. Instead, I decided that my landings were not good enough. I was not super loud but I was still not quiet enough. I just felt somehow I was missing something. I was right.
I can’t tell you exactly what I’m doing differently. What I can say is that my body has figured it out. I have felt this pattern before in my training.
It goes something like this:
- ask the body to do something
- you wonder if you’re really doing it right (hint: if you’re asking, the answer is “no!”)
- keep asking
- hang on past the point when most people would say “good enough” or “this is boring let’s do something else”
- keep asking
- the body says “Oh! is THIS what you want me to do?”
Becoming proficient at dead bug exercises followed this same pattern. It was about three weeks before I even felt the right muscles doing the right things.
This type of learning process can be frustrating because it is non-linear. Learning motor skills and movement patterns is just different than learning algebra. About a year ago on UltimateRob.com I wrote about how learning motor skills is a process that’s largely beyond our conscious understanding and control.
Thankfully, I have become better at relaxing and letting the process run its course.
I believe that one of my greatest strengths as an athlete is my willingness- no, my insistence- on doing things right. I have no tolerance for sloppy form in the weight room. And I do not just want a low-ish release forehand. I want my knuckles in the grass. I work HARD on the details. And when working hard doesn’t work, I’m willing to wait on the details to come to me.