Thursday, June 12, 2008

The value of practice

I just read a great article on Practice from one of my favorite bloggers, skating coach Jocelyn Jane Cox. We all know that practice does not really make perfect. However, a coach once told me his philosophy: "Practice makes easy." This has stuck with me for a long, long time and I know from my own skating history that it's true. The more I practice something, the easier it gets. And, usually, it gets better too.

Jocelyn discusses "practice with thought" vs. mere repetition. You can't keep practicing the same thing over and over without change and expect it to improve if you are doing it wrong. The older I get, the wiser I get about practice. I have to; my body is aging and just isn't capable of doing stupid things repeatedly. If something isn't working I have to analyze why, sometimes seeking the advice of a coach, and change things until it does work.

I haven't done much solo dancing the past two years because I have a partner and skating together has been our focus. Before that, I solo'd pretty much everything all the time and was confident doing so. Since Tim is out of town on business I have spent the past week working on my international dance solos. The internationals aren't meant to be solo'd of course, and I can't do the Midnight Blues drape by myself. But forcing myself to do some very difficult turns and steps ON MY OWN has solidified some of the things I've been learning all year long.

I solo'd Samba, Cha Cha Congelado, Rumba, Ravensburger, Midnight Blues, and Tango Romantica Tuesday. It was a public session and the rink decided to play a medley of 1970's disco for about an hour. So, there I was, transported back to Junior High School, doing the Cha Cha Congelado to "Night Fever" by the Bee Gees. It was great fun, actually. There was a pretty big audience of shoppers and I noticed some watching. I'm sure they had no idea that this was a "boring" compulsory dance. (You know, too boring for prime time TV.)


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