Monday, April 04, 2011

How To Eat An Elephant

... it's one bite at a time, don't you know.

Yesterday, my daughter had her first soccer game since we started our campaign of deliberate practice. We had been working on the accuracy and power of her kicks, particularly for balls coming from her left side and ones in front of her. In the past, she shanked about half of them. Yesterday, all such kicks were straight and true. Victory!

While watching the game, I found four more skills that need work. We'll pick them off one at a time. As I watched her play and tried not to have an aneurysm, it dawned on me that one of the benefits of deliberate practice is that it makes the impossible possible.

My daughter is trying to get into a very good high school wants to play soccer there. If they held tryouts today, there is no way on Earth she would make the team. My job is to spend the next 6 months getting her ready. If we worked on everything at once, or if we took on the skills that are actually collections of smaller skills, we'd never get anywhere. Like eating an elephant, this is going to be an unbelievably difficult task, but by breaking it into single, bite-sized bits, you can at least see the mechanism by which we might succeed.

Our deliberate practice scoreboard: two skills down, a whole bunch to go.

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