It’s not about the hours you put in but what you put into the hours.
Despite the “10,000 Hour Rule” becoming almost a commonly held belief in recent years, even a layperson has to admit that 10,000 hours of crappy practice is not going to make you a world beater.
Indeed, it isn’t just practice that makes perfect. I’ve heard some people say “perfect practice makes perfect”. Perfect practice is hard to define, particularly before you know the result. But deliberate practice is easier to get your arms (and brain around). And in certain fields, deliberate practice is important (although maybe not as important as Malcolm Gladwell would have you believe.)
Deliberate practice appears to make a difference to skill levels in canoe. And you don’t have to be plying new waters to get the most out of yourself, your paddle or craft. Yes, there is an important place for varied practice too. But repetition and thoughtful variation will pay dividends.
Watch the following videos, all filmed by Ray Goodwin at one of his regular stamping grounds, Mile End Mill, on the river Dee, upstream of Llangollen. I’ve paddled there with Ray many times and there is always some value to be had, whatever the water level. The bottom rapid is a favourite of Ray’s as you’ll see from the following clips. You might even be able to spot me in the background of one of them…
Deliberate Practice And Bushcraft
I also believe that deliberate practice makes a positive difference to your bushcraft skills. If you approach your skills in a deliberate and structured way, exploring variations and aiming high, then, over time, you will be much more capable than the person randomly doing stuff every time they head out “to do some bushcrafting”.
Reverse engineer what you want to be able to do, what capabilities you want to have and work back from there, putting into place deliberate practice sessions to take you step by step towards your goal.
And, like Ray, squeezing everything he can from a regular training ground, close to town, you don’t have to be out in the wilds to train your wilderness skills. The moves, body balance and paddle strokes honed near home will pay dividends on the next Missinaibi or Bloodvein trip.
It’s all about intent…
Latest posts by Paul Kirtley (see all)
- Kevin Callan and Paul Kirtley in Conversation - April 25, 2020
- Kevin Callan and Ray Goodwin in Conversation - April 18, 2020
- Mike From TA Outdoors Joins For Expedition Canoe Training - June 1, 2019