Get good at something by practicing!
Master Any Skill With Examples
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How to master any skill with examples. First we have to qualify “master”. The word master may suggest that you can’t get any better at a given skill. You have reached the top of the heap in your skill. That may be true for a small percentage of people, furthermore you could very well be one of them. But when first learning any skill, mastering that skill may seem like a daunting task, impossible even.
In this article I will use my experiences with two real life examples. I love to play the guitar and I also love to play golf. Both I do for the enjoyment, exercise and the social interaction I get out of them. But I also like to challenge myself, therefore I am constantly learning.
1. What Do You Want To Get Out Of A Skill?
When most people start to play golf, or learn to play the guitar, they do so for basically the same reasons. Their friends or their spouse play. They want to get in on the fun and the social aspect.
But for those who have a competitive side, their desires normally include improving. The next thing you know people are looking in their local golf store or on Amazon for new equipment. Some take lessons, but most people try to learn on their own.
Additionally learning to play the guitar is very mush the same. Your friend plays or you love sitting around the campfire singing songs. You go to your local music store or find a used guitar on Reverb. In addition there are a million learn to play guitar videos on YouTube.
The first thing you need to do is determine what level you want to be in your skill. At what level of skill will you be satisfied.
Learn The Basics
No matter what level you want to take your skill to, you need to learn the basics. Whether it’s one of your friends showing you chords on the guitar or learning online. Getting the basics down is essential. This does not mean going golfing and trying to learn while you are on the course. Every skill has basic techniques that need to learned.
2. Hone Your Skills
So here comes the dreaded “P” word. PRACTICE! This is one reason why people start and stop learning. This is because of people’s perception of practice. Practice is a skill! Additionally the more you do it, the easier it becomes. You don’t have to practice every day, but you could, even without picking up a golf club or a guitar. There are things you can practice while at work, waiting for the bus, sitting around the house, anywhere!
I started playing the guitar about eight years ago. Like many people I get together with my buddy and do a little jamming. I basically got a little stale and decided to challenge myself. I decided to start playing fingerstyle. This is much more of a challenge than simply strumming. I went online and found a video by Dennis Anthonis teaching a fingerstyle pattern. The fingerstyle was a Travis picking pattern played on the bottom four strings to the song “Brain Damage” by Led Zepplin. What I discovered was that I could practice my fingering without a guitar. And I could do it anywhere. Even strumming can be practiced without a guitar.
As I got older my golf game went downhill. I couldn’t hit the ball any great distance anymore. I went on YouTube and found probably the best golf instructor for seniors. Danny Maude is a golf pro in England. He specializes in senior golfers. I now use two of his videos, one on driving and one on hitting irons, to improve my game. I now hit the ball further and with a much simpler golf swing. In addition I can practice basics without a golf club in my hand.
Practice Does Not Make Perfect!
Practice makes permanent! Perfection is another matter and probably not obtainable. Don’t put that pressure on yourself. The bottom line is, without practice you will not improve. Most skills are muscle memory related. This means repetition.
Give Yourself The Time
Learning any skill, and doing it well, takes time. Nothing happens overnight, or in a week, a month, but in six months, mabey. Each time a learn a new fingerstyle pattern I give myself six months to be able to do it well enough that it becomes routine. Golf season is coming soon and I am giving myself the summer to practice and get my game back in shape. In September I should have my new golf swing working fairly well. But it will take time.
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