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The Special Tricks to Really Improve at Your Sport

Whether you’re trying to seriously compete or have an enjoyable time with friends, we all want to get better at the sports we enjoy. Actual improvement can be inconsistent, however, with rapid improvement often followed by long periods of plateaus. Looking at general sporting ideas and our approaches, let’s explore how we can overcome these plateaus, to continually climb closer to fulfilling our maximum potential.

Revisit the Basics

The way many of us learn sports is not by starting with professional teachers, but by jumping right in. This can be the most fun approach, but it can also teach us bad habits that inhibit our growth. To take two steps forward, it can be better first to take one step back and explore our long-held assumptions about the basics of our game.

This could be as simple as the stance we adopt in a game like tennis, or our placement of where we hold a cue in snooker. If we found one approach more comfortable as a beginner, then that comfort might not scale well to the demands of an intermediate-level game. By revising that basic aspect you can essentially set a new baseline that might take a while to learn, but which will pay off with better results once mastered.

2013 US Open (Tennis) - Stanislas Wawrinka
2013 US Open (Tennis) – Stanislas Wawrin” (CC BY 2.0) by Steven Pisano

Consider Different Advice

Tied in the basics of skill are the basics of theory and how we approach the game. It’s important to be open to new information, and this is true in many hobbies and forms of entertainment. In a non-competitive game like slots, for example, we might be stuck with one approach in mind. Instead of following the same belief, it might be better for these players to explore a different slots winning strategy. Rather than betting big, for example, it could be better to play slowly in games with high RTP and be aware of what volatility means.

In a more traditional sports example, a change in strategy can help you better take advantage of the skills you’ve unconsciously learned over time. You’ll be far better at reading opponents after you have some experience, even if you’re not aware of it. Use this information to look up different advice, and see how your developed perspective might interpret new concepts and older or overlooked approaches.

Be Okay with Questioning Yourself

The best piece of advice for bettering yourself in any pursuit is to internalise the skill of introspection. Be open to questioning if you mistake, if you were unlucky, or if another player demonstrated a skill you don’t yet have an answer for. Understand the basis for an error, face it honestly, and you’ll be better suited to overcome it. It can even help to quietly verbalise to yourself what happened after a mistake occurs. This will help you consolidate it within your memory, so you can reflexively come back with an answer more easily in the future.

Pool vs. snooker
Pool vs. snooker” (CC BY 2.0) by Derbeth

With this information, you’ll have more tools on your eternal journey of self-improvement. You might not get better overnight, but stick with it, and odds are you’ll eventually reach a new level of play. Of course, then you’ll have even more difficult opponents you’ll want to beat, but that’s just a part of the journey.

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