Aces

One of the common questions I get is "What should I practice?" The right answer, "Everything", is a hard thing for most folks to swallow. Its like a big elephant - trying to eat the whole thing at once is impossible, and its not always obvious where to take the first bite from. In late 2007, I wrote a blog article on the Re-Gun blog that describes how to determine exactly what to practice first. That gets you some specifics on what to focus on, but doesn't really give you a plan on how to work on them. It also doesn't add in general skills practice - you need to maintain that while focusing on the stuff that needs the most work.

Around that same time, I started investigating efficient ways to practice. A thread regarding Motor Learning came up on the Benoverse, and piqued my interest in how to structure practice to show the quickest gains in skill retention (that translates to quickest gains in match placement!). I dug into some research around kinesiology and motor learning, and discovered something interesting - the short of it is, psuedo-random practice works better for long term skill retention than hundreds of repetitions of an individual skill (in kinesiology terms, this is referred to as "blocked" practice - ie, a "block" of one skill). This blocked out practice works for learning a new skill's movements and intricacies - once you know the moves, though, moving toward a more random pattern may result in slower gains on each skill in a particular practice session - but you'll retain more of those gains in the next practice session and match.

As I was doing that research, the folks at CrossFit Agoge released their cool Hopper Deck product. A lightbulb came on - a set of cards with shooting drills on them! Shuffle, draw, shoot, rinse, repeat. Pseudo-random practice of general skills. I contacted Alex Taylor at Hopper Deck to seek permission to blatantly steal their idea, and he graciously replied with a lot of great info on how to get started. The rest is... recent history...