Why is practice so important?
You hear it in class and school over and over again. Practice, practice practice. But why is it so important? I will tell you why just a few minutes practice every day will provide you with so many benefits.
One of the key elements and outcomes of consistent practice is the muscle memory that you will develop. The repetition will physically shape and make the muscles transform as well as enhancing the recall ability of the brain. You want to practice so that the movements do not require active thought but just happen depending on the scenario in front of you.
5 – 9-year-olds tend to struggle with complex movements that require dexterity and fine motor skills to execute. We use techniques that are devised specifically to challenge this stage of learning development so that the student can learn, grow and refine the techniques.
There is a tendency in this age group to “Overthink” what is being asked of them. They also find it tricky to focus on things that they find difficult. We usually see this when students have to go through their kata(forms).
However, there is an actual benefit in just practicing short strings of combinations from kata and not the entire kata. Short sequences usually embed in the brain quicker and enable a student to gain a better working knowledge of the entire form.
The big bonus for practicing your karate moves at home is the boost in confidence you will gain. Students in this age group tend to show excessive fear if asked to do something brand new in front of others or if they are put in the spotlight. You will see us practice overcoming this fear in or regular stripe testing in front of the rest of the class. At times in groups and at times on your own. Preparing yourself through regular practice removes the fear of the performance and enables the student to focus on their abilities.
When practicing at home students will run into challenges and get frustrated. It is these situations where you can give them valuable life lessons about how to address and deal with those challenges in socially acceptable formats rather than throwing a tantrum or simply closing down. “Take a breath” “Count to 10” “Let’s change focus and come back to it later.”, all useful lessons to work through with your child.
Then when they come back to class they will find that they can execute the movements much easier than before. they can focus on specific aspects or extend their knowledge as they are not ‘freaking’ out about the movement sequences.
So practicing at home is not just about repetition and doing something again and again. It gives you, their parent, a valuable opportunity to bond and engage with your child and help them work towards their goals. It gives the student the chance to learn and grow. To problem solve and understand the feelings they encounter along the journey.
Practice gives you the ability to nurture knowledge and learning and understanding that things take time. to set their mindset and realise that they can overcome challenges in life encouraging their self-belief and improvement.
Author: Sensei Chris Cameron