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BLOCK vs RANDOM PRACTICE: READ, PLAN, DO

How to Optimize Your Practice with Motor Learning

Key Points

Game skills are complex
Every time you do a skill in a game, regardless of sport, you have to read, plan, and do. We call this process the “total skill


It’s all about transfer
Transfer is the word motor learning scientists use to describe real learning. When they study practice and how it impacts skill acquisition they always look at what the people can do the next day rather than the improvements they can see during the practice stage.

Transfer=How much of the improvements made in practice actually show up the next day or in the game.

Block Practice
A traditional approach to practice that involves getting a high number of reps repeating the exact same movement over and over and over again (hitting 10 putts from the same spot).

Random Practice
A practice approach that randomizes reps – you never do the exact same thing twice (hitting 10 putts from different spots on the green).

Random leads to wayyyyyy more transfer – why?
In all of the studies we see a huge difference between block and random practice during the transfer test (the one that measures real learning). This happens because during random practice (when we never do the same thing twice) we are forced to read, plan, and do before every single rep.

During block practice we simply repeat the previous movement and the reading and planning are eliminated from the equation.

Block is easier to do, obviously, and will make us look better in practice. However, if we want to prepare to perform in an actual game, random is the better option.

Post Content by Trevor Ragan and Train Ugly.com

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