A little each day
Which is better? Practicing something for 1 day once a year? Or practicing something for 1 hour once a month? Or practicing 10 minutes each day?
Granted, this depends what we’re practicing, but for many things we do better if we do a little bit of it on a regular basis.
What makes some things tough for folks is thinking they have to do a lot of it often. Granted, if you’re totally in love with the thing you’re doing, if you are driven to some higher level (e.g. to be a world champion), that’s a different context. But for most of us regular schmoes, we just want to not suck at our chosen thing.
Yeah, you have those gym rats that spend 2 hours twice a day at the gym. It’s probably their social thing and that’s fine as far as it goes, but then their goal is probably social and not performance. I have appreciated the basics of Wendler 5/3/1 because it’s gotten me stronger than I’ve ever been, and it’s about doing more with less, e.g. the most basic template, Boring But Big, has you doing just 2 exercises (tho 1 is done in 2 different ways, so I suppose you could say 3 exercises) in a simple scheme, and you ought to be in and out of the gym in under an hour.
Champion pistol shooter, Ben Stoeger, promotes a dry fire practice routine around the notion of “15 minutes a day”. I recently started doing his 15 minute sessions, and some actually take less than 15 minutes. But you see the point that it’s about manageable chunks, not some massive session that you’ll dread and thus opt to never do. But it also needs a “per day” in order to progress. One 15 minute session once a year isn’t going to cut it.
PoliceOne even talks about how police officers can practice the skills of their trade in just 10 minutes a day. This could be things like dry fire practice, handcuffing skills, or even watching the news and visualizing your own response to reported situations.
The P1 article made a good point:
Do 10 minutes of training a day, every day you work the job.
Doesn’t sound like a lot, but it is.
Assuming you work a four-day week, and you do 10 minutes of training each day you work, you will have done 40 minutes of training per week. Easy math, right?
Assuming you have four weeks off (vacations, holidays, etc.), leaving you with 48 work weeks in a year, and you do the prescribed 10 daily minutes, you will have done 1,920 minutes of training annually.
That’s 32 hours of training.
I hadn’t thought about that. I hadn’t looked at the math.
There are schools out there that you attend for a week. You take a week off work (taking the hit to your vacation time and paycheck). You spend thousands of dollars for tuition, travel, food, accommodations, whatever. You get a week of good training. It’s fun. I won’t discount the value of such things. But the above shows you can get a whole lot out of a little each day.
Tom Givens makes a point that you do far better with a little practice more often. That is, better to practice 15 minutes 2-3 times a week than to practice for 1-2 hours once a month. When skills are perishable (and most are, if you want to operate at any level above rudimentary), when skills are ones that must be called upon at any unexpected time, you do better when those skills are more fresh in your mind and body. If the last time you practiced was 3 days ago, that’s less “rot time” compared to 30 days ago; things will be fresher, you’ll perform better.
I’m not perfect about this, but it is something I strive for. And seeing the above math? That really hits it home. A little each day, and it really adds up.