Two Things You Have to Know to Become Better
I've recently added jump ropes to my weekly workout program. It's something that didn't come easily for me—I've always skipped instead of doing the little hops with both feet off the ground. I just couldn't do it. It felt awkward, heavy, and out of sync with the whole body.
Then, I asked my husband to show me how he does it. I've observed that he lands on the balls of his feet, the heels not quite touching the ground. And his knees were slightly bent throughout.
So that's what I practiced first: hopping and landing on the balls of my feet, with a slight bend on my knees.
I started slow. I couldn't do it as quickly as he did. And the rope always ended up hitting my feet after too few successful hops. But that's okay. I was able to finally do the hops. I was never able to in the past. It's a win.
And then, I found out that if I looked straight in front of me and not on the ground, I was able to anticipate the timing better. Amazing! One shift and it brings loads of improvement.
The following week, on my second jump rope session, I was better. I could do 30 in one go (and that's a huge deal for me). Now it's time to focus on better form.
My husband watched me and told me what to focus on: keep the twists in my wrists, not the arms, and start jumping lower, feet closer to the ground, with just enough space for the rope to slide through. I'm still working on those.
I did the same method for the other new workouts (mostly functional strength training). There are two things I had to know:
- What is correct, for me to know how I should do it. Then I can do the checks: are my feet in the right position, are my knees bent enough, should my back be straight, is my core engaged, and so on.
- What I was doing wrong, for me to know what to improve on. Sometimes I think I'm doing it right. Then my husband tells me that my feet are too far apart or my elbow is jutting out. Because he is able to tell me what's wrong, I'm able to correct it right away.
It's a good reminder that we have blind spots. We don't see everything and cannot always assume that we're doing things correctly. We must have other people (whom we trust) tell us what we're doing wrong. Otherwise, we remain blind and fail to improve.
Before we can be better, we must know how to be better.