Practice Smart to get to next level.
My first post talked about assessing your level . I would suggest to read that post here first before reading this one , because I may be referring lots of thoughts from that post to suggest quick , smart and executable ways of moving to the next level.
I assume now that you have ascertained your level by self and with your coach. You got to pick your advanced level plays and keep them intact.
What does that mean ? It means that you got to find all of your advanced level plays and make them as 80% of your practice time. So if you play for 1 hr , you got to make sure that 50 mins are spent working on your strengths and 10 mins working on learning new things .
Ohh , you say just 10 mins working on new things - then How will I improve my game fast enough to win the next tournament ?
Well ! if the next tournament (one month away) is your target , then you need to increase your practice hours for sure . Now there will be 2 possibilities -
You do not have enough time during the day to increase the number of hours . Then you need to move your target to a different tournament .
You can practice for two to two and half hrs - you are in luck you can still keep your target for next tournament which is one month away.
It is important that you follow the default 80 - 20 rule . I am one of those persons who believes in working on my strengths more and then in remaining time work on my weaknesses. So 80% of the time working on your strengths , which you have identified and 20% of time spent working on the weaknesses you have identified .
Here Strengths will be your Advanced level plays and Weaknesses will be your Beginner Level plays.
Your next logical question would be , What about my Intermediate Level skills ?
I have always felt that Intermediate Level skills are those skills about which you are not clear about in your head , which means you still need to think about those skills to either classify them as Advanced or Beginner , until then
just work on those skills in your mind outside of your playing time.
keep them listed and either demote them to Beginner level so that you start putting 20% time on to them during your playing time OR promote them to Advanced level so that you start putting 80% time on them. Your coach will be most important person to help you access those tricky Intermediate level skills.
Now that you have clear mind map of your skills, You will need to come up with specific practice drills which will help you to have fun while playing 80% of your advanced level skills. 20% of the time which needs to be spent working on beginner level skills will be mostly frustrating time.
While planning your sessions you need to be careful about spreading the frustrating part , so that the fun part does not get affected much. Here also creativity of your coach is going to be the key, to have proper balance of fun and frustration :)
Idea of ensuring proper balanced session is to keep your mind engaged , if the mind is engaged in an activity the learning is much quicker and more effective. So it is key to keep the mind happy. It may not be possible every time , but our target must be to get maximum out of every training session, which will enable you to get to the next level faster and also allow you to stay there .