It seems that different people improve at different rates. I see quite a few folks that train every day and yet don’t show as much improvement as others that train less. There are no obvious differences between their physical abilities, age, circumstance, etc.
The book I’m reading now claims that practicing with a purpose is what makes the difference.
This is indeed the case. The next question is: with what purpose? What makes a good practice regimen? There are as many theories on this as there are people. But I find that the main rule that works for me is: if it’s easy, you’re doing it wrong.
I think easy is a tricky term. So let me try to explain how I see it with a counter-intuitive example. When I’m training against a good player, and I’m playing my A-game. Say we do a high-paced 7 minute set where we are both really going balls to the wall. Some days I consider this hard, but some days it’s easy. When my mind is sharp, I have a lot of energy, no injuries are bothering me, it’s easy. THAT is when the hard thing to do is to play positions I’m less comfortable with, stuff I learned recently, or things I’ve been neglecting. Or sometimes, the hard thing to do is to get a lot of reps of high-paced drills in.
I’m not sure if any of that makes sense, but I’ve been really wondering how to improve more from my training sessions. I feel that’s the question you have to keep asking yourself if improvement is your goal. I think it will often be a lot less “fun” than if you just come in to roll and socialize (which is perfectly reasonable). I feel like my personality is such that the MOST fun I have is improving and if that requires that I “suffer” every single training session, I’m willing to do it.
I apply that to all aspects of my life. For some people that’s insane and a waste of life, but to me it’s the way to a genuinely happy existence. Still, it’s a concept that challenges me on all kinds of levels… that is takes more than just hard work, it takes the right kind of hard work.