Author Topic: How do you learn  (Read 4576 times)

Richard

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How do you learn
« on: December 12, 2015, 10:59:08 am »
Hey guys,

I'm really interested to know what your practice method is. What do you think is a good technique for learning a REALLY hard trick faster?

I am really interested in improving my practice methods so I can learn 3 low and other tricks a lot quicker.

I've been working on 3 low for quite a few years now, although I've never really pushed hard with the practice. Doing a bit here and there hasn't really helped me much - a big part of the problem has been motivation. Because it's such a hard skill and you don't get that much pay off, it can be hard to keep up the practice.

Here's my thoughts and a methods that I use with training and also teaching.

Any thoughts are welcome

Rich

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1) Film yourself and watch

It's amazing what you see when you watch yourself. Often you pick up technique problems, stance, style etc.

The more you film yourself, the more comfortable you'll be with a camera pointing at you.

2) Get feedback from others that have some knowledge.

It's important to get advice from others. You don't have to accept the advice and you can pick and choose what you will try. Sometimes it can take more than one person saying the same thing before you take the advice and start to make a change.

3) Focus on one RELEVANT technique correction at a time.

Often I hear people giving really technical advice to beginners which makes it harder for them to learn because they're thinking too much and not 'feeling' it. This is where I think it's important to judge what is a 'relevant' technique correction. e.g. When learning 2 low, it's important to focus on the timing of the diabolos before you even think about correction.

Also, if you focus on too many technique corrections at once, it's too much for your brain. Try to focus on one at a time, until it becomes a habit, and then move on to the next one.

4) Small wins/goals

It can take years to master really hard tricks like 3 high and 3 low. Therefore it's easy to get disheartened when you can't do the trick. Technique corrections can become your way of being motivated because they're much easier to achieve and you can see progress. I've found this to be one of the main things that can keep people trying and enjoying themselves.

5) Take breaks often

If you're practicing the same trick over and over and making mistakes, chances are you're brain is memorising how to do it wrong. Once I start making a real mess of things, I immediately stop with that trick and come back later.

6) Visualisation

This is a lot more successful than you might think. There's a lot of scientific evidence to suggest that visualisation is just as good as real practice.  It's not easy to do but I think it has huge benefits - sometimes you can't practice. Also, you can visualise yourself doing the trick 100% correct, rather than practicing it for real and not succeeding with the trick.

7) Focus

While it's good to lose yourself in the moment with juggling, it's also really beneficial if you are focused when trying hard tricks. I'm not talking about over-thinking things, just being really focussed and present with what you're doing.

This is a form of meditation and it can really make a difference. The next time you're struggling with a hard trick, take notice of what your brain was thinking about when you made the last attempt. Were you focussed on what you were doing or were you distracted with something else?

8) Relax your mind

Whenever you get frustrated or angry at not being able to do a trick, different areas of your brain begin to work (ones that control emotion) and you will definitely lose focus and it'll be harder to do anything except rage. I think of frustration like something that blocks our brains from actually learning.

If you're ever frustrated with a trick, relax, let go of your anger and re-focus or take a break and come back later.

9) Don't be afraid to fail

Something that is important to remember is that for as long as you juggle, there will ALWAYS be a trick or skill that you can't do, so get used to 'failure' as long as you don't keep repeating the same mistake over and over and over without trying something new or taking a break

10) Really small sessions really often

For the last 2 weeks I've been doing three to four 3low attempts every 1-2 hours throughout the day. The results have been amazing. I think this is about the best way to learn a hard trick (if you have the time) because it's easier to focus when you are making the attempt and if things aren't working, it doesn't matter too much because you can try again in a couple of hours.

I've left this one for last because it's the thing that inspired me to write this post. While it's great to have long sessions, I've found it can be hard to be motivated to keep trying hard tricks that you keep failing at (like 3 low for me). This method has really helped my motivation and technique.

Not Skilled Yet

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Re: How do you learn
« Reply #1 on: December 13, 2015, 01:39:01 am »
whenever i want to learn something i just bash my head against it until it hopefully gives. that's probably terrible, but i wasn't able to film myself for a while, and when i was able to, i couldn't do diabolo as much.
Now that i think of it, one thing i often try to do is reduce a trick down to a simpler case, and see if i can figure that out.
Probably it would be better if I watched people more while i was learning a trick and filmed myself, and compared the two things, that seems like the most effective thing.
Your thoughts about this are pretty interesting, i haven't fully considered some of these, and some of them i forget, like visualization and being relaxed.
juggling is cool, diabolo is the coolest

Pau

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Re: How do you learn
« Reply #2 on: December 13, 2015, 09:49:54 am »
Very interesting post Richard. I have been thinking about this topic lately which is why I now feel compelled to post a reaction. I have been lurking around the forum and as I have been diaboloing for only a short time I feel like such a total beginner. Which of course I am. But then as I am an adult learner just like yourself I would say that the way I learn is exactly that: make being an adult learner your advantage. You'll be likely to have a more thorough knowledge of your strengths and weaknesses than the average teenager has. And you will have developed a way to deal with them. Accept who you are, understand how you learn etc.

Just like you I practice in small sessions and I never do a new trick more than 4 or 5 times. If it works out then that's fine. If it doesn't it'll be fine another time. I don't think that would've been my approach if I had learned to diabolo when I was a teen.

Another thing I do is draw on experiences I gained in other fields. I am an equestrian and I have spent the best part of 30 years learning to equally develop both sides of my body, finding my balance while sitting on 900 pounds of physically incredibly strong pigheadedness with a mind of its own. All of that comes in handy now: I have acquired a good core stability and I have learned to feel what my hands, wrists and arms do, and to think about how what they do affect the results I get and make adjustments accordingly. I have also learned to chop exercises into really small bits as required and most of all I have armed myself with tons of patience over the years.

It might also help to look back from time to time. Where were you a year ago and how much have your skills and technique developed since then. If only for motivation.

Pauline

Richard

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Re: How do you learn
« Reply #3 on: December 13, 2015, 11:19:21 am »
Thanks Pauline,

Interesting what you say about balance and I totally agree that it’s really important. Almost every sport in the world will require good balance and I think juggling is very similar.  It's often forgotten about though.

I totally agree about cutting tricks down into small steps – I think this is where it’s possible to get small wins also and keep the experience a positive one.

I think sheer repetition should enable us to learn most tricks through sheer repetition. However, a smaller percentage of them (like learning vertax/excalibur, 2 low, 3 low and 3 high) do really require a lot of technique correction and feedback through video analysis and coaching.  One thing I forgot to mention in the first post is that long sessions are extremely helpful too. I guess I left it out because I think this is how most people practice. Short sessions are great but it’s usually the days where you attempt the trick a lot of times that you can make some good breakthroughs with your technique.

That said, the main reason I made that post is because I’ve been struggling with 3 low for about 10 years, only doing it half-heartedly and not making much progress. I noticed was that I hardly improved at all and I always had a negative feeling about wanting to practice it because it was always SO hard. I would get motivated for about 1 week to practice hard and then let it drop because I was constantly failing. So my mind didn’t have any positive association with it. Since doing the short sessions, I’m attempting it about 20-30 times in a day as opposed to 0-5. That in itself I think is a massive improvement.

Pau

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Re: How do you learn
« Reply #4 on: December 13, 2015, 01:17:00 pm »
I totally agree about cutting tricks down into small steps – I think this is where it’s possible to get small wins also and keep the experience a positive one.
Shouldn't having fun always be your goal? Besides any personal goal you may have.

Let's see if I understand what you mean by longer sessions being useful. Do you mean that in longer sessions you build in short sessions of whatever trick or technique you are working on, and then work on something different that may help you (or maybe something completely different) and then have a couple of goes again at in your case low 3d, then switch to another trick, go back to 3d etc? I can see how that might work.

SebiHausi

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Re: How do you learn
« Reply #5 on: December 13, 2015, 01:28:54 pm »
really interesting topic richard.
i totally agree with most of your points.
however i think for some tricks (like 3low) it is not such a good approach to only try 4 or 5 attempts a time, because you need a few tries to warm up and become comfortable with your rythm again. at least that was the case for me. i think for learning 3low (or 4low) the best approach is to do sessions of about 15 - 30 minutes, because it guarantees that you get warmed up and you can also stay focused for that time. anything longer than that may be counta- productive.

JT

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Re: How do you learn
« Reply #6 on: December 14, 2015, 06:06:57 am »
Yeah I agree with most of what have been said, and do find this very interesting.

A few extra points id like to make:

- I think motivation is one of the key things when it comes to learning. Yes you can FORCE yourself do an hr of practice a day, but if you don't WANT to then you'll be real inefficient at learning. I lost motivation learning 3 so stalled in my progress for a long while. I ended up buying new diabolos and that was enough  to motivate me to learn 3.
- Filming is good for feed back but it is also again good for motivation. Post videos and you'll feel that sense of achievement and receive words of encouragement. Which will push you to do more.
- I agree with Sebi about giving yourself time to warm up. (Although with my 4D my first attempt is often the best then its downhill from there) however with most things you need to do it a few times so you can get a clear understanding of what you might need to change.
- Visualizing is good. I often find myself "Air Diaboloing" and looking like an idiot in public. I'm pretty sure its been shown to work in other sports so why not this?
- Also small things like I only practice 4D in the same location  and orientation, and when i listen to music I make sure its the same each time, so my brain gets into gear when it hears the songs (Similar techniques are used for memorizing things and studying so I assume it may help here). I also make sure my music is fairly relaxed for 4D, I normally find myself rushing so something slow keeps me in time.

Jordan

MBg4

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Re: How do you learn
« Reply #7 on: December 14, 2015, 11:35:24 pm »


- I think motivation is one of the key things when it comes to learning. Yes you can FORCE yourself do an hr of practice a day, but if you don't WANT to then you'll be real inefficient at learning. I lost motivation learning 3 so stalled in my progress for a long while. I ended up buying new diabolos and that was enough  to motivate me to learn 3.


I'm straggling a bit off topic, but how do you guys find that motivation? I basically haven't learned anything new since like a year ago. Every time I practice, it's like JT said, I have to force myself. (It's not really even practice, it's more like repeating basics so I don't forget how to do them.)

I feel like diabolo has been becoming more and more boring lately. I've not been having fun, ergo resulting in no learning whatsoever. What do you guys recommend me to do?

5p3ak

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Re: How do you learn
« Reply #8 on: December 15, 2015, 12:03:56 am »
I'm straggling a bit off topic, but how do you guys find that motivation? I basically haven't learned anything new since like a year ago. Every time I practice, it's like JT said, I have to force myself. (It's not really even practice, it's more like repeating basics so I don't forget how to do them.)

I feel like diabolo has been becoming more and more boring lately. I've not been having fun, ergo resulting in no learning whatsoever. What do you guys recommend me to do?

shia labeouf
Check out my Youtube channel http://www.youtube.com/user/MaFiaZai

tyson_11

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Re: How do you learn
« Reply #9 on: December 15, 2015, 03:53:33 am »
@MBg4

I feel you. After spending countless hours learning 4 and not doing much else, I lost a lot of motivation. I think there is really only 2 things you can do:

1. Have a break. Just leave it for a while. Get into juggling or something, or just focus on something else you enjoy. I recently had several months off, and now I'm quite motivated to get more creative with 3 and improve with 4.

2. Find new tricks you like, and learn them. Don't just go through the motions of old tricks. Love for diabolo comes from improving and feeling accomplishment when you land something new. Find what it is that made you enjoy diabolo initially.

I hope this helps. I think we all go through this stage at some point, but these are the main things that keep me going and get me motivated, even if it means taking a break for a while.

Richard

  • Thanks: 53
Re: How do you learn
« Reply #10 on: December 15, 2015, 08:17:44 pm »
Pau

"Let's see if I understand what you mean by longer sessions being useful. Do you mean that in longer sessions you build in short sessions of whatever trick or technique you are working on, and then work on something different that may help you (or maybe something completely different) and then have a couple of goes again at in your case low 3d, then switch to another trick, go back to 3d etc? I can see how that might work."

Yes, that's what I mean. However I think there's also a lot to be said for letting yourself follow whatever path your brain wants to take when practicing. If you get the urge to pick up some balls and do some juggling, then that seems to be the right time to do it. I finally realised this after coaching 10-14 year olds in diabolo - they would be in the zone for a while with one trick and then just drop their sticks and pick something else up on a whim. While I think it's good to have some discipline, I think usually the way you feel is the best way to make it fun and also better for practice. I'd always been stubborn/regimented with my practice, even when I wasn't enjoying stuff (hangover from sports drills) and I think that's a really bad approach because, as mentioned before, it's easy to keep practicing the same mistakes and getting frustrated. Also, your memory of the experience can be a negative one which is terrible for motivation to keep up the practice in future.

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SebiHausi

"However i think for some tricks (like 3low) it is not such a good approach to only try 4 or 5 attempts a time, because you need a few tries to warm up and become comfortable with your rythm again. at least that was the case for me. i think for learning 3low (or 4low) the best approach is to do sessions of about 15 - 30 minutes, because it guarantees that you get warmed up and you can also stay focused for that time. anything longer than that may be counta- productive."

I hear you and I think it's UBER important to train while your brain is warmed up and your reflexes are faster/better.  That said, with the method I suggested, doing 3-5 attempts EVERY 1-2 hours or at least as frequently as possible throughout the day, I've noticed that my mind IS always sharp and warmed up. It's almost like I've been practicing for 5-10 mins.

I don't disagree that 30-40 min sessions are great, however they do suck badly when you're REALLY struggling with motivation to keep slogging it out with something like 3 low when you're failing try after try, and I could only imagine how much harder it would be with 4 low. 

The main reason I came up the idea of doing the multiple sessions was purely a motivation-driven one. And so far, I've noticed that my mind is almost always warmed up and my motivation with 3 low is HEAPS higher than it's ever been before. I'm actually excited about trying the 3 low because I know that if it doesn't work for me at the time, it's only a few tries before I can put the sticks down.

Also, In some ways, I think the short session is easier to be focussed. I personally find it's tough to focus REALLY hard for 30 mins. Usually when I practice, I mix up hard stuff with stuff I know so it's not so taxing and it's a more enjoyable experience.

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JT

Awesome comments, thanks for the info :)

"- Also small things like I only practice 4D in the same location  and orientation, and when i listen to music I make sure its the same each time, so my brain gets into gear when it hears the songs (Similar techniques are used for memorizing things and studying so I assume it may help here)."

I love this!

It makes a LOT of sense. I guess in a way, it helps you to REALLY focus on what's going on and not worrying about distractions? Also, maybe with the location and music your mind remembers how it felt when you nailed that trick?

I remember a couple of years ago I was attempting a 2D trick I learned about 14 years ago when I was a 2D beginner and really hating 2D. When I did the trick, a wave of frustration swept through me, even though I was really relaxed. The 'feeling' of being frustrated had been stored in my brain and associated with the physical movement of doing the trick. Freaky.

"I also make sure my music is fairly relaxed for 4D, I normally find myself rushing so something slow keeps me in time."

Totally agree with this. Having a relaxed, focussed mind is extremely important. Meditation has helped me IMMENSELY with learning 3 high. My focus is so much better now. I can remove random thought before making an attempt and really be present.

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MBg4

I think motivation is extremely relevant to this topic. I love the stuff JT and Tyson said - I myself make tutorial videos and I've found they help with my motivation (don't ask me why).

I'd also recommend trying the 3-4 attempts method frequently. How often do you practice? I've found that if it's only once or twice a week, your practice sessions can be hard work cause your mind isn't 'warmed up' and it's hard work when things don't work that smoothly.

If you keep at it and at it, you'll be sharper and tricks will come easier and you'll want to learn new things - so I guess it's a chicken and egg thing right?  That's where doing REALLY small sessions very frequently might help with motivation - they keep your mind warmed up and you can make some progress with a hard trick. Our brains LOVE to be challenged and learn new things, so doing the same old isn't going to last when it comes to motivation - you need to keep challenging yourself.

I think in short, finding inspiration actually takes perspiration/effort. It won't always happen automatically.

MBg4

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Re: How do you learn
« Reply #11 on: December 16, 2015, 04:10:53 am »
Ok, thanks guys.
I think I started losing that motivation around after learning 42's. Or maybe it was when I started having to practice, practice, practice (to the point of no fun) for shows. Now I practice maybe every other day for like 15-20 mins to keep that muscle memory so yea, practice is pretty harsh I guess.
Anyway, at the beginning of that time period, I tried juggling. To this day I'm stuck on getting solid 5 balls runs. Juggling is pretty boring now too.
Currently, I'm alot into yoyo. I don't know if this hobby is taking me away from diabolo, maybe? It's just so easy to create stuff with the yoyo since I have so much ahead of me. I can explore.

I feel like I just need to learn something new that will lead me on a new path. I think I just got stuck or something and I need something to dig me out of this rut like a new trick (like Tyson said). I definitely agree that inspiration is going to take ALOT of effort.
I will try do some frequent, short diabolo sessions this week, thanks again guys.

One last thing, to Tyson. What did your break look like? how much or would you even practice diabolo at all?

Richard

  • Thanks: 53
Re: How do you learn
« Reply #12 on: December 16, 2015, 08:22:50 am »
Just had an idea from something JT mentioned

"(Although with my 4D my first attempt is often the best then its downhill from there)"

I think most people experience a similar thing.

So, the question is, why is the first attempt usually (not always), the best? 

I think it's cause your mind is 'open' and relaxed.  Once you start doing something repeatedly, it's easier to get confused or overthink things.

Not saying you shouldn't analyse things and think, just that it's good to keep your mind fresh and focussed.

Pau

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Re: How do you learn
« Reply #13 on: December 16, 2015, 01:12:57 pm »
Not saying you shouldn't analyse things and think
Oh I think you should. For me thinking and analysing is half of the learning process. I just don't do it when I diabolo. I diabolo, then I think about how I can improve things and then I diabolo some more etc. Thinking is connected to speech. I can't talk and diabolo (or any other activity that requires feel) at the same time.
This may be different for everybody.

Wis

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Re: How do you learn
« Reply #14 on: December 16, 2015, 02:16:22 pm »
I remember the second time I met Dixie, talking to me while he prepared the 4d hover start, and continued speaking with me, while he started the shuffle. That was nuts.
"The string...the inertia...the hours"

Pau

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Re: How do you learn
« Reply #15 on: December 16, 2015, 03:58:46 pm »
Looks like you've got your work cut out Richard :D

Richard

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Re: How do you learn
« Reply #16 on: December 16, 2015, 08:10:09 pm »
Ha ha,

Wis, I've thought a lot about the talking thing and I think that if you can talk easily while doing any trick it's usually a sign that your brain is really comfortable with that trick - sounds like Dixie is all over the 4D start :)

tyson_11

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Re: How do you learn
« Reply #17 on: December 17, 2015, 04:00:02 pm »
Quote
One last thing, to Tyson. What did your break look like? how much or would you even practice diabolo at all?

From memory I would go weeks without touching it, and when I did I would rarely try 4.

Eventually the motivation came back. I think the break was for the best. It allowed me to come back with more motivation and creativity.

Richard

  • Thanks: 53
Re: How do you learn
« Reply #18 on: February 10, 2016, 06:41:39 am »
Just saw this - think it's pretty relevant to juggling/diabolo. Interesting that it takes 6 hours for the brain to save the info for the new skill

http://www.iflscience.com/brain/researchers-uncover-method-learn-new-skills-twice-fast

Arjan

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Re: How do you learn
« Reply #19 on: February 10, 2016, 12:07:53 pm »
Interesting read people, thanks for your posts so far.

One method comes to mind that I would apply often learning something new. That is to up the game. Make the trick one variant harder than the actual one you're learning. This doesn't always easily translate but for some things it can really work. For example, learning a 3 diabolo high start, the 2 hand throws are difficult. Now try it with 3 hand throws to do 4. You'll find going back to just doing 2 by hand and starting 3 have became much easier. Push your limits.