Have you ever been told that the way you’ve been doing something for years is actually the wrong way? And have you ever tried to correct that and run into the overwhelming power of muscle memory? Then you’ve experienced the flaw with the oft-cited phrase “practice makes perfect”. Research has shown again and again that it’s just not true. But it’s close. Instead, the more accurate phrase is “perfect practice makes perfect.” So how do we get our trainees to practice perfectly, especially when they are first learning?
The scale problem
Obviously we can’t stand over every trainee’s shoulder and make sure they’re doing it correctly. - we just don’t have enough time. However, we can use technology to help. Trainees can record themselves practicing the skill. Having a quick video allows trainers to more quickly assess and guide their trainees.
Training cues are simple directions that subtly adjust a trainee’s form or mechanics. They sound like “push the floor away from you,” “imagine there’s a glass of water on your head”, or “swing through the ball instead of trying to hit it.” These come from great coaching and experience, but they can be invaluable to developing the perfect in perfect practice.
Getting trainees to see their own performance is crucial to developing perfect practice. We’re all limited by our own perception, so getting a trainee to see what they’re doing from a different perspective can reinforce the adjustments they need to make to get to perfect practice. Self-assessment also improves learning and retention, so it makes your lessons more likely to stick.
When you’re looking for a training module or platform, look for those three things. Your trainings will stick better, your employees will be more skilled, and you’ll get more out of your budgets.