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[PARTIAL TRANSCRIPT]

Hey, welcome to the MTB Practice Lab. I’m your host, Griff Wigley, Mountain Bike Geezer, and this is a show about learning how to get better at practicing mountain biking skills with a few detours on other stuff I’m trying to get better at.

This is episode 4 in which I go deeper into the Be Good vs Get Better mindset that I introduced towards the end of episode 3. It’s particularly relevant to those times when you either hit a plateau in the development of a skill or even regress.

What you heard at the start was me interviewing my six-year-old granddaughter Kaya a few weeks ago as I wanted to see if she was able to discuss her learning mindset with me and maybe reflect a bit. That segment about her learning to use a hula hoop was from the middle of the interview. And the fact that she pulled that learning moment from memory out of the blue, no prompting from me or her parents, showed that she was grasping the idea of how we’re all bad at stuff when we start out, but that persistent practice pays off.

However, a few minutes later, I reminded her that she had a temper tantrum the night before when she was watching a video on how to draw a LOL doll.

(CONTINUED: Full transcript, discussion, and feedback option on Patreon)

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[Partial Transcript]

[Kitchen sounds, background dance music]

What you’re hearing is me doing the dishes after dinner in our kitchen while listening to a song, Oh Yeah, by the Swiss group, Yellow. The song was part of the soundtrack for the 1986 film Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, one of my all-time favorites. You can also hear me practicing.

[Voice: quick-quick, slow, slow; left-right, left, right; kitchen sounds, background dance music]

If you’ve ever tried to improve your dance skills beyond the klutz stage, you’re probably familiar with some version of the two-step. And instructors often try to get your brain and body synced up with drills that include those word patterns, quick-quick, slow, slow; left-right, left, right. 123-5

Or maybe it’s slow, slow, quick-quick, slow, slow; left, right, left-right, left, right.

Normally I have my Bose headphones on so that my wife Robbie, who’s upstairs in her office, doesn’t have to hear the thumping bass to songs I like. She says the vibrations travel right up the wall.  But yeah, I’ve started learning to dance and my wife is not likely to want to be in the same room with me, never mind make body contact, until I can at least find the beat and demonstrate a bit of rhythm.

[Audio: Background dance music fades]

So hey. Welcome to the MTB Practice Lab. I’m your host, Griff Wigley, Mountain Bike Geezer, and this a show about learning how to get better at practicing mountain biking skills with a few detours on other stuff I’m trying to get better at.

This is episode 3 and it’s primarily about paying attention to the mindset you have when you’ve decided that you want to improve your mountain bike riding skills. And maybe other skills that you suck at but want to get better at like me and my desire to get better at dancing.

Why is mindset is important? “Because the way we think about getting better at something new can change the way we do it.” That’s a quote from Trevor Ragan, the founder of The Learner Lab, which, as I mentioned in Episode 2, is all about “unpacking the science of how to get better at getting better.”  Trevor has a very good overview of this principle of mindset on his website — two videos, a short survey, and a list of resources if you really want to go deeper on it.

Sometimes we operate from two types of fixed mindsets in which we believe that talent is something you’re born with, that you have certain natural abilities or you don’t and that you can’t do much to change that. You either tend to think “I’m bad at that kind of stuff so there’s no point in trying.” Or you tend to think, “I’m good at that kind of stuff so I don’t really need to work too hard at it.”

(CONTINUED: Full transcript, discussion, and feedback option on Patreon)

 

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[Partial Transcript]

Hey. Welcome to the MTB Practice Lab. I’m your host, Griff Wigley, Mountain Bike Geezer, and this is a show about learning how to get better at practicing mountain biking skills. In this second episode, I give you some background on what led me to create the show, including a story about my crash while learning to jump and how that played a role.
Here’s a clip from me riding my mountain bike on a windy day at our local skills park in late October 2019. I was going against the wind, practicing a small gap jump, trying to generate enough speed by properly pumping two rollers on the approach.
[noisy excerpt from Sechler Skills Park]
What you heard me saying out loud was my pre-obstacle relaxation/concentration routine that I’m experimenting with. More about it in an upcoming episode but I include it here because it’s an example of what I’ll have in most episodes – one or more short sound clips from my current life related to whatever the topic of the episode is about.
How did I get to the place where I got interested in the idea that learning how to learn, getting better at practicing, was itself a skill?
In the fall of 2017, I stumbled on The Little Book of Talent: 52 Tips for Improving Your Skills by Daniel Coyle.  He published it in 2012 as a manual/handbook companion to his 2009 bestseller, The Talent Code: Greatness isn’t Born. It’s Grown. Here’s How. (I’ll provide links in the show notes to those books and any others I mention here.)
I realized at the time that this idea of getting better at learning attracted me decades ago when I first read Tim Gallwey’s Inner Game books on tennis, golf, and skiing. 
But better yet, in The Little Book of Talent were dozens of tips not only for the inner game but also for the outer game of whatever sport you were learning, some of it based on recent discoveries about the brain. This was an eye-opener for me.

(CONTINUED: Full transcript, discussion, and feedback option on Patreon)

Show notes:

[Partial Transcript]

Hey. Welcome to the MTB Practice Lab. I’m your host, Griff Wigley, Mountain Bike Geezer, and this is a show about learning how to get better at practicing mountain biking skills. This first episode is an overview of what the podcast is about. The short version?

The show is about mountain bike practicing-related skills and techniques. It’s not about mountain bike riding-related skills and techniques. You might be saying to yourself now, “Uh, sounds like the same thing, man” — so some examples:

You won’t find an episode about how to bunny hop or hold a track stand or jump tabletops or ride drops. You will find episodes about frequency — how often to practice — and duration — how long a practice should be; episodes about the benefits of turning drills into games and exaggerating aspects of a technique; the difference between practicing to learn versus practicing to perform, what strategies to consider when you hit the inevitable plateaus, and lots more.

I’ve come to the realization that mountain bikers who want to improve their riding skills — for sure most recreational riders but even many pros and instructors — don’t really know the best strategies for practicing effectively.

(CONTINUED: Full transcript, discussion, and feedback option on Patreon)

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