I do skipping at the gym. It looks like this.
But i want do be epic at skipping and make the rope go round twice.
These are called “Double Unders”. So called because although you jump up once, the rope travels around TWICE. Hence Double Under.
These are very hard to do indeed. They are much more tiring than “singles”, and as you get tired in skipping, your rhythm goes off and eventually you stumble with the rope and the skipping stops.
At the gym I go to there are classes with a prescribed workout that everybody does. If skipping comes up it is always prescribed as double-unders, and there is always practice at doing double unders. If you can’t do them, you do normal “singles”. If it is NOT in the workout, then you don’t do them. So they are there or not there, intermittently. And if they are there, you’re trying to do them, but not in a consistent learning curve. In my case, not doing them at all.
So when they come up, it is very much…
I have been trying to do them for 2 years, without success.
Until I realised that I had merely been trying to do them, but I hadn’t been learning how to do them. There’s a difference.
Then one day the coach said this….
“If you want to learn double unders, it won’t work just hoping they’ll come, instead practice for 10 minutes a day. Then they will come”
So I did, I stayed behind for exactly 10 minutes a day after class. And then i saw this thing called “the five questions”, and then I had an idea, and I carried out the idea and here is a blog post all about it….
This is something called “the coaching Kata” from Toyota,
It comes from this man here, and this is what it is all about…
“Kata are small, structured practice routines or protocols. Through physical practice their pattern becomes second nature, done with little conscious attention. Kata are typically for learning fundamentals to build on. The goal is not the Kata themselves, which get used less as you grow more proficient, but the habits of thinking and acting that practicing them leaves behind.
An example is practicing to drive a car. Once you can drive you don’t think much anymore about the routines of how to use the car’s controls. You can now focus your attention on navigating the road and handle the controls automatically.” [link]
So those questions up top, they are a structured step by step practice routine to be followed explicitly and literally, until the practice of them is internalised. .
“They are stepping stones for anyone who wants to acquire new ways of thinking and acting. Kata make skill and mindset transferrable, which is particularly useful for developing an organizational culture. Practicing the routines of the Improvement Kata gives us a way to develop scientific thinking and acting.
Once you and your team develop the fundamental, scientific skill that practicing the Improvement Kata teaches, you’ll be able to develop your own style and apply it in the pursuit of many goals and challenges.”
Now I’m not a one for using foreign words in the workplace, it alienates and makes simple daily management tasks into something weird and esoteric, but “kata” has no obvious English equivalent. So kata it is.
I did the coaching kata to learn myself how to skip double-unders, and this is how it went. Yoda stands in for the imaginary coach that I dont have who is asking the questions, and I’m me….
And this is what happened, over time…
I’ve added the median in (3) and if we apply correct rules for checking for trends, then has there been a sign of an increase?
There’s only 7 data points, so this is possibly too few if this were a normal process being monitored. If it were, and i wanted to test my theory that i had improved due to doing the penguin jump then i would need to see a run of a certain number of data points.
However this is NOT a normal process being monitored. This is a record of skill acquisition that I know accumulates gradually, rather than jumps suddenly from one state to another. So i would expect to see a gradual linear increase like in the graph. So given i would expect it, and there it is, this is a match between my prediction and the outcome. Result!
Not only that, but on the last data point 25th April I did a whole workout unscaled doing double unders! Which was the actual purpose behind the target condition of repeated sets of 10.
This is a VERY DUMBED DOWN VERSION INDEED of this “coaching kata”. There is so much left unexplained, cos i couldn’t be bothered to type it, or cos i don’t understand it yet.
Despite the name don’t think of this as “coaching”. All soft skillz and middle management away days. Instead think of it as how to THINK systemsy wise. The keen eyed reader will have spotted PDSA in here. Check Plan Do. Any version you want, the Kolb learning cycle. What it is, regardless of how you name it, is a method of training yourself to think methodically. About making explicit your assumptions, about recognising and dealing usefully with where your knowledge of a situation ends and where ignorance, in its true sense, begins.