What does putting chunking and proficiency-based goals into an MTB practice session look like?
See two videos of the launch portion of my bunny hop. I'm encouraged.
In October, I wrote about how proficiency-oriented MTB practice might have advantages over time and repetition-based practice.
In September, I wrote about my intent to start experimenting with mental and body rehearsal.
In July, I wrote about the advantages of chunking your way to learning a mountain biking skill.
In the past two weeks, I've started utilizing all three in a practice regimen to improve a portion of my bunny hop motion.
A pulled hamstring
The day after I returned from our month-long camping vacation (4 weeks ago), I met up with some guys from the Minnesota chapter of The Strenuous Life group I joined last spring. Among the activities planned: a 50-yard sprint. I pulled a hamstring on my second attempt. (I should have warmed up. Duh.)
After two weeks, I started riding my bike again, but I overdid it by doing drills on my practice boulder. My hamstring told me it needed more TLC in the form of progressive stretching and strengthening exercises.
So I decided to work on the launch portion of the bunny hop, which includes triggering a high manual. Unfortunately, my practice for leveling out and the landing portion of the bunny hop will have to wait until my hamstring has completely healed.
Mental and body rehearsal
While on vacation, I did 15 mental rehearsal sessions (10 minutes each) for the bunny hop launch. My written narrative guide gradually became more nuanced, growing from 60 words to 175. (No, I’m not going to share it with you because it’s important to roll your own. However, I can share the golf-related one used in the book Sports Psyching: Playing Your Best Game All of the Time as an example: how to hit a 5-iron. Contact me.)
And last week, I did my first body rehearsal session in my basement - no bike.
Chunking the bunny hop launch/high manual with a proficiency-based practice goal
Here’s an edited 2-minute video of my first session from two weeks ago, practicing chunks and then attempting to get two decent high manuals in a row. I used my P3 Pro DJ bike:
Here’s an edited 1-minute video of my second practice session from last week. My proficiency goal was three decent manuals in a row. I used my full-suspension Kona:
Yes, I failed to reach my proficiency goals for both sessions. I think I reached my proficiency goals for both sessions, though I’m conflicted because I do see some flaws in the back-to-back attempts. Regardless, I’m pleased that the percentage of higher-quality attempts improved significantly last week.
My intention for this week
I’m planning another 30-minute practice session later this week to include a set of 10 high manual attempts with each bike. My proficiency goal is three decent attempts in a row for each set. In the days before this session, I plan to do two body rehearsal sessions in my basement, no bike.
I’m eager for your feedback, questions, and comments.
FEEDBACK - Putting chunking and proficiency-based goals into an MTB practice session
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Sharp-eyed readers may have noticed the discrepancy between the original text accompanying the videos (I failed) and the banner text descriptions in the videos (I succeeded).
The discrepancy reflects my indecision about the quality of certain attempts and then my complete failure to reconcile it before publishing. Oops!
Which way would you lean if you had to judge?
I am working to learn a trick called the tire tap 360. I have broken the skill down into two “phases” with further movement break downs within each phase that I need to practice. Now I know the formal name of what the technique is called! I plan on writing each component part down to help visualize what I need to learn.