A surprising research result that has implications for your MTB practice
this is fascinating! I've added this to my personal practice routine and will be implementing it in my coaching process immediately, too.
For me, "reflection" has a sort of philosophical connotation.........something I would more easily do over a pint or two. I would tend to be more specific here: depending on what exact skill I was working on, I might consider a "planning" or "briefing/debriefing" moment useful.
It would be very unusual to just go and start riding.........there's usually some amount of thinking involved.
Ordering one's actions and evaluating one's performance, to some degree, is probably a natural part of physical action.........and can always stand to be improved.
If we are going to add an emotional or philosophical element and going to add (or withhold) some kind of reward, we are moving into a vastly more complex arena. Outdoor adventures tend to be self-rewarding (or spontaneously so) -- when we manipulate our own psyches we need to be sure we are pushing the right buttons.
It may also be useful to avoid an all-or-nothing formulation: not worrying about whether or not we are involving Reflection, of some sort, or not.............but just assuming that some kind of cognitive action will help our practice, and our skill........
Maybe exercises, like all these, simply help us to understand (and appreciate) more fully what the heck we are really doing...........
That's a great follow up with lots to think about - thanks Griff.
That's a really interesting paper to take a closer look at. It's a bit of a shame that the pdfs that I could get hold of didn't have any tables (just 'insert table 4 about here' - glad it's not just me that makes those kind of mistakes!) but they try a few different reflection methods. From what I can see practice is more effective than reflection in the very early days but as soon as you gain experience then reflection becomes more effective. But they broke reflection down into 'articulation' (thinking about it) and 'codification' (writing down the next steps'). Codification only seemed to offer benefits with more complex tasks that the subject had some familiarity with and which offered a challenge - both elements that are known for triggering a flow state I should add.
The tasks they use are also mental and not physical - would be interesting to see if the findings tranfser across to physical skills.
Incidentally I used 'ChatPDF' to summarise the paper - first time I've used it and helps to make the paper more readable, but it does miss some of the subtle nuances. Or I did!