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Deliberate Practice: 2018 TKD Training Goals

I know that I may be a bit late to the 2018 goal setting… but better late than never, right!

In all seriousness, after competing in the 2018 Arizona State Taekwondo Championships at the end of March and re-experiencing the thrill of competition, I decided that tweak my training routine in an effort to model deliberate practice for my students… and well to simply get better at poomsae. If you’re wondering what deliberate practice is, let me offer a brief review.

Deliberate practice is basically a type of purposeful and systematic practice/training. It is not mindless repetitions or practice but focused training with the goal to improve a particular skill. Another related psychology term is “Growth Mindset,” which is the theory developed by Carol Dweck that defines two types of mindsets:

  1. Fixed Mindset: Is a belief that you are either born with talent or your not. Born with intelligence or not. People with fixed mindsets often see failure as a blow to their ego and as a result avoid trying new things in order to maintain the belief that they are “good.”
  2. Growth Mindset: On the other hand, growth mindset is a belief that one can work, train hard to achieve mastery or even get smarter! Mistakes, failures, etc are often experienced as opportunities to grow and improve. Thus, new experiences are sought after because that is the path to excellence.

Ok, so enough about psychology… and back to TKD training. My 2018 TKD goals are simple and straight forward. Let me start out by saying that my overarching goal is to compete at Nationals in 2019 in men’s 31-40 Poomsae Division. To be clear, my goal is to simply qualify for nationals, not to win gold at national. Baby steps right?!

So here are my 2018 TKD training goals that I settled on after reviewing my video from my 2018 AZ State Championships:

  1. Improve Flexibility: Although I consider myself already pretty flexible, I think my poomsae performance can be more spectacular with higher kicks, specifically side kicks, which tend to be more difficult for me. I am focusing strength training on my legs, specifically the adductor muscles (adductor flies) and isometric exercises (front and side isometric splits) to help achieve this goal.
  2. Improve Balance: I tend to lose my balance during my higher side kicks as seen on my video, so it makes sense to focus on improving my balance so that the overall poomsae performance is stronger.
  3. Improve Timing: This is probably the most important factor that will require deliberate practice. The timing and rhythm of poomsae is one of the most important factors judges are looking for and it is something I can improve with deliberate practice. See this youtube interview by Master Ashly R Davis of Iron Wood Productions of Grandmaster Raymond Hsu for insider tips for beginner poomsae athletes where he speaks to this topic.

So now that we have reviewed growth mindset, deliberate practice and my 2018 goals, here is the training plan I created. Feel free to download and use for yourself. I plan to post regular photos of my training progress on the new  #Taekwondo_Wellness Instagram account. Lastly, if you want to learn more about growth mindset, take a look at this 2-part blog written by my colleagues at Intuition Wellness Center.

  • TKD Periodization Plan 2018: This is the overall plan for the entire year. More about periodization in a future blog post.
  • TKD Strength Training Log: This is the strength training log. I decided to do strength training twice per week and rest on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays.
  • TKD Technical Training Log: This is the technical training log where the focus is on improving specific skills in poomsae by drilling my weak areas.

Question: What are your TKD training goals for 2018… and more importantly, what is your plan to achieve them?

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Written by Dr. Yoendry Torres, Psychologist & 4th Dan Taekwondo