Bruce Lee’s 10,000 kicks and How It Can Help You

Bruce Lee’s 10,000 kicks and How It Can Help You

Bruce once said “I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.”

It’s a wonderful quote and can be adapted to any sport.

For squash, 10,000 is not that many shots. A solid solo session should have around 2,000 shots, so a Monday to Friday daily session has 10,000 already.

Let’s increase 10,000 to 100,000 shots and pose a question.

Which is better?
20 sessions of 5,000 shots
50 sessions of 2,000 shots
100 sessions of 1,000 shots
or 200 sessions of 500 shots

Before we try to analyze that question, let me ask you another.

Have you heard of the phrase “10,000 hours of practice makes you a master”? If not, Malcolm Gladwell, in his book Outliers, says that it takes roughly ten thousand hours of practice to achieve mastery in a field. A quick web search will reveal plenty of interesting links, including a BBC video.

Now, if you practiced for 1 hour per day for 10,000 days that is 27 years, 5 months, 3 weeks and 4 days.

Getting a bit silly now.

What I am trying to highlight is that the total number of hours is perhaps not the most important thing. It’s the combination of practice sessions and time per session.

But there is one more point to consider and that is the time between each practice session.

If you leave too much time between each session the benefit of that session starts to fade. There is no scientific research here but experience tells me that, within reason, the more often you do something the better.

A thrice weekly session of 30 minutes would be better than a weekly session of 90 minutes. I am sure you can imagine that concept in whatever field of learning you wish to apply it to.

So that leaves us with this: number of training sessions, the time of the sessions and the time between those sessions are all important.

Let’s go back to my original question.

Even though I haven’t performed any scientific tests, I believe that the best option is 100 sessions of 1,000 shots with a minimum of 2 sessions per week. 1,000 shots will take most club player 25 minutes. Twice a week should fit most club players schedules, but three would be better. If necessary book a 40-minute court and you and your training partner use half the time each.

At the end of approximately one year you would have hit 100,000 shots in practice.

Assuming you have done the practice properly, can you imagine how much better you would be? Well, don’t just imagine it, start a plan today.

Pressure Yourself When Doing Solo Practice

I am a HUGE fan of solo practice. Not enough squash players do it and I believe that is partly because they don’t know what, how or why to practice.

As a coach, that’s part of my job to clarify those points to my students.

For this article though, I want to assume that you regularly hit the ball on your own as part of your training.

When we play matches we feel pressure. Pressure to win points. We get a little nervous in various situations, especially after a long rally when faced with an opportunity to win the point.

Ideally, our training should prepare us for what we will face in real matches.

The next time you go on court, I want you to have prepared a routine that contains five or six different hitting routines, each with a set number of shots.

For example, 30 forehand drives whose first bounce lands in the service box, 30 forehand volleys with one foot in the service box at all times, 30 forehand volleys with you standing about one racket length away from the frontwall, forehand/backhand volleys in the middle of the frontwall, move to the backhand side doing the reverse of the forehand routine.

Phew, that’s 7 exercises.

Now do then without a mistake in any.

If you make a mistake in any of the exercises, go back to the complete beginning.

If 30 is too many, start with 10.

Do it until the time finishes or you have completed it.

I guarantee that when you are close to finish you WILL feel the pressure, especially if the ball is close to the sidewall.

It’s a GREAT way to partially rec-create the same pressure you feel in a match and the feeling of doing the routine is so exciting.

It makes you want to do more routines like that.

Try it and tell me what happens.