Want to learn to ride better? You’re only 20 hours away!


I recently watched Josh Kaufman’s TEDx talk “The First 20 Hours – How to Learn Anything” and thought I’d share it as it provides anyone who is determined to improve their riding, but feeling they’re getting nowhere, with a bit of encouragement.

There are a lot of people who will have heard that it takes around 10,000 hours practice to learn a new skill.  Kaufman dispels this myth by explaining where the myth came from.  In 2007 the book “Outliers – the story of success’ by Malcolm Gladwell was published.  Within this book Gladwell cited the seminal work of Professor K. Anders Ericsson which had shown people with expert level skill sets took around 10,000 hours to learn their expert level skills.  Kaufman goes on to describe how this citation then evolved into the belief that it would take 10,000 hours to learn any new skill. Ultimately, he concludes that his own review of literature on the topic suggests you only need 20 hours practice to become competent at a new skill and proceeds to demonstrate his skills on the ukulele after 20 hours worth of practice.

So what does this mean for you and me?  Well what Kaufman suggests is that whether you’re wanting to learn to manual or endo or even superman seat grab, with just 45 minutes practice a day for about a month you’ll be flying like Clark Kent.  There is a big BUT though……Kaufman outlines a few key principles to learning in a month.  Firstly he explains that the skill must be deconstructed into its constituent parts.  As an example, there’s no point in setting a goal of learning to superman seat grab within a month if you can’t jump a bike properly and equally there’s not much point trying to learn to jump a bike if you can’t American bunny hop properly etc.   In other words the goal you set yourself has to be realistic. After this you must make sure you know enough about the skill you want to learn to be able to self-correct, then you need to give yourself dedicated blocks of practice that ultimately tally up to 20 hours of practice.

So there it is.  With April coming up tomorrow the challenge is on.  Set yourself a new skill to learn and see where you’re up to by May.  Let me know how you get on.



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