We have all been faced with challenges that, at the time, are seemingly impossible. Maybe it’s learning a new language, developing a new skill, or working towards a long term goal.
In the sport of Ninja, there is a never-ending list of difficult obstacles to overcome but one of the best ways to do so is through progressions. Here are 5 reasons why progressions are important for overcoming obstacles, not only in Ninja, but in anything you strive to improve at.
To build a strong structure one must begin with a solid foundation. It is important to learn the fundamentals of something in order to understand it as a whole. We walk before we run, start with training wheels before hopping on a two-wheeler, and learn addition before jumping right into calculus. In all these examples, we learn the most simplified version of a difficult task in order to build upon a solid foundation.
If you’ve ever played a sport or instrument growing up, you’ve probably spent a good amount of time working on your weakness. For instance, if your high school basketball team lets your opponents score 100 points in one game, you may consider defense as a weakness. As a result, you would then spend a decent amount of time in future practices working on your defensive skills. However, knowing your weaknesses and understanding them are two different things. Understanding what your weaknesses are and learning how you can improve them will help you progress much faster.
It is always a good feeling to accomplish a major goal that you’ve been working towards for a long time. It is also easier to measure progress when comparing yourself at the beginning of a goal to the end of that goal, rather than comparing shorter time frames in between. However, if we don’t take the time to work on the small things, it may take significantly longer or we may not even reach the bigger goal at hand. For example, a basketball player’s goal may be to play in the NBA one day. They wouldn’t expect to get drafted to the league after spending only a few hours a day practicing over the course of a ew weeks. What’s more likely is that they’ve spent a good part of their life developing skills like dribbling, shooting, and playing defense, that made them a well-rounded player capable of competing in the NBA. While working on the fundamentals - or ‘small steps’ - isn’t as glamorous as the end goal, they are crucial components for overall success.
In many sports there are certain tasks, plays, or obstacles that can be intimidating to many. In the sport of Ninja, the Salmon Ladder would certainly fall within this category. However, if we are able to build confidence through progressions, the Salmon Ladder will ultimately seem less intimidating. For instance, before attempting the Salmon Ladder, we can work on an obstacle called the Devil’s Pipes. Without even realizing it, we are practicing the same movements we would perform on the Salmon Ladder, but on a seemingly easier obstacle. Once we have confidence in our movements and abilities on the Devil’s Pipes, it will be easier to transfer those to more challenging obstacles like the Salmon Ladder.
Consistency, consistency, consistency. We’ve all heard it before - if you do something over and over again, chances are you will become better than you were when you started. The idea of doing the same thing time and time again can seem daunting at first, but the more consistent you are with something, the more it will begin to feel like second-nature. At that point, we can build upon that initial skill to something more challenging and ultimately accomplish the bigger goal at hand.
To sum it all up, progressions are important in accomplishing our goals in a more efficient and effective way. When we build a foundation and work on our weaknesses, we can gain confidence by being consistent with the small things that lead to the larger picture. We can turn what we’ve practiced into what we can deliver.