Updated: Jul 17, 2021
Do you like to train alone or with other people?
There is definitely value in both approaches. Personal practice and group practice both have pros and cons. I believe that the perfect place of balance lies in combining the two in the right proportions.
My teacher, Brian Johnston (@themovementstandard) explains the relationship between the two like this:
Benefits of a personal practice:
Individualisation/specificity: focus on your personal weaknesses or goals
Volume: tailored exactly to your own physical capacity
Focus: if approached with the right mindset (phone away, on your own, to-do lists set aside, taking the time to settle in to your body and space), personal practice involves fewer distractions and allows you to delve deeper into the subtleties and sensations of movement
Progressive Development: the work can gradually shift and develop as you do, evolving over time
Benefits of group practice and community:
Support: when times get hard, other people can help you push through
Inspiration: seeing people who’ve been through the same thing, who have overcome the challenges you’re currently facing
Teaching: nothing consolidates and deepens your own understanding more than trying to teach it to someone else.
Variety/adaptability/unpredictability: working with partners is the best way of varying and changing your movement patterns. No two drills will ever feel the same and you will get a feel for nuance and detail.
Fun and Play: there’s nothing like games and play to get you moving more. A dash of competition or a splash of cooperation will get you well on your way to progressing faster and working harder than you ever would on your own. When you’re in a group, training hard just doesn’t feel so hard!
Cons of a solo practice:
Repetition or boredom: doing the same thing over and over, each session can feel very similar.
Lack of support and help (unless you have a coach)
Easier to give up: no one will notice if you stop.
No one to point out if you’re doing something wrong (again, unless you have a coach)
Lack of purpose: human are social animals and, for most of us, our desire to move is tied up in our social ties. Without confirmation and shared experiences from our peers, we will likely lose interest in our practice.
Cons of a group practice:
May not be adapted to your current skills or general capacity, and might not cover all the drills you need to see progress if you’re not yet there (sometimes you might need to go back to basics)
No professional 1:1 support. The teacher’s focus is divided between all the students so they can’t give you all their attention. More advanced students may be able to help, but support may be limited.
Lack of repetition: although repetition can be boring, some repetition is needed for improvement, depending on how many classes you do per week (and how different these classes are) you may not see any progress. Often “movement enthusiasts” will go to every class possible and work with a dozen different teachers. Not sticking to ONE THING is the surest way to make zero progress. Work smart, not hard!
Lack of evolution: group courses may not suffer from this but open classes have to cater to beginners and students of all abilities. This limits the ability to develop over time. A good coach can provide drills for students of all levels, and some classes may have different level classes, but it will never be quite as specific as a personal practice.
"It's not whether you get knocked down, it's whether you get up." - Vince Lombardi
Tuesday 6th, Floorwork Class @ Localmotion, 7:00pm book here
Wednesday 7th, Climbing Social @ Ravenswall, 6:00pm book here
Thursday 8th, Sensitivity & Awareness @ Hyde Park, 7:00pm book here
Saturday 10th, Move & Play @ Hyde Park, 2:00pm book here book here
1-1 sessions available