If You’re Not Staying Sharp, You’re Becoming Dull

How often do you practice scratching? If you’re being honest with yourself the answer is probably not as often as you’d like. The upsetting part of this, regardless of why you aren’t regularly practicing, is the deterioration of your skills as a result. You work hard to achieve the skill level you desire, so when you find yourself having to overcompensate because you’ve gotten rusty, it’s extremely disempowering.

Practicing Does NOT Have to be Overwhelming

When you practice, consciously or subconsciously, you’re making an effort to improve. The very word practice evokes feelings to take things up a notch. However, the challenges of improving your scratching can be overwhelming if you have a poorly planned scratch practice regimen. Even the best practice regimen can’t always account for the challenges that can come up in your life. So you say to yourself, "I don’t have enough time. I’ll just practice when my schedule becomes free again." Yet anyone who really understands time management will tell you it’s just an excuse.

The truth is even just 10 to 15 minutes can serve you well when approached with the right mindset for scratching. And what’s 10 to 15 minutes really? If you can’t find a way to create 10 to 15 simple minutes of practice time, it’s time to reexamine your life and make some drastic changes.

Thinking of the Consequences is Important

You have to ask yourself what will happen if you continue to slack on practicing. How many weeks, months or years will it cost you if you don’t take control of the situation now? Take a moment and truly think about this. How soon would you like to actually be at the ideal level you desire? For most this would be instantly, but as we all know, mind blowing scratch skills aren’t built overnight. So is it really in your interest to add to the inevitable amount of time it’s already going to take to reach your goals? The obvious answer is, of course not.

Many Focus on Improvement, but Few Concentrate on Maintenance

Do you realize that practicing is not just about getting better? Say you have a car that you want to upgrade. You can get higher grade parts all the time, but if you never change the oil your engine’s performance will be affected drastically for the worse. Now all you’ve got is a shiny, nice looking heap of worthless metal.

Don’t treat your scratching this way! When you gain skills you need to reinforce them. The good news is this does not require tons of time per day to do. It’s really just a simple matter of using what you already know. This can be done by simply scratching over a beat and improvising with the techniques and patterns you’ve gotten under your belt, or are at least working on already.

Use it or Lose it!

Scratching is just like learning a language. If you don’t use what you’re learning, you’ll be hard pressed to recall it in times where you want or absolutely need to use it. So take at least a little time each and EVERY day to do so. Turn your schedule upside down if you have to. Find the time, because if you don’t you know it will only lead to regret and regret is not worth cultivating.

Good Maintenance Actually Leads to Improvement

If you maintain what you know, it stays sharp, often times becoming sharper. Firstly because you’re regularly locking it into your muscle memory, but also because you give yourself a chance to regularly examine what areas of your scratching needs refinement, or even drastic improvement. Ever heard the expression, "Out of sight, out of mind"? So don’t allow your scratching to collect dust, become dull or get rusty. Take my advice and USE it!

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