Practice smart, but the hard way

What drummers can learn from brazilian soccer players

What comes to your mind, when you think of outstanding performances? Is it the picture of a young man, who went on to change the world with his ideas and some really expensive electric cars? How about an author, who wrote the story of a teenage magician with glasses and sold more books than anyone ever before? Or maybe a legendary basketball player that starred in a movie with Bugs Bunny?

No matter which success story pops up in our heads, they all share one core element: A person or group accomplishing outstanding things. It seems like some of us are able to achieve mastery in a certain field, whilst others die trying. But what separates those who perform on the highest level from the rest and what can we learn from them to become better musicians?

The (unsecretive) secret to success

We love music. To us, music is the most beautiful artform on this planet. It lets us fall in love, makes us wanna dance and can even move us to tears. But as a performer, music can also be very competitive. If you want to make a living out of your passion, you have to outclass your competition. Not the easiest task, considering there are many fellow drummers who seem to frequently murder their bass drum with their dominant foot technique.

And then there is another obstacle calmly blocking our path to glory. One little word that seems to make the difference between good and great. It’s called talent. How can we succeed when others are simply more gifted than us? Ever since this little wig-lover from Salzburg showed everyone what it means to be talented, it is pretty obvious that there is a gap, right?

In his book “Talent Is Overrated” Geoff Colvin states that there is one factor, separating the world-class performers from everybody else - and it’s not talent. He writes about the misconception that Mozart, Tiger Woods or the Williams sisters could outshine their competition due to the high amount of talent running through their veins. According to his studies, the main factor to achieve mastery in any given field is called “Deliberate Practice” or “Deep Practice”.

The deep impact of Deep Practice

The term deliberate practice might not be new for you since it is pretty common within the field of music. It is a certain way of practicing which is purposeful and systematic. Instead of simply practicing along you are experiencing. Which means as a musician you must be:

  • fully involved,
  • always in the discomfort zone,
  • working on specific goals,
  • chunking up your tasks,
  • consistently learning from feedback and
  • using mental representations.


Furthermore you are always getting expert coaching throughout your practice time. Daniel Coyle adds in his book “The Talent Code” that deep practice can be based on 3 things: repetition, making mistakes and fixing them. Sounds easy, right? What separates the best from the rest is not their practicing time, it’s what they do during this time.

Practice Smart - from Futsal to World Cup

Every drummer knows the fulfilling pain of sitting behind the drum kit for countless hours and trying to perfect his game. And every drummer knows the struggle, when you reach a plateau and don’t know how to push through. It can be frustrating to put in the work, but not get the desired outcome. What if we tell you, there is a way of overcoming those frustrations. But therefor we have to leave our well-known and cozy safe haven called music and look over to a new field - sports.

In his book “The Talent Code” Daniel Coyle writes about the strong impact of changes in the regular practice routine. If you increase the level of difficulty within a certain part of your workout and combine it with the rules of deliberate practice, your learning curve will accelerate much faster, because your body and brain have to adapt. But let the Brazilians show you how it works.

Between 1958 and 2002 the Brazilian soccer team has managed to win 5 World Cup titles out of the 11 tournaments they participated in. A number unmatched by any other team in the world. They were playful, dominant and magical on the field. But how did they do it? How were they able to regularly outplay their opponents? One huge factor that gave them the edge over their rivals was a little game called Futsal.

Futsal is a different kind of soccer where there are fewer players on each team, smaller goals and the ball also being a bit smaller and heavier than normal. Every Brazilian player was also a Futsal player in his youth. Which meant, they had to adapt to less space on the field, a more technical kind of game and more required accuracy. This helped them to become the most advanced players in the world for a very long time.

But this method is something we can see regularly in sports:

  • Sprinters run with a little parachute attached
  • Cyclists practice on high ground
  • Tennis players have to run with a rubber band between their legs
  • Football players have to push a weighted sledge
  • Bodybuilders increase their workout weights

Practice Smart with the Workout Stick

Why not learn from our comrades in sports? Instead of just practicing, try to get into deliberate practice every time you are sitting at your drum kit. Furthermore break out of those plateaus by adding more difficulty into your regular practice routine. How? Our Workout Stick helps you to increase hand speed and control by adapting the weight of your drumsticks. Incorporate them into your warm-up and you will feel a difference right from the beginning.

We are all trying to become the best version of ourselves. There is no shortcut to success and everyone, from beginner to world-class performer, has to put in the hours and the energy to achieve certain goals. But we would love to support you along your journey and if you want to learn faster and more efficiently, have a look at our practicing tools.

All the best,
your Drum Nerds-Team