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House Call: Four-rock rule for positive reinforcement

Learning something new, especially when you’re an adult, is tough. If you’ve chosen to learn how to curl as an adult you may, on occasion, become frustrated. Here is a simple technique you can use to build confidence and increase motivation.

You can use this technique at any time, but to explain; let’s pretend you’re practicing alone. You throw four rocks in a row, each meant to be a left-side corner guard (you may choose to practice whatever shot type you wish). You hog one rock, and make the other three guards perfectly. Give yourself three points. Now throw four hit-and-sticks to the four-foot in a row. You make two out of four shots. Give yourself two points. You now have a total of five points. Yeah you!

What are the points worth? Nothing… and if you mention you’re collecting points in your mind, people may think you’re a little odd. The reasoning behind tracking the points, forever, and ever, and to infinity is not so much about greed and mass accumulation but more about giving yourself frequent reminders that you are making progress. The best part is, your score will never go down because there are no negative scores. If you make zero shots out of eight you are still at zero. But if you make two out of 16 shots, your score is a two. There’s something positive about those two points. They make a person want to stand a little straighter, walk a little taller.

You can even track yourself during a game. Simply keep track in your head; every four shots give yourself a score of anything from zero to four out of four. This way, even if you’re having a lousy game, and your team is losing you still get a little positive feedback by tracking your shot making like this.

There is no need to be meticulous or obsessive about keeping track of your ongoing score. I can’t imagine myself wanting to keep counting to upwards of a million… Personally, I’d mentally reset every 100 points or so but, and this is the beauty of this little technique, you can do whatever you wish.

It’s all about bending this technique to suit you so you’re receiving positive reinforcement even when times are tough and you’re still learning. This technique celebrates the small steps. The small steps are incredibly important because they eventually add up to bigger, better…

Whatever you can imagine…

(Photo CCA/Michael Burns)