I'm a huge hockey fan, but last year I couldn't help but get swept up in the greatness of the Golden State Warriors. Here we are a year later, and the post below still is relevant. This post originally appeared on Medium while I was getting Chasing Sound and the Six String Sunday newsletter together. Check it out, and see how it can apply to your guitar playing!
The NBA Finals are starting tonight in the U.S., and the entire playoffs have been exciting thus far. If you haven’t seen Stephen Curry (of the Golden State Warriors) play, you owe it to yourself to check out his game. He’s been widely regarded as one of the greatest shooters of our time, and of all time.
The real question is…how’d he get so good?
We can apply a lot of his practice concepts to the guitar:
Practice with a metronome
When you’re trying to hit the perfect shot, it’s all about timing. The same thing goes for guitar players. It is so important to practice to a metronome. Not only will this help your inner clock and help you work out riffs, it’ll let you gain speed by inching up the BPMs as your left and right hand get better in sync. There are lots of hardware metronomes out there, but there are also great software versions and online versions for free. You owe it to your playing to play to a metronome!
Here are two great apps I’ve been using:
Have a good practice regimen
Listen, it’s fun to just noodle around on guitar, and a lot of good things can come from improvising. However, it’s important to set aside some time each day to have somewhat of a routine. It doesn’t have to be boring though!
Whenever I watch Curry warming up, he’s always taking different style shots from all over the court, and not just focusing on one single thing.
If you want to practice scales, practice them in a musical setting. Put on a backing track in a key and quality, and run a new scale or riff you want to learn over it. Write down little sections of 15–20 minute intervals of different things you’d like to practice. There are lots of great practice regimens out there. If you’d like to know what I practice every chance I get, tweet me here and I’ll let you know!
Don’t give up!
This is the most important point. Don’t give up! Steph Curry would’ve never been able to make it to the Finals without persistence.
If you’re struggling with a concept, try to attack it a different way, take a quick break, or come back to it another day. Every guitar player started not knowing anything about the instrument, so don’t be intimidated! You CAN get better, you just have to put in the time.
I hope you found this helpful. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me on Twitter. Happy playing!