DR. My Brain Hurts!
are always asking. "how long should it take me to learn XXX". Or the
classic, "When do I take off the training gear?". The answer to
both questions is YES. Sorry but everyone learns at a different
pace and there are no hard answers to how fast someone is going to
learn something that involves hand-eye coordination. Have you
ever noticed that some kids pick things up faster than others? That's
right, how fast you can learn something and how well you can learn it
are things that are primarily genetic. That is not to say that how far
you go is not up to you. There are many factors in learning hand-eye
coordination type skills.
people are predisposed to be able to do hand-eye coordinated activities
no matter what they try. Given a set age, some
people are just going to be better at things than other people.
rank this as #2 because it is something you CAN do something about
(that is to start early, no I have not found the fountain of youth).
it's true "you can't teach an old dog new tricks". Well, not exactly.
You can teach one, but it's going to take more time. Maybe so
much time that you can't spend it. Or So much time that the little 18
year old can spend a mere fraction of that time and still get better
than you. Why is that? Well, neurologists have studied
sports and found that the older you get (you guessed it) the harder it
is to learn things. Especially sports and RC helicopters and planes
fall in that category of hand-eye coordination and the ability to
visualize time and space and blend it all together. Depending on
the sport or activity, a person can peak in their ability to learn a
skill at an age as early as 12-16. During that time, how much they have
to spend on an activity to get good at it or to learn it is much
reduced than your average 20 year old. The older you get, the
harder it gets. That does not mean you CAN'T learn something. But
it most likely means that if you are starting to learn RC Helicopters
or RC Airplanes, your not going to be as good as if you started in your
teens and spent the exact same amount of time at it. Now, when I
say "GOOD", I'm talking about precision and speed. That does NOT
mean your not going to have fun at it. There are many cases of kids
being sport phenoms in their teens, only to be burned out then quit and
never come back. That's the maturity factor and the enjoyment
factor. So, the older you get, the more time you are going to have to
spend on the skill to learn it. How much time? Well, there are
other factors, but just realize that when you see the
loud mouth 20 year old kid learning to fly inverted in 3 weeks, don't
feel inadequate. It's not your fault. I have no data to site on this
but am on the look out, but I"d say that for every 10-15 years you age,
it takes you twice as long to learn something. That is to say that at
age 45, It's taking me twice as long to learn something as when I was
35. Just look up Justin Jee (Chi). At age 4 he was doing stuff I don't
think I'll ever learn.
right, do you want to learn faster? Well, stay healthy. Eating right,
sleeping, etc. all factor into learning. Those things Do affect
your brain cells and how those neural pathways bond and strengthen over
time. Have you ever been in a FUNK and you don't feel like you
can do something then end up messing something up? or maybe you were
working on a project and at 2am you started to make mistakes because
you are sleepy/tired/cranky?
determination is HUGE. Not quitting is a big part of learning
anything new. Especially something that does not come naturally. At one
point, I almost gave up trying to learn something, then decided to
start it up and not quit. Well, it worked. I kept at it and got
not talking about doing something for 6 hours straight here.
Studies have shown with things like sport skills that repitition is
key. But not necessarily all at once. That can cause mental
fatigue and breakdown. If you find learning a new skill has
bogged down, take a break and come back to it later. This is why
in many youth sports, coaches will break things down to short 10 minute
drills and keep comming back to them every practice. But the good
coaches won't have 2 hours of one skill to work on. That's counter
productive. For myself, I find that the older I get, the more small
sessions of skill learning (sim time) works best. If I want to
work on something suitable for the sim, I'll work for about 5 minutes
at a time and come back to it no sooner than an hour later. When
I come back, it will be easier than when I set the Sim Tx down (on
not going to learn anything w/o pushing yourself. Get on the edge
(hopefully on the sim right?) of your abilities and don't be afraid to
go over the edge some. If your not crashing, your not learning.
goes along with Determination. But you can be determined to do
something you don't enjoy. Try to enjoy yourself as your doing
it. Don't be discouraged if you crash learning something
new. But be prepared to crash if you are pushing yourself.
Personally, I"m more upset when I crash because of something basic
(forgot to hit idle-up is my favorite) than if I crash cause i'm
pushing myself ("well I tried didn't I?").
cold hard cash has an affect on learning. Do you have $$ spent on
simulator, spare parts, a good flying helicopter. Yup, you can
buy your way to flying better. You also can buy your way to
danger. Bigger helis fly better, fly more stable and fall out of
the sky slower, but they can also cause more injury and property damage
so be responsible here. Someone who has less $$ to spend on
repairs may find that they are more timid (not pushing themselves) or
can't spend the time on it cause they constantly have repairs to save
up for. If you can afford it, remove repairs from the equation by
paying for it when it happens and accept it. For the 95% of us that
have to worry about $$, well, it's just a factor of life.
Want some more reading? Try to Google : Why Michael Jordan Couldn't Hit