It actually took me quite a while into my handstand journey to understand the difference between them.
I’m not saying one is better than the other.
I’m saying that you can probably benefit from understand the difference and that your goal should set your intention.
When I first wanted to learn Handstand my logic was probably something like ”Okay, so I just put my hands on the floor, swing my legs up and let’s see what happens” and that’s exactly what I did. Again and again and again. Sure, it got a bit better from time to time, but most of my ”training” time I spent falling down or doing unsuccessful kicks. Not a very effective way to learn.
Because that is what Testing means. Trying to do something you are not sure you can do. In a handstand that usually means you are just trusting in chance and if you are lucky you might succeed but the success rate is usually quite low.
Practicing on the other hand means that you have a plan. You choose a drill that you can handle, which for handstands mean that it will let you accumulate more time on your hands without falling. With consistency over time this will get you better and allow you to choose a more advanced drill to practice. The success rate is usually considerably higher.
When I realized this I started to spend a lot more time Practicing rather than Testing. Because if you, like me, want to improve your handstand you should consider to put more time practicing. This is something I still have to remind myself of from time to time. It’s so easy to get lost in the ”I’m just gonna try this one more time” and all of a sudden 45 minutes have past and you didn’t get any practice time in. Still I believe that this playful testing is a important part. This is the part where we can explore. Try new things. Play with the tools we got. Do something we are not yet ready for just for the sake of it. Now I have learned to prioritize the practice and do the testing afterwards. Some days, when I don’t have a feeling for practice I can also just spend a whole session playing and testing.
So to conclude;
If you want to improve – Spend more time practicing and you will reach your goal
If you want to have fun – Do whatever you find joy in and you will reach your goal
PS. In this text I used Handstand as an example because that is what I mostly can relate to, but this is probably transferable to a lot of other disciplines as well.
As always, thank for reading this. Hopefully you could find some benefit from it and if you have a friend that you think should read this, be a good friend and send it 🙂