The first rule should be "Always practice with a purpose." Most anglers practice very little and without a plan. A purpose forces you to:
1. Define a task or a problem
2. Develop an outline of how to deal with the issue. Which may be structured, I.E. use an instructor or unstructured, internet, videos etc.
How to overcome a task that consumes all practice time? First, determine WHY the task is consuming all the practice time. Often times we tend to “practice” mistakes. Get a qualified observer. They can save you a lot of pick and shovel work.
Practice on a regular basis — 15 to 30 min. daily will keep you from getting rusty. Always practice the things you do well in addition to working on the problems. I always start a practice session myself or with my student with a task that has been mastered, it gives you jump start.
Distractions and interruptions can be kept to a minimum by training on a large field away from everyone. I have the luxury of access to a athletic field in the day time and at night ,a local neighborhood school has a synthetic play ground with security lights that illuminate a flyline giving a great silhouette on a black sky background. For a lay out I use a traffic cone with a yellow 50 ft. poly rope marked at the precise distances corresponding to each task. Now all I have to do is stand on the spot marked with electrical shrink wrap for each task and cast. Roll it up afterwards and you have a portable layout.
The best way to promote interaction and feedback is to have a casting partner. I’m lucky. I cast with a master who lives 2 blocks away. In addition, I go to conclaves and pick the brains of other casters. I have picked up a number of pearls casting with the guys at the end of the day after the courses have adjourned and the official activities have ended at many of the conclaves.
Teaching tasks implies you can preform the task. Work with as many people as you can on the task. Everyone has a little different slant on how to do them and what is acceptable. By attrition, the “light”will come on and you will be in a position to proceed with teaching the task to students that often require you to be creative in order to get the idea across. This can only be achieved by experiencing the teaching techniques of many teachers.
Tom Dempsey CCI Gulf Coast Fly Fishing School , Mobile Al.