The 10 percenter's ....
I have long been interested in identifying those things that we do (by design or by accident) that makes us get better. In my experience, most of us do not improve in a steady, gradual way - but rather, we coast along for a while, then suddenly make a jump in our performance. (A part of good coaching strategy should address how we motivate students whilst they are 'coasting' - they rarely need motivation whilst they are 'skyrocketing'.)
One of the ways to 'kick off' a significant improvement is to work on (say for one month) something that we are reasonable good at. Really study the move/technique with greater than ussual scrutiny - we already have a foundation in the move/technique, so we can really start 'looking' at how the opponent reacts to it and we can start to find ways to capitalize on his reactions (this is the basis of building combinations). By adding to, or building and improving on those things we are already good at, we can often affect a 'jump' in performance.
Most people tend to look for the 'secret' to success in any given move (relationship, business, ect) One of the things we discover if we open our eyes to smart learning is that there is no ONE SECRET. The reality is that there are a bunch little secrets - to anything - I call these the '10 percenters'. It's ten little things that give us an amazingly effective hooking sweep - not one thing. Ten little things that give us a good relationship with our wife - not one little thing. It's the acumulation of these ten percenters that gives rise to phenomenal jumps in performance.
Think about it - it can't be any one big thing that makes one persons ability to execute a technique better than everyone else's - if it were one big (OBVIOUS) thing - then everyone would be doing it. Therefore, it must be something subtle - or more likely , several subtleties that sets one persons perfomance apart from everyone else's.
Back to 'theme-based training: pick a topic - say, using our hooks (butterfly guard) for instance. Use them for a month, keep working them, despite any failures you may experience - ten classes or so will give you insight into some of these ten-percenters that really count when using the hooks. Even people who dislike using their hooks wil start to enjoy using them - but those people who already have a reasonable understanding of the use of hooks, may well experience a big jump in their understanding/performance.
I hope this helps some of you.