When I talked to "the Galluccinator" a couple weeks ago, he told me about how to improve by sharing what he did to achieve the rank of 1 dan within a year. I spent a lot of time thinking about these and was thinking about putting these in the other post about him but decided against it because it seems very important, like its own section.
If you haven't seen the Go Profile on InSente, you can find it here. He's really a wondeful person to talk to and very inspiring so definitely check out his YouTube channel and Twitch stream.
He shared many tips with me but I found three to be key:
Have a rigid training schedule. This is a set of things that needs to be done every single day, without exception. For him, this meant two games a day and number of life and death problems. I love this because it reminds me very much of tennis. My coach would emphasize that we practice the motion of our forehand and backhand everyday, even when we were home, every night before bed to do our footwork drills. "Eventually you'll get it right, it's just a matter of time." While this isn't something that applies very well to Go, it is quite nice in that it very clearly reminds me that you can't improve by standing still. Go is a game that requires skills that require themselves to be honed every single day, without mistake.
Keep part of your training regimen flexible. While this seems to conflict with part of Key #1, this is actually one of the more important parts, in my opinion. This means that some days one should study shape and other days study attack or defense, etc. This lines up quite well with tennis also. My coach used to tell us about "court strategy." This isn't actually something I could find online about tennis but it was a very real thing on the courts. Essentially, we did focused drills on how we approached the game and not just on how we played it. This including our mentality, our judgement, and our focus. This translates over to Go in a very real and direct way. A lot of times, I have talked to people that play Go and they tell me that the most important part of the way that we play is accuracy. The joseki should be 100% right and we should never miss a tesuji if it works or Life and Death is the make-or-break of the game. I disagree on a huge scale and I think many players, after thinking about it a bit, would also. I'll be doing as separate post on this point later but I believe that there is a lot that needs to be trained off the board as well as on.
Set a proper goal. Simply telling myself that I need to get better at Go will not get me anywhere. I tell myself that I need to achieve "__" rank by next month or I have to make up for it somehow. In school, I learned about this thing called a SMART goal which I found very interesting. I'll be doing a post on this as well later on but essentially what it stands for is "Specific, Measurable, Agreed-upon, Realistic, Time-Based" goals. All of these conditions need to be met of the goal to be achieved at some point. This is one of the most important points, I believe.
Of course, I'm in no position to be telling people what the best way to improve at Go is haha. However, I have personally found this method useful in Chess. Although I didn't know it at the time, I had been using a method quite like this one. Last year, as I learned about Chess, I accelerated quite quickly through the ratings and am at about 1900 right now. This method may not work for everyone but it sure did for me :)
Let me know what you guys think in the comments! Feel free to contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or find me at Twitter @alireyns. See y'all around :D