Time is a factor that permeates all 5 types of skill. Time is the difference between short term and long term memory. Stamina measures how long you can execute an action. Reflex is a skill that deals with comprehending and reacting to elements in a very small moment of time. And the quicker one can adapt the more effective their adaption skills. Still, the factor of time is very different from the skill of timing.
Timing is easy to understand. In some of the most simple cases, having good timing involves doing an action after a specific period of time has passed. Keeping a steady rhythm involves repeating an action with an equal amount of time in between every action. Perhaps we develop a keen sense of timing and rhythm because there are so many cyclical, timing elements in our natural lives. From our heart beats to days of the week, our brains have been tuned to pick up on time sensitive patterns.
The following are facets or senses of timing skill...
- Internal: The ability to accurately execute on a range of timings using a mental sense of timing. Whether you keep track of time in seconds, beats, or with audio memory, the more accurate you are at keeping time in your head the more internal timing you have.
- External: Having a sense of external timing involves using visual, auditory, or touch sensory inputs to time actions. This mostly involves extrapolating the timing of moving visual elements. Examples include anticipating the collision of two objects moving at a constant speed or anticipating when an object will hit the ground when falling due to gravity.
- Static: The ability to time actions based on a simple, unchanging time period like clapping or tapping to a beat.
- Complex: The ability to subdivide, syncopate, and execute elaborate, irregular, and layered timings.
- Accel/Decel: The ability to execute static or complex timings through a steady increase or decrease of tempo.
- Tracks: The ability to comprehend and execute multiple independent timing elements.
The actual time period, length of time, for any given timing challenge can range from a split second to hours. The longer the period increases the likelihood that people will become bored and lose focus. Instead of making period length another facet of timing skill, I decided against it because of subdivision. To put it simply, the larger the time period the more difficult it becomes to execute a timing based challenge. This is probably due to the limitation of our short term memory. However, our best technique for dealing with large time periods is dividing it equally into smaller periods. This concept is the key to keeping time when playing in an orchestra.
Coming up next, I'll go over how I've used timing skills in cooking and Smash Brothers.