I picked up an expression from listening to the Sons of Kryos episode 59: hitting the heavy bag. It's the concept that game masters need to engage in some training to ensure that they are honing their skills. A GM should be offering good games and good entertainment for the players, and the SoK guys launched a thread on this. Read the thread sometime to get lots of opinions on it.
Since the thread was launched (and now fizzled, as do all forum threads), I've encountered another element of good GM training that I want to add. For me, hitting the heavy bag in the next couple of months will include mastering Don't Rest Your Head or Grey Ranks. After playing them at Gencon, I've come to the conclusion that these two games are the right challenge for me to improve my skills as a GM. I see that either of them gives me the opportunity to understand and practice collaborative scene framing which is centred around the goals of specific characters while still facilitating a story about that group of characters.
How about you? What do you do to hit the heavy bag? What books do you read, films do you watch, techniques that you test? Or, do you even try to become a better player/GM - maybe you're happy with the way you play now. Drop me a comment.