Monday, September 28, 2009

Deliberate Practice

I watched a conference presentation, Deliberate Practice in Software Development, at work last week and thought I would blog the key points that I believe pertain to martial arts (and music) training.

Presentation Summary
In the nature vs. nurture debate, researchers have declared nurture the winner. People who excel are the ones who work the hardest; it takes ten+ years of deliberate practice to become an expert. Deliberate practice is not about putting in hours, it’s about working to improve performance. It does not mean doing what you are good at; it means challenging yourself under the guidance of a teacher.

Deliberate Practice—activity that's explicitly intended to improve performance, that reaches for objectives just beyond one's level of competence, provides feedback on results and involves high levels of repetition.

  1. Feedback needs to be immediate.
  2. Identify the skill to be improved.
  3. A coach is needed to help identify problems and direct the practice.
  4. Regular and intensive practice.
  5. Don't do what is easy. Practice the things that are difficult and challenging.

Greatness isn't reserved for a preordained few but available to everyone, like the pursuit of happiness, while being restricted to those who put in the work year after year.

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