How do you master Deliberate Practice?

Dec 21, 2011   //   by admin   //   Strength & Conditioning, Training  //  No Comments

“Deliberate practice” is a phrase that’s been bandied about a lot recently.  The concept that its not about talent but the work you do is a very appealing one, especially if you think you lack natural talent!

Whether you believe in the concepts of the 10,000 hour rule, etc., its easy to fall into the trap of assuming that deliberate practice is the same as listening to your coach and trying hard.

My recent attempts to work on different swimming strokes and master the Olympic lifts in the gym have demonstrated something different – its about breaking the activity into steps that are hard but eventually achievable – the art of deliberate practice is about initially failing, then repeating the act until you succeed, then practice that act until it becomes second nature.  Daniel Coyle’s book
The Talent Code: Greatness isn’t born. It’s grown has an excellent description of the process, and its actually in the Amazon preview so you don’t need to buy it. Clarissa the clarinet player breaks down her work into chunks and is able to analyse each note – striving for perfection and repeating it until she gets there.

This effort comes at a cost – the practice is tiring, both mentally and physically.  Holding that effort is hard, so most people don’t do it.  I’m hoping that by striving for perfection in practice and being prepared to work incredibly hard on the process not the outcome, it’ll pay off with PBs in the summer, when it counts.

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