Tagged: deliberate practice


If you lose the spirit of repetition, your practice will become quite difficult.

Repetition is necessary for deliberate practice. Repetition leads to memory and automation, and automation conserves willpower and frees attention for other things. Thus, an experienced player can focus on the opponent, not technique.

If you lose the spirit of repetition, your practice will become quite difficult.



Roy F. Baumeister and John Tierney. 2011. Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Strength. Penguin

Geoff Colvin. 2008-10-21. Why Talent is Overrated. CNN Money

Atul Gawande. 2009. The Checklist Manifesto. Metropolitan Books

Shunryu Suzuki. 1970. Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind. Wheatherhill

Gary Wolf. 2008-04-21. Want to Remember Everything You’ll Every Learn? Surrender to This Algorithm. Wired




Most learners hit the “OK Plateau”, a point beyond which they do not improve. The best learners circumvent this through “deliberate practice”,  a way of practice articulated by the leading researcher on expertise, Anders Ericsson. Here is what it consists of, in the (paraphrased) words of the chief (and quasi-official) popularizer of Ericsson’s work, Geoff Colvin:

  1. It’s designed specifically to improve performance.
  2. It can be repeated a lot.
  3. Feedback on results is continuously available.
  4. It’s highly demanding mentally.
  5. It’s hard.
  6. It requires goals.
  7. It requires self-regulation.
  8. After the work [it requires] self-evaluation.


Further reading:

Geoff Colvin. 2008-10-21. Why Talent is Overrated. CNN Money

Geoff Colvin. 2008. Talent Is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else. Portfolio

Ericsson, Anders et al. 1993. The Role of Deliberate Practice in the Acquisition of Expert Performance. Psychological Review