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Friday, February 8, 2013

VARIABLES OF A PERFECT PRACTICE

The following comes from a blog titled "In Focus."  This partilucar post is written by Tyler Bradstreet.  It's a very lengthy post and well worth you clicking here to read it in it's entirety and he goes into the different variations that create practices and how each are specific towards important.  Here is a short excerpt of this post:

Practice makes perfect – this means that the more you practice, the better you will become. If you want to become great, then you should practice as much as possible. “See how fast you are getting better at hitting the baseball? Practice makes perfect.” To practice is to do something regularly. Perfect is the best you can be. Practice makes perfect means that the way to become the best is to practice often. “Do you know how a player like Pete Rose gets to be so good? By taking rounds and rounds of batting practice every day. Practice, practice, practice! Practice makes perfect.” Practice makes perfect is said to encourage people to keep practicing so they will become better at what they are doing. “Come on kid, do it again! I want to see you getting this right. Practice makes perfect!”

However, is this really the case? There is the rule of 10,000 hours, which states that in order to reach elite “expert” status (such as collegiate and professional athletes) 10,000 hours of sport-specific experience (e.g., practice; performance), or roughly ten years, is necessary (Ericsson, Krampe, & Tesch-Römer, 1993).

But, my question is…..

Are all practices equal? Is player X’s 10,000 hours of practice the same as player Y’s 10,000 hours?

What’s more effective – A player who goes out at practice for 2 hours and throws the ball around, takes a round of batting practice, fields a few ground/fly balls and heads home….OR…. A player who goes out for an hour and fields game-situation ground/fly balls and throws from his position and takes batting practice incorporating game-situations? I’ll take the latter.

This second example leads me into deliberate practice – practice that is effortful, highly structured, organized, and direct toward extrinsic goals and rewards (Colvin, 2010). In order to be most effective, practice/training must be structured in a systematic and purposeful manner. So, how do we deliberately practice? The following paragraphs will provide the most effective ways to practice.