I occasionally talk with my students about the idea of deliberate practice. I recently read an article on Lifehacker.com that got me thinking about it again. According to this article,
Deliberate, or mindful practice is a systematic and highly structured activity, that is, for lack of a better word, more scientific. Instead of mindless trial and error, it is an active and thoughtful process of hypothesis testing where we relentlessly seek solutions to clearly defined problems.
Deliberate practice is often slow, and involves repetition of small and very specific sections of a skill instead of just playing through. For example, if you were a musician, you might work on just the opening note of a solo to make sure that it "speaks" exactly the way you want, instead of playing the entire opening phrase.
Deliberate practice also involves monitoring one's performance - in real-time and via recordings - continually looking for new ways to improve. This means being observant and keenly aware of what happens, so that you can tell yourself exactly what went wrong
The way we practice is as important as what we practice. The article outlines 5 key steps to help us accelerate our skill development.
3. Don't trust your memory
4. Smarter, not harder
5. Stay on target.
You can read the entire article here to get the details.
© 2013 Eric Borreson