Tag Archive for 'deliberate practice'

The making of an expert: Anders Ericsson passed away

Anders Ericsson had a brilliant career and renewed his interest in the study of an idea as simple as the world: “How to become expert.” To try to provide an answer to this question he studied sports champions, violinists from the best schools, chess masters and many other super-performers. He has written books with compelling titles such as “The road of excellence” (1996) or “The Cambridge handbook of expertise and expert performance” (2006). He has studied for decades the structure and acquisition of expert performance and in particular how experts learn and maintain excellent performance over time through what he called deliberate practice.

Speaker - Pallas Gathering

Deliberate practice is a purpose-oriented activity and, therefore, one knows the goals and how to meet them.

In music, few students can have a full-time violin teacher, the standard is to take lessons during the week and do the teacher’s homework. Therefore at home, students practice to improve their level of competence.

It therefore requires the existence of a teacher who provides practical exercises to improve one’s skills.

In short, deliberate practice:

  • develops the skills that others already have by following a specific training.
  • puts the person out of the comfort zone, constantly looking for improvement with a quasi-maximal level of commitment
  • provides for specific objectives and not for generic improvements
  • requires full attention and conscious action
  • needs feedback and commitment changes, according to the teacher’s comments and instructions
  • provides for the improvement of the mental representation of one’s performance
  • requires changing previous skills to provide better performance

Anders Ericsson, professor of psychology, Florida State University and Conradi Eminent Scholar was born in 1947 and passed away a few days ago, June 17, 2020.

The development of deliberate practice by Anders Ericsson

The new book by Anders Ericsson entitled “Peak – Secrets from the new science of expertise” redefine more precisely than in the past the meaning of deliberate practice. As we know this approach is instrumental in encouraging, in many fields, the development of those skills needed to achieve exceptional performances.

Therefore deliberate practice:

  • “develops skills that other people have already figure out to do and for which effective techniques have been established”
  • “takes place outside one’s comfort zone and requires a student to constantly try things that are just beyond his or her current abilities”
  • “involves well-defined, specific goals”
  • “is deliberate, that is, it requires a person’s full attention and conscious action”
  • “involves feedback and modification of efforts in response to that feedback”
  • “produces and depends mental representations. Improving performance goes hand in hand with improving mental representations”
  • “involves building or modifying previously acquired skills, focusing on particular aspects of those skills and working to improve them specifically”


Is it possible to become golfer professional starting at 30 years old?

At what point is the challenge of Dan McLaughlin. Never having played 18 holes of golf, in April 2010, McLaughlin quit his job as a commercial photographer to pursue a goal of becoming a top professional golfer through 10,000 hours of deliberate practice. During the first 18 months, improvement was slow as McLaughlin first practiced his putting, chipping, and his drive. Then, as he began to put the various pieces together, improvement accelerated, consistent with hyper-growth behavior. While he didn’t track how quickly his handicap decreased, 28 months into the project, he has surpassed 91% of the 26 million golfers who register a handicap with the US Golf Association database. Not surprisingly, his rate of improvement (if measured as handicap) is now slowing as he faces competition from the top 10% amateur golfers (5,8 handicap). After three years of practice McLaughlin is in the middle of  his journey, he played for about 5.500 hours and he has the same time to satisfy the 10.000 rule of deliberate practice needed to reach the excellence for the psychologist Anders Ericcson. His goal is to become in this time a professional golfer. This Laughling choice is very interesting and till now unique in sport, because it is the first time that a single individual, with no previous sport experiences as athlete, not young but adult, tries to show that the excellence can be achieved only through the persistent commitment  of deliberate practiced