Which Practice Makes Perfect? Deliberate Practice

15 Sep 2023
3 min read
Author – Vedika Jogani

A recent graduate from Ithaca College with a Master’s degree in Sports and Exercise Science, specializing in Mental Performance, Vedika is OMP’s Product and Content Manager. During her studies, Vedika worked closely with Ithaca’s Men’s and Women’s Tennis Teams and Women’s Volleyball Team as their Mental Performance Consultant. Vedika is currently completing her Certified Mental Performance Consultant Certification.

How true is the old saying, ‘practice makes perfect’? Is that what elite athletes do to reach that level? Does doing the same thing again and again make you perfect?

We often wonder what makes elite athletes so great. While genetic capabilities play a small role in their success, research has found that athletes go to extreme lengths to perform well consistently while improving their skills and knowledge. They do this through deliberate practice.  

What is deliberate practice?  

Deliberate practice refers to a special type of practice that is purposeful and systematic. It requires focused attention and is conducted with the specific goal of improving performance. It helps athletes to be more in tune with their body and mind, ultimately aimed at improving performance.  

Four aspects of deliberate practice:   

  1. Structure: A structured plan, typically orchestrated by a coach or experienced practitioner serves as the foundation. These meticulously designed sessions may vary based on the specific skill in focus, but they all share a common thread of purposeful design.   
  1. Goals: The purpose of deliberate practice is to improve performance. This includes setting tailored, measurable goals which are paired with structured activities.  
  1. Feedback: The most important aspect of deliberate practice is getting clear feedback about your performance. This can mean getting feedback from your coaches, teammates and self-reflection. It is active engagement with this feedback that can help to improve performance 
  1. Repetition: Relentlessly dedicating time to improve performance on a specific skill means performing actions over and over again till you refine a specific skill.  

What can you do to achieve deliberate practice?  

Deliberate practice will boost your training and performance. Setting clear and measurable goals, engaging with feedback and cultivating intrinsic motivation to repeat the same task over and over again can allow you to practice with intent and purpose.  

In the end, it’s not just about practicing – it’s about practicing with purpose and intent that can be the key to unlocking your full potential.  



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