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matthew syed

The Practice Theory of Excellence

The Practice Theory of Excellence

Ten years of practice. Ten thousand hours of practice. Is that what it takes to be elite? Possibly.

What if the standard of practice is poor though? That just won't work - as a result, competitors need to be practicing in a deliberate manner with one clear goal each session: improvement. Incremental, bit-by-bit, striving for improvement.

Approximately a third of the way through reading 'Bounce' by Matthew Syed and I am truly buying in to what he is saying. Practices need to be deliberate, they need to be specific, with clear objectives and areas of improvement. It's not enough to practice regularly, or the most, if you want to reach the elite level. You can't train in autopilot, not paying attention, just going through the motions (that's what happens when you're driving a car - your mind wanders and you're in autopilot - you don't improve as a driver despite the amount of commuting/time stuck in your car).

In order to reach the elite level and truly improve, players need to be self-aware of their actions, preferably with an internal motivation (rather than the coach having to motivate them: external). Players should come away from a session and self evaluate their performance. Did they improve, how did they improve, reflect on the performance, how can I get better, what can I refine next time I practice/play.

As coaches, can we also do that? Who self-evaluates after a session, who takes notes on their performance; how the session went, how it was delivered. Do you reflect? Do you improve?