Are you an athlete looking to improve your skills? The old adage "practice makes perfect" might not be entirely true.
A study of ice skaters found that deliberate practice, rather than just practicing for the sake of it, is what leads to true improvement.
The study observed an Olympic skater, an up-and-comer, and a beginner, each given an hour to practice. The Olympic skater focused on perfecting moves they had not yet mastered, while the up-and-comer practiced moves they had already perfected. The beginner, however, was less enthusiastic about practicing and spent a lot of time chatting with friends.
This study's takeaway is that deliberate practice, rather than simply spending time practicing, leads to improvement. For self-coached athletes, having a general plan is better than no plan at all, but having a coach is the most effective way to ensure deliberate practice. Coaches can encourage athletes to invest in devices like power meters or speed distance watches, which can help them refine their practice even further.
If you're looking to improve your athletic abilities, remember that deliberate practice is key. Working with a coach and utilizing helpful devices can help you focus your practice and achieve your goals. With deliberate practice, you'll be on your way to true improvement and success in your sport.