Deliberate practice: how to train more effectively

Don’t confuse this practice with regular workouts, where you senselessly repeat the same exercises to maintain physical performance. Deliberate practice is designed for full concentration of the athlete and is carried out with the installation of a specific goal of improving the result.

The hardest thing in deliberate practice is to remain in a state of flow (you can read about the state of flow here). Despite regular and high-quality training, any person begins to carelessly treat minor issues. Over time, the athlete turns training into a routine, not trying to develop. He only maintains his standard level of physical activity.

the athlete trains in the gym and deliberately practices

Don’t worry if your efforts become habitual. This is due to the work of the human brain. It transforms our repetitive actions into an automatic process or habit. In this way, we experience less stress, constantly thinking about difficult training and exercises. The more you repeat your actions, the less meaningful they become. Such a phenomenon is found not only in sports, but also in any branch of human activity.

Silent repetition of their actions is the enemy for deliberate practice. People naively believe that repetition and the gradual development of experience will help them succeed. Don’t be fooled! You are just consolidating your current habits, not improving your skills.

Everyone understands that success can be achieved only through hard work. But what does deliberate practice look like in real life?

People who have used deliberate practice:

 Max Deutsch

Max Deutsch is a young programmer from San Francisco.

Max Deutsch is sitting on a chessboard

In 2016, he decided that he wanted to master 12 different skills (one skill for each month). The final goal of Max was the game against grandmaster Magnus Carlsen. The man couldn’t beat the chess genius, but he waged a stubborn struggle on the chessboard for a long time. Max was able to master the remaining skills: he painted a self-portrait, learned how to quickly assemble a Rubik’s cube, played a guitar solo for 5 minutes, learned how to do flips, etc.

The programmer said that he was engaged in deliberate practice in order to achieve his goals. Max did not give up his eight-hour job, he didn’t change his daily routine. He set aside 60 minutes each day for mastering a new skill. During training, he was in a state of flow. The programmer was fully focused on his business, not being distracted by external factors.

Benjamin FranklinBenjamin Franklin is sitting at his desk

When Benjamin was still a teenager, his father declared that the guy had disgusting writing skills. Many young people simply would not listen to their parent, but not Franklin. Benjamin decided to listen to the criticism of his father and began to engage in deliberate practice.

First, he found the articles and publications of the best author of those years. The boy carefully read every article, every line and wrote down the meanings of each sentence. After that, he rewrote the articles of the author in his own way in order to compare the style, manner of speech and semantic content of texts. Benjamin noticed his mistakes and corrected them. In the end, the teenager realized that the reason for the poor writing skills was a small vocabulary. After that, he began to read and practice a lot in writing. To improve his performance, he applied the standard algorithm for receiving intentional practice.

Algorithm of actions in deliberate practice:

  1. Define the goal. Describe what needs to be done to achieve the goal, how the end result should be;
  2. Make a plan of action;
  3. Break the whole process into small pieces;
  4. Identify your strengths and weaknesses;
  5. Try new strategies to strengthen your strengths and correct weaknesses;
  6. Integrate the separate parts of your training into one general process.

Feedback in deliberate practice

Don’t forget that feedback is necessary in deliberate practice. Without it, you automatically turn your activities into meaningless repetition. Let’s look at ways to get feedback in the period of deliberate practice:


If we measure something, then we improve it. This strategy is suitable for counting push-ups, squats, running speed, shooting, etc. Thanks to the measurement, we can track the dynamics of our skills: a week ago you squat 50 times a day, and now 80 times.

Communicate with the coach

Not every person will be able to correctly determine how effective his training was, and it is also difficult to notice whether you are violating your discipline or not. For this you need to constantly communicate with your coach. They are professionals in their field and will be able to adequately assess your result. In addition, coaches will be able to analyze your strengths and weaknesses in order to find an effective exercise program for your physical development.

A man plays chess with his reflection, he leads a deliberate practice

Deliberate practice is a struggle with oneself

Humans are universal beings who can learn anything. To do this, it is enough to comply with the regime and build a competent training plan. Remember that deliberate practice will never be a simple process. For its application requires full concentration and desire to achieve success.

People who have mastered the techniques of deliberate practice are considered perpetual students. They are always looking for a source of knowledge that will help overcome any weakness and open new paths to self-improvement.

Never give up and do not be distracted by external stimuli, then you can master deliberate practice and succeed in any field of activity.

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