Practice Makes Perfect–Myth or Reality of 10,000 hours of practice

Practice Makes Perfect —Really

Does 10,000 hours make you expert or master of a subject or performance activity, like tennis or public speaking? From my review it seems that the key is 10,000 hours done in deliberative practice structure. So what exactly is deliberative practice Most research defines it as an activity with a very well-defined end-goal, which should be difficult. The activity needs to be highly repeatable. There needs to be feedback on the quality of each repetition; so it is helpful to have a coach or friend review your performance.

Many  cognitive scientist believe that the key to mastery comes about when a skill is moved from the short term memory of the beginner to the working long term memory through many hours of practice and repetition. Once embedded in the working long term memory, the brain can short-cut the slow process of deliberation associated with juggling new rules stored in the short term memory. Indeed, the operation of working long term memory is like snap judgments or “gut decisions” you make on a daily basis because we have been there before and done that thing we wanted to do.

I believe that the neurological rewiring that occurs during focused attention is the driving mechanism behind the deliberative practice process for learning.  Only focused attention can trigger the brain into the process of rewiring the brain. Self-reflection on the feedback received seems to be the important element needed to move a skill from short term memory to the working long-term memory. Often, after I’ve practiced a new technique in tennis, do I experience a burst of energy, satisfaction and calmness from letting my natural  Self 2 do what it does best. Without interferences of past experience, and doubt or negativity of critical Self 1. This is a consequence of brain rewiring. The repetition of specific behaviors and self-awareness in deliberative practice results in the most effective rewiring, leading ultimately to a state of mastery where the activity can be done quickly, and without effort. Maybe this what players mean when they talk about memory muscle.

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