Deliberate practice

zvrba 1 day ago | link

I think the key is “deliberate practice” …

But before learning about ‘deliberate practice’, I had first heard a saying that “practice makes permanent”. You have to practice with the actual intention of getting better and perfecting your technique, otherwise you’re just strengthening the old habits.

Some context for the rest of the text: my hobbies are aikido and an old Japanese sword art, so I practice sword cuts a lot (wooden sword, no target — yet).

Deliberate practice is hard, it’s taxing, both physically but also mentally. It requires not only that you focus on what you’re doing but also consciously focusing on how you’re doing it. By focusing on what and how simultaneously, you can draw a causal connection between the result (what) and how you achieved it. If you’re not satisfied with the result, then you try to modify the “how” in a variety of ways until you feel the result has gotten better.

This is mentally taxing and absolutely not fun. You’re watching yourself making mistakes in real time, the mind wants but the body cannot (yet). Sometimes you even need to get a fundamentally new idea about “what” or “how” in order to break the (current) barrier. Suddenly an advice that you got from a teacher a year ago, and which didn’t make sense then, makes sense NOW.

And after having practiced for a while (usually up to 50 min; different exercises), I notice that I have reverted to “blind” practice, that I can no longer focus on “how”, regardless how much I try. That’s when I stop, regardless of how much “real time” has elapsed.

Trying to write ten thousand different sentences will make you a better writer than writing the same sentence ten thousand times.

— Hacker News



2014.08.10 Sunday ACHK