Deliberate Practice

Deliberate Practice

Growth Mindset: Getting Started

Deliberate Practice

The proven method to develop world class talent in any discipline

There is an exact formula to pursue greatness. You now have the playbook.

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Going Deeper

What is Deliberate Practice?

Deliberate practice is a method of achieving expert level performance for any skill. It’s a type of practice with a specific purpose and goals. The term is attributed to Swedish psychologist K. Anders Ericsson, who discovered that achieving world class skills is the result of years of deliberate practice rather than genetic gifts or innate talent.

Ericsson has built a career demonstrating how deliberate practice accounts for the extraordinarily high performance levels of experts in many fields, from Mozart to chess masters to NBA Hall of Famers. The good news is that this method of practice can be used by anyone to develop skills in any field. It just takes time, discipline, and a commitment to move beyond one’s comfort zone.

A single deliberate practice session might look like the following

  • Choose a specific skill to improve (i.e. making free throws)
  • Break that skill down into manageable chunks (approach the line, dribbles, grip on the ball, breathing, hand position, shooting style, follow through)
  • Visualize what perfection looks like for each chunk
  • Practice each chunk repeatedly with a goal to achieve perfection 
  • Note any imperfections in form and focus on eliminating them
  • Repeat each with a specific number of perfect reps in mind (i.e. 20 straight perfect free throw baskets)
  • Record progress for the entire session
  • Set goals for the next session to improve the skill even further

Masters in music, athletics, academics, and virtually any field you can imagine use this method to achieve their extraordinary skills. True mastery requires nearly daily deliberate practice over the course of 15-20 years. 

    Session Resources


    Challenge #1

    Name 3 skills you previously thought couldn’t be improved.

    Join the Conversation

    What is one skill you will use Deliberate Practice to improve? How will you structure a practice session?

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