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This study used participants from the martial arts (karate) to examine the influence of context in the acquisition of novel motor sequences and the applicability of Ericsson, Krampe, and Tesch-Romer's (1993) theory of deliberate practice in this athletic domain. The presence of context did not benefit recall performance for the experts. The performance of the novice group was hindered by the presence of context. Evaluation of the role of deliberate practice in expert performance was assessed through retrospective questionnaires. The findings related to the relationship between relevance and effort, and relevance and enjoyment diverged from Ericsson et al.'s (1993) definition of deliberate practice, suggesting that adaptations should be made if it is to be considered general theory of expertise.
Thana Hodge and Janice M. Deakin are with the School of Physical and Health Education at Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada.