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Team Sports and the Theory of Deliberate Practice

Werner F. Helsen, Janet L. Starkes, and Nicola J. Hodges

Two studies tested the theory of deliberate practice (Ericsson, Krampe, & Tesch-Romer, 1993) and contrasted results with the sport commitment model (Scanlan, Carpenter, Schmidt, Simons, & Keeler, 1993a, 1993b). In Part I, international, national, and provincial soccer and field hockey players recalled the amount of time they spent in individual and team practice, sport-related activities, and everyday activities at the start of their career and every 3 years since. In Part II, these activities were rated in terms of their relevance for improving performance, effort and concentration required, and enjoyment. A monotonic relationship between accumulated individual plus team practice and skill level was found. In contrast with Ericsson et al.’s (1993) findings for musicians, relevant activities were also enjoyable, while concentration became a separate dimension from effort. The viability of a generalized theory of expertise is discussed.

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Deliberate Practice and Expertise in Martial Arts: The Role of Context in Motor Recall

Thana Hodge and Janice M. Deakin

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.

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The Influence of Achievement Motivation and Chess-Specific Motivation on Deliberate Practice

Anique B.H. de Bruin, Remy M.J.P. Rikers, and Henk G. Schmidt

Although the importance of high motivation to engage in deliberate practice has been acknowledged, no research has directly tested this hypothesis. Therefore, the present study examined this relation in adolescent elite chess players by means of a questionnaire. In addition, to provide an explanation for dropout among promising chess players, differences in motivation between persistent and dropout chess players were analyzed. Competitiveness and the will to excel proved to be predictors of investments in deliberate practice. Moreover, achievement motivation and chess-specific motivation differed to a certain extent between persisters and dropouts. Our results suggest that motivation to engage in deliberate practice not only contains elements of the will to improve performance, but also of the will to attain exceptional levels of performance.

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Lessons From the Experts: The Effect of a Cognitive Processing Intervention During Deliberate Practice of a Complex Task

Edward K. Coughlan, A. Mark Williams, and Paul R. Ford

The accumulation of deliberate practice is thought to be a key factor in the development of expertise. The tenets of deliberate practice are that it is effortful, not immediately rewarding, not inherently enjoyable, and relevant to overall performance improvement ( Ericsson, Krampe, & Tesch

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From Imaginative Experiments to Inventive Performances: On the Role of Creativity in the Developmental Experiences of Professional Ice Hockey Players

Ludvig Johan Torp Rasmussen and Simon Hovesen Dalsgaard

session at the highest quality level. In this regard, several players dismissed the developmental impact of self-same and repetitive activities (e.g., challenging habit thinking). Hence, it could be argued that several modalities of creativity share characteristics of deliberate practice, which regards

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Achieving Expertise in Sport: Deliberate Practice, Adaptation, and Periodization of Training

Ronnie Lidor, Gershon Tenenbaum, Gal Ziv, and Vladimir Issurin

Deliberate practice (DP), an activity aimed at enhancing an individual’s performance, has been reported to be crucial for achieving a state of expertise in various domains, such as education, music, and sport. In this article, the relationships between DP and the process of athletic performance adaptation are explored by elaborating on the main principle of the theory of training—periodization. We argue that periodization should be considered as a mechanism for ensuring DP, and that the implementation of periodization principles (cycles and phases) in DP activities can facilitate adaptation processes leading to expert performance. We describe the characteristics and features of DP, review a series of studies on DP and athletic performance (N = 21), discuss the importance of periodization in sport training, and outline a number of benefits of periodization. A model that emphasizes the link between periodization and DP activities in each phase of sport development is proposed, and a number of research approaches to address periodization are discussed.

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Re-Considering Long-Term Athlete Development on Coach Education: An Illustration from Judo

G. Cornelis van Kooten

The purpose in this paper is to examine the effectiveness/usefulness of the long-term athlete development (LTAD) model, particularly in the coaching of judo. The major influences on the LTAD approach, including deliberate practice, are reviewed along with recent evidence that leads to questions about the usefulness of the LTAD model. While Judo Canada has attempted to implement this model in its program to train coaches, there remains a great deal of incongruity between the LTAD approach and the pedagogy that often characterizes judo.

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Implementing and Evaluating the Practice Environment Model Using Action Research

Steve M. Smith, Hazel Brown, and Stewart T. Cotterill

The psychological factors that influence performance in the practice environment, where competitive athletes engage in deliberate practice, have recently been given specific research attention. The current study employed an action research approach to implement the practice environment model as an education strategy to increase the practice performance of players in a U.K. basketball academy team over a 20-week period. The aim of the study was to evaluate the effect of the education strategy on practice performance. The team competed nationally and consisted of the head coach, the assistant coach, and 18 male players aged 16–19 years. Data were collected through focus groups, joint semistructured interviews, field observations, and a practice environment model web-based questionnaire. Qualitative data were analysed using thematic narrative analysis and the Friedman test analysed quantitative data. Quantitative results suggested that the education strategy decreased perceptions of stress and increased effort, preparation activities, and teammate support. Qualitative results provided an in-depth narrative of the environmental changes undertaken to improve practice performance. Discussion focuses on the key strategies of effort and control, performance expectations, team drive, positive communication, and preparation. This study is the first to apply the practice environment model to a real-world sporting domain.

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Early Specialization and Critical Periods in Acquiring Expertise: A Comparison of Traditional Versus Detection Talent Identification in Team GB Cycling at London 2012

Toby Staff, Fernand Gobet, and Andrew Parton

). To compare both selection methods, we utilized methodologies developed to assess the deliberate practice hypothesis ( Ericsson et al., 1993 ) and in particular applied its definition of the start of practice and the attainment of expertise. This enabled us to calculate a chronological measure for

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A Skill Acquisition Perspective on Early Specialization in Sport

David I. Anderson and Anthony M. Mayo

This paper examines the costs and benefits of early specialization in sport from a skill acquisition perspective. The focus is on whether early specialization in a single sport is the best way to facilitate the acquisition of skill in that sport. The paper is organized relative to the two major conceptual frameworks that have motivated much of the discussion about early specialization in sport: the theory of deliberate practice and the Developmental Model of Sport Participation. Our analysis reveals that while early specialization in sport is one way to reach elite status, it is not the only way. Considerable evidence shows that many elite athletes specialized in their sport late, following diversified experiences with other sports. These findings raise a number of exciting questions about the long-term development of skill in sport.