The Talent Code: Deep Practice Rule #3

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Big Day…. this is the last rule of the overall “Deep Practice” picture. You can read about Rule 2 here

Author Daniel Coyle titles rule #3 “Learn To Feel It”

It could easily be titled: Get comfortable being uncomfortable.

“You have to learn how to get comfortable with being uncomfortable”Legendary manager Lou Piniella

At the conclusions of yesterday’s newsletter, I recognized the fact that it can be a difficult task to get your athletes to stay extremely focused, and remain in the “deep practice sweet spot.”

There is no doubt that can be a tall task, especially with younger players.

That being said, they are never going to really get to a point where they are “comfortable being uncomfortable” unless you consistently push them to the edges of their ability.

In all of the hotbeds that Coyle visited it was extremely rare for people to describe deep practice as “natural, or effortless.”

The words that showed up were things like: “Attention, build, focus, mistake, repeat, tiring.”

Wait so it is not just about genetic outliers that are simply exponentially more gifted than the rest of us? Precisely…it is about approaching development the right way, not necessarily the easy way.
Just to reiterate what the right way is:

Q: Why is targeted, mistake-focused practice so effective?
A: Because the best way to build a good circuit (skill) is to fire it, attend to mistakes, then fire it again, over and over. Struggle is not an option: it’s a biological requirement.”Daniel Coyle

At the outset it is not fun to continually fail, but if players start to shy away from operating at the edge of their ability, they have in essence decided to bed down in their comfort zone.

This is where progress or skill acquisition comes to a screeching halt.

I know that many of your players will be resistant to some of the detailed drill sets you put in place to help them access this elusive “deep practice.” However, just like I said in the previous newsletter, you must have the resolve to stick with it and push your athletes to practice in the manner discussed.

They will come around, and that coming around is what Rule #3 is about. Learning to feel the struggle and beginning to embrace the struggle.

For this to happen there is a good chance that some extrinsic motivation will have to be the starting point. However, these talent hotbeds have shown that students will indeed begin to not only embrace deep practice but also enjoy it.

Check out this excerpt from The Talent Code:

“At Meadowmount (elite musical school and talent hotbed), instructors routinely see students develop a taste for deep practice. They don’t like it at first. But soon, the students begin to tolerate and even enjoy the experience. Most kids accelerate their practice fairly quickly.”Daniel Coyle

Confidence comes from competence, so as your athletes improve they will begin to have more and more desire to practice intensely and correctly.

Do them a favor and implement these three rules of deep practice and you will give your athletes the best opportunity to develop their skill and maximize their potential.

The beauty of all of this is that it really speaks to teaching players how to be successful in whatever area they choose to pursue. “You come to the field to learn baseball, but you leave learning life.”

I will leave you with one final quote from this great book:

“To get good, it’s helpful to be willing, or even enthusiastic, about being bad. Baby steps are the royal road to skill.”Daniel Coyle

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