Deep Practice—The #1 BIG THING: No pain, no gain. That’s what you might call Coyle’s “deep practice.” We learn best when we struggle and invest time and effort into developing a habit or skill. See Coyle’s exercise on p. 16 to demonstrate this finding for yourself. When we slow down, try, fail, retry and keep trying…we grow. Just watch kids starting to walk or talk. Our brain is NOT like a tape recorder, but like scaffolding—the more we build, the faster learning takes place. Three Rules of Deep Practice:
a. Chunking. Like making a movie, build a scaffold scene by scene, move by move. Gymnasts and all athletes break the whole into parts (chunks) and practice, then integrate them. Slowing down further imbeds the process.
b. Repeat it. Repetition of the activity, not talking or thinking about it, makes the difference. Trying, failing, fixing, retrying—that is the magic sauce. Deep practice must be not just time spent, but time spent in the sweet spot of the edge of your talent to keep you challenged.
c. Learn to Feel It. Practice concentration: “…the feeling of reaching, falling short, and reaching again,” (p. 91). Reaching for a target just out of reach is where genius begins to grow.