THE ROLE OF DELIBERATE PRACTICE IN THE ACQUISITION OF EXPERT PERFORMANCE
A premise of our theoretical framework is that deliberate practice is not inherently enjoyable and that individuals are motivated to engage in it by its instrumental value in improving performance. Hence, interested individuals need to be engaging in the activity and motivated to improve performance before they begin deliberate practice. Bloom (1985b) found evidence supporting this implication. His interviews with international-level performers showed that parents typically initiated deliberate practice after allowing their children several months of playful engagement in the domain and after noticing that their children expressed interest and showed signs of promise. The social reactions of parents and other individuals in the immediate environment must be very important in establishing this original motivation. At the start of deliberate practice, parents help their child keep a regular daily practice schedule and point out the instrumental value of practice for improved performance (Bloom, 1985b). With increased experience and the aid of teachers and coaches, the developing individual is able to internalize methods for assessing improvement and can thus concurrently monitor the effects of practice. As individuals get more involved in the activities of a domain, competitions and public performances provide short-term goals for specific improvements. At this point the motivation to practice becomes so closely connected to the goal of becoming an expert performer and so integrated with the individual's daily life that motivation to practice, per se, cannot be easily assessed. Certain naturally occurring events and changes illuminate the relation between practice and performance. Activities in many domains, especially sports, are seasonal because most scheduled competitions occur during a single season of the year. If individuals enjoyed deliberate practice,...
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