How to practice effectively...for just about anything - Annie Bosler and Don Greene - Deepstash

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Mastering a skill

Mastering a skill

Mastering any physical skill, such as playing an instrument or throwing a baseball, takes practice.

Practice is repeating an action with the goal of improvement.


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Myelin during practice

Our brains have two kinds of neural tissue:

  • Grey matter processes information in the brain
  • White matter is mostly fatty tissue and nerve fibres.

For our bodies to move, information needs to travel from the grey matter down the spinal cord through a chain of nerve fibres (axons) to our muscles. The axons in the white matter are wrapped with myelin. This myelin covering seems to change with practice. Added layers insulate the axons, eventually becoming a superhighway for information connecting your brain to your muscles.


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Effective practice

Mastery is not just about the hours of practice. It's also the quality and effectiveness of that practice that plays a role.

Effective practice is 

  1. consistent
  2. intensely focused
  3. targets content or weaknesses


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How to get the most out of our practice time

How to get the most out of our practice time

  • Focus on the task at hand.
  • Minimise distraction. Turn off the TV and put your cellphone out of reach. Studies show that the interference of laptops and smartphones caused students to stay on task for only six minutes at a time.
  • Start out slowly. Coordination is built with repetitions, whether correct or incorrect.
  • Frequent repetitions with allotted breaks. Studies show that many top athletes, musicians, and dancers divide their time used for effective practice into multiple daily practice sessions.
  • Mentally practise with vivid detail. 


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