Athlete Development Programs: Deliberate Practice and Deliberate Play

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Introduction What makes champions in sport? At the end of the day, it is the moment when one stands at the top of the podium, holding up their well-deserved medals and trophies that all elite athletes strive for. Thus, experts have studied this question extensively to see which programs, or by what means, are elite athletes developed to achieve this goal. One of the many aspects to athlete development is the controversial topic of deliberate practice versus deliberate play. Deliberate practice can be defined as “any training activity (a) undertaken with the specific purpose of increasing performance, (b) requiring cognitive and/or physical effort, and (c) relevant to promoting positive skill development” (Cote et al., 2007, p. 185) On the…show more content…
Specifically, they engaged in various “invasion” sports, where the goal is to move into the opponent’s territory to score (e.g. soccer, basketball, and hockey). The amount of deliberate practice was an important determinant for the emergence of expertise for the AFL athletes (Berry et al., 2008). In a more expansive study, Memmert et al. (2010) confirm the same results with respect to a wide range of team sports: basketball, handball, field hockey, and soccer. They state that there is a need of specific training over a long period of time, the “10-year rule,” for the attainment of expertise. Cote et al. (2007) points out the principle of the power law of practice, where great improvements are seen in the initial stages of practice, but the improvements level-off as one becomes an expert. This power relationship seems to be converted into a more linear relationship with increased deliberate practice. Violinists were studied, and time spent in deliberate practice was examined. By 18 years of age, experts accumulated 7,400 hours of practice, whereas intermediate-level performers had 5,300 hours, and lower-level performers only completed 3,400 hours. This linear law of practice seems to be generalizable to other domains, namely sport and chess (Cote et al., 2007, pp. 185). Although deliberate practice is very important, it is not the sole predictor of elite-level
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