Typical work and performance environments don’t constitute deliberate practice

Effective Deliberate practice, after Ericsson offers students opportunities for focused repetitions. During a baseball game, a batter may only swing a dozen times, but a batter working with an expert coach may attempt hundreds of pitches a day. Even better: those pitches may all be designed to exploit a specific weakness (Ericsson et al, 1993, p. 368).

Because Skill development requires challenging homeostasis, failure must be common during deliberate practice. But typical work and performance environments rarely tolerate high rates of failure. A pianist can’t practice his fingerings by scheduling more recitals: he’ll quickly be kicked off the touring circuit.


Ericsson, K. A., Krampe, R. T., & Tesch-Römer, C. (1993). The role of deliberate practice in the acquisition of expert performance. Psychological Review, 100(3), 363. Ericsson et al - The Role of Deliberate Practice in the Acquisition of Expert Performance