What is the difference between deliberate practice and repetition?

It’s an important distinction, and the difference is subtle. Repetition is doing things again and again. Deliberate practice identifying a specific action, knowing what perfect performance looks like and doing it again and again and each time trying to get closer and closer to perfect performance. A champion tennis player will practice serve after serve trying to increase accuracy and speed so that at key moments in a match the conditioning will come into play and a perfect serve is executed. Doing things by repetition means doing the same thing again and again. In essence you’ve gained 1 years’ experience 10 times. Deliberate practice means getting better and better so in 10 years you will have gained 10 years’ experience. Your performance will be way above someone with 1 year of experience.


Deliberate practice is very focused and targeted at strategically key areas to achieve improvements in order to get you closer to your goal.


The difference in being a champion or an ordinary performer is tiny fraction. In athletics, for sprinters it’s a hundredth of a second. For golfers, it’s fraction of millimeter of the face of golf club during a swing. For boxers, it may be just one punch.


You need to deliberately practice getting better at your main skill area. For example, for David Beckham it was being the best at dead ball situations and passing such as free kicks, corners and crossing towards a striker to score the winning goal. He set up numerous goals for great clubs such as Manchester United and Real Madrid and won numerous honours.  He became famous for the accuracy of his long passes, free kicks and corners and crosses, which involved accuracy at long range. He scored an amazing goal from almost halfway up the pitch. He captained his country due to his talent, incredible work ethic and superb attitude.


“I still look at myself and want to improve”. David Beckham

Victoria Beckham said in an interview that when David gets home, he goes into the garden and lines up 100 footballs and practices shooting, crossing and passing long balls. Professional footballers have very hard and rigorous training sessions with their clubs. Most after training go home and relax. Beckham was willing to go the extra mile and practice with dedication and discipline to be the best.


Focus intensely on your greatest strengths and you’ll achieve greatness and keep improving daily. If you do too many tasks, you’ll be average at all of them and wouldn’t enjoy great success. You must focus all your efforts on things that’ll give you the greatest benefits. Rank all the things you want to do in order of priority. List number one as the one thing that will make the biggest difference.  Ask yourself the following question continuously:


What is the one thing you can do that’ll make everything else unimportant relatively?

When you answer the question, then that is the one thing you need to focus and improve continuously. It’s better to be great at one thing and poor at others rather than average in everything.


The greatest Martial Artist of all time, Bruce Lee said:

“I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.”


It’s easy to see why Bruce was so good and still considered to be the idol of thousands of people including superstars in many sports such as Hall of Fame boxer Sugar Ray Leonard, movie star Jacky Chan and many champion body builders. If you look at the best martial artists, they’ll have one technique that they can executive better than any other technique. For example, Joe Frazier had a great left hook, which he used to great effect knocking out opponents and becoming heavy weight champion of the world.


If you deliberately practice one thing 10,000 times trying each time to get better, then you’ll achieve great proficiency and success. Take your greatest talent and practice deliberately until you become the greatest at it. Make it your daily ritual. Place no limit on yourself and how great you can become. There are no real limits, only plateaus and with deliberates strategy and practice you can get past these and progress to levels you may only have dreamt about.


“If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else. It will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them” Bruce Lee


In every field, if you practice a skill or technique and you reach what you think is your limit. You cannot get any better using your existing training methods, diet and mind-set.  However, there is always a way to get better, that’s why records are set and broken by someone else. There is a belief that the record can be broken, training methods improved, diet and supplements become more advanced, and the mindset is that “I am going to break the record.”


You have to demand more of yourself than anyone else can expect. When you demand the best from yourself every time, then you’ll eventually succeed.


One of the greatest football players in the world, Cristiano Ronaldo says: “I know I’m a good professional, I know that no one’s harder on me than myself and that’s never going to change, under any circumstance”.


Michael Jordon, arguably the greatest basketball player of all time, said, “I always demand more from myself than anyone else can expect.”


Confidence in your ability is also key element in business success. Warren Buffett, who has been near the very top of the richest people in world list for decades, he once said, “I always knew I was going to be rich. I don’t think I ever doubted it for a minute.” His attitude made him a winner in everything he did. Demand greatness from yourself and your performances and your success will skyrocket.


Arnold Schwarzenegger said, “the most important thing in success is to have a clear vision, shoot for the top, work your butt off and don’t listen to the naysayers.”


Arnold succeeded and got to the very top in 3 fields, bodybuilding, action movies and politics despite not speaking a word of English and no education when he arrived in America as a young man. In bodybuilding, he became the greatest by winning the Mr Universe and then Mr Olympia 7 times, he became the highest paid movie star in the world and made classic films such as Terminator series, Twins, Last Action Hero, Conan, Predator and Commando and then as the Governor of California, the largest state in America and the world’s eighth largest economy.  The only ambition that has deluded him is the Presidency of the USA due to being born outside the USA. Had he been born in America; I am sure he would have fulfilled that dream too. However, his influence on climate change and health is greater worldwide than presidents and prime ministers.


Everyone doubted him but Arnold never had any doubts about his own abilities to get to the top. He was on separate crusades and now he is working on making our environment better by eliminating fossil fuels and eliminate global climate change.  I would not bet against Arnold to succeed in his new crusade after retiring from politics. He has often stated that his natural instinct is to shoot for the top in everything he does.


Whatever your chosen field or mission, make sure that you focus totally on it and then practice deliberately to be the best that you can be and try to keep improving daily. Shoot for the top with daily disciplined action.


Ask yourself the following questions and then focus and discipline yourself:

  • What one thing can I be the best in the world?
  • What am I most passionate about?
  • What will have the greatest impact?


Write out the questions and then write down as many answers as possible to each question. The answers to these questions will give you a key focus in your life. You must pay attention to the answers. If you can be the best but don’t have the passion, then you wouldn’t be able to sustain the initial success. If you have the passion but there is no impact, then your actions and discipline will not be worthwhile.


Once you have the answers then you must focus on where the answers overlap and discipline yourself to work on only this area (Fig. 1). If you do that then you can be the best, love it and get great rewards from your efforts and accomplishments.


FIG. 1. The focusing questions to help you get to the top


Note: This blog was taken from the Success Secrets Book. To order a copy of this book Click here.

Posted by ypsociety