In the previous installment on Practice Principles we looked at how to find the “sweet spot” in practice and deep practice. In this article we look at:

  • Breaking down the skill
  • Building it back up

Breaking Down the skill

To learn to read and spell you needed to learn the alphabet. Breaking a skill down into small chunks is similar. No matter what skill you set out to learn, the pattern is always the same:

  1. See the whole thing.
  2. Break it down to its simplest elements.
  3. Put it back together.
  4. Repeat.

 

Build it back up

Now that you have identified and broken down a skill to its “chunks” focus on one that you cannot only improve but perfect. One useful method is to set a daily SAP: smallest, achievable, perfection.

In this technique, you pick a single chunk that you can perfect – not just improve on, not just work on but get 100 percent consistently correct. For example, a tennis player might choose to work on their service toss, you may work on the introduction to a writing piece etc.

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