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The Role of Deliberate Practice in the Acquisition of Expert Performance

THE ROLE OF DELIBERATE PRACTICE IN THE ACQUISITION OF EXPERT PERFORMANCE Motivational Constraint A premise of our theoretical framework is that deliberate practice is not inherently enjoyable and that individuals are motivated to engage in it by its instrumental value in improving performance.Hence, interested individuals need to be engaging in the activity and motivated to improve performance before they begin deliberate practice.Bloom (1985b) found evidence supporting this implication.

His interviews with international-level performers showed that parents typically initiated deliberate practice after allowing their children several months of playful engagement in the domain and after noticing that their children expressed interest and showed signs of promise.

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The social reactions of parents and other individuals in the immediate environment must be very important in establishing this original motivation. At the start of deliberate practice, parents help their child keep a regular daily practice schedule and point out the instrumental value of practice for improved performance (Bloom, 1985b).

With increased experience and the aid of teachers and coaches, the developing individual is able to internalize methods for assessing improvement and can thus concurrently monitor the effects of practice. As individuals get more involved in the activities of a domain, competitions and public performances provide short-term goals for specific improvements. At this point the motivation to practice becomes so closely connected to the goal of becoming an expert performer and so integrated with the individual’s daily life that motivation to practice, per se, cannot be easily assessed.

Certain naturally occurring events and changes illuminate the relation between practice and performance. Activities in many domains, especially sports, are seasonal because most scheduled competitions occur during a single season of the year. If individuals enjoyed deliberate practice, they ought to practice at a uniformly high level all year. Instead, athletes train much harder during the preseason period and during the season itself; during the off season they often reduce the level of training dramatically (Reilly, 1990a; Reilly ; Secher, 1990).

Many individuals who have practiced for a long period of time give up their aspirations to compete and excel in an activity. Without the goal of improving performance, the motivation to engage in practice vanishes. Kaminski, Mayer, and Ruoff (1984) found that many elite adolescents who decided to stop competing remained active in the domain but virtually stopped engaging in practice. Some individuals have had to terminate their professional careers for reasons unrelated to their ability to perform.

In a longitudinal study of visual artists, Getzels and Csikszentmihalyi (1976) found that most artists were drawn to painting because it allowed social isolation. However, aspiring painters have to promote social relations with art dealers, art critics, and buyers to gain notoriety, increase the demand for their art, and generate sufficient sales for full-time artistic activity. Failure to do so forced many of the best artists to take another job unrelated to painting.

Once these artists could no longer commit sufficient time and energy to maintain and improve their performance they stopped painting completely because they could not accept performing at a lower level. This finding shows that the activity of painting as such is not inherently motivating but rather the act of producing art that satisfies the artists’ subjective criteria for quality. DANCE Abstracts 1. Fink, A. & Woschnjak, S. (2011). Creativity and personality in professional dancers. Personality and Individual Differences, 51 (6), 754-758. Abstract

In this study three different groups of professional dancers (ballet, modern/contemporary and jazz/musical), which considerably vary with respect to the creativity-related demands involved in the respective dancing style, are compared with respect to psychometrically determined creativity, general mental ability and different facets of personality. Results indicate that modern/contemporary dancers, who are often required to freely improvise on stage, exhibited relatively high levels of verbal and figural creativity (as it was measured by means of psychometric creativity tests), followed by jazz/musical and finally by ballet dancers.

With respect to personality, modern/contemporary dancers can be characterized as being less conscientious, higher on psychoticism and more open to experiences than the remaining experimental groups. In line with relevant research in this field, this study reveals some central personality characteristics of highly creative individuals which may be considered as important ingredients in the acquisition or actualization of exceptional creative potential. Highlights: > Dancers of different professions differ with respect to creativity and personality. > Modern dancers score high on openness and psychoticism. Modern dancers show high levels of psychometrically determined creativity. Keywords: Creativity, Personality, Psychoticism, Openness, Dance 2. Martyn-Stevens, B. E. , Brown, L. E. , Beam, W. C. & Wiersma, L. D. (2012). Effects of a dance season on the physiological profile of collegiate female modern dancers. Med Sport, 16 (1), 1-5. Abstract Introduction: A collegiate modern dancer is a unique athlete because in addition to the physical demands of dance, she also has the artistic demands of creating and performing for a season of showcases, or in some cases, multiple showcases.

In preparing for her dance season in addition to her academic schedule, a collegiate modern dancer’s training includes rigorous daily technique classes and rehearsals which may alter her fitness level across time. Objective: To determine the effects of a dance season on the physiological profile of collegiate female modern dancers. Methods: Eighteen collegiate female modern dancers were measured for relative anaerobic power, fatigue index, upper body and lower body strength, aerobic capacity and body composition at both pre and post dance season.

Results: At post season, there were significant improvements in relative anaerobic power (pre 7. 43 + 1. 01 W/kg, post 8. 00 + 0. 78 W/kg), body weight (pre 57. 80 + 5. 10, post 58. 72 + 5. 08), and body composition (pre 18. 60 + 2. 03%, post 17. 78 + 2. 49%), and a significant increase in fatigue index (pre 33. 38 + 9. 72%, post 38. 91 + 7. 49%). There were no significant changes in relative upper and lower body strength or aerobic capacity. Conclusions: The demands of a collegiate dance season resulted in improved power and lean mass but greater anaerobic fatigue in these female modern dancers

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