practice — observations #21

Studies suggest that people don’t really know what practice is, especially not deliberate practice.  Geoffery Colvin puts it best:

Simply hitting a bucket of balls is not deliberate practice, which is why most golfers don’t get better.

Hitting an eight-iron 300 times with a goal of leaving the ball within 20 feet of the pin 80 percent of the time, continually observing results and making appropriate adjustments, and doing that for hours every day – that’s deliberate practice.

Mark Sanborn quotes Covlin and makes some interesting observations about practice in our workplace here. And I’ve mused on practice before, in a sense, in Sharpen the Axe.

I’m wondering about two other applications.

1) As aerospace professionals

2) As dads (or more generally, as parents)

What are you doing to practice?

Send a tweet with your comment to @markjonesjr or better yet, start a discussion at

Life is a journey. And these are observations from ours.


You’ve just read observations, a monthly column that illustrates in my personal life and leadership the technical concepts found in ATOMs. Some people may not want the technical content that appears elsewhere on this website–if you only want to follow these more personal updates, I set up a special subscription for that option here: by Email or RSS.