Wrestling with the nature of expertise: A sport specific test of Ericsson, Krampe and Tesch-Romer's (1993) theory of ''deliberate practice'' Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • Ericsson, Krampe and Tesch-Römer (1993) have concluded from work with musicians that expertise is the result of "deliberate practice". So how valid is this conclusion in sport? Four groups of wrestlers (n=42); 2 international and 2 club (current & retired) recalled the hours spent in wrestling activities since beginning wrestling. All groups had begun at a similar age (M =13.2 ± 0.6year) and had been wrestling for 10 years or more. Contrary to Ericsson et al., practice alone activities did not discriminate between the groups, only practice with others. At 6 years into their careers, the international group practised 4.5 hour/week more than the club wrestlers and at age 20 years the international wrestlers had accumulated over 1000 more hours of practice with others. Evaluations of wrestling activities showed that those judged as relevant, were also rated high for concentration and enjoyment. Diary data were collected from current wrestlers, however, no differences were found for time spent in wrestling activities. The international wrestlers spent longer travelling to practice, which reflected the necessity to train at a club with the best sparring partners. Practice with others yielded high correlations between estimates for a typical week and the diary data for the international wrestlers only, suggesting a more consistent training schedule for this group. In conclusion Ericsson et al.s' definition of "deliberate practice" needs to be reconsidered. It is suggested that "maintenance" hours should be considered separately from practice, and that future studies focus on what it is that motivates people to practice.

publication date

  • October 1, 1996