Predicting Performance Times From Deliberate Practice Hours for Triathletes and Swimmers: What, When, and Where Is Practice Important?
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In Studies 1 and 2, the authors evaluated deliberate practice theory through analyses of the relationship between practice and performance for 2 populations of athletes: triathletes and swimmers, respectively. In Study 3, the authors obtained evaluations of practice from athletes' diaries. Across athletes, length of time involved in fitness activities was not related to performance. For the triathletes, a significant percentage of variance in performance was captured by practice. This was not so for sprint events for the swimmers, in which gender was a significant predictor. In the diaries, physical activities were perceived as enjoyable. In contrast to the results obtained from questionnaires, enjoyment did not covary with an activity's relevance to improving performance. Although these findings highlight the importance of sport-specific practice, the authors question a domain-independent account of expertise based on deliberate practice.
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