Video Games and Deliberate Practice

In All, Blog by Robert PoolLeave a Comment

I’m always on the lookout for examples of people using deliberate practice to get better in new and surprising areas, so I was delighted when Anders sent me a link to a Reddit post about deliberate practice and StarCraft II, a video game. But I was blown away by just how well the author of this post had learned the lessons of Peak.

The problems facing someone wanting to use deliberate practice to improve at a video game are similar to the problems you run across in many other areas. First and foremost, there are few, if any, teachers or coaches who can help you improve in a specific video game, and there are few well tested training techniques that you can put to work. This means that you are usually on your own, working by trial and error to increase your skill. Second, it can be hard to know exactly what skills you should be working to develop in the first place. Sure, it’s usually desirable to improve your speed, but how? Do you practice certain sets of motions so that you can perform them more quickly? Do you look for more efficient motions? Do you work on your mental representations so that you can quickly recognize and respond appropriately to certain situations?

I thought that the author of the post, who goes by Osiris1316, did an outstanding job of offering a practice technique that would improve a certain aspect of a player’s skill — and that could serve as a template for other exercises. Because I’ve never played StarCraft II (or anything like it), I couldn’t follow the specifics of the exercise, but it was clear that it was tightly focused on improving one specific skill through a series of well defined drills where the performance could be measured via a statistics function provided by the game.

Perhaps I was overly influenced by Osiris1316’s comment that he was treating Peak as if it were the New Testament, at least in terms of training for StarCraft II, but I do believe that you’ll find it worth your time to read over his (relatively short) article, no matter whether you’re a StarCraft II player or simply someone looking for ideas about how to apply deliberate practice in your own field.

Read it here.

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