There are countless resources available for people looking to improve the performance in this area or that. It is a huge field, and it’s easy to find people promising to make you a better writer or golfer or salesman or spy. (Well, maybe not spy, although I have seen plenty of lessons on lock picking, sending coded messages, and even following someone without being seen.) The main problem you will run into is separating the valuable stuff from the less valuable and the downright useless.
In writing our book and in talking with people in various fields, Anders and I have uncovered a variety of deliberate-practice-related resources for students and teachers/coaches that we believe to be valuable, and I have assembled a number of them here, with links.
But no one or two people have any chance of locating even a fraction of the needles lurking in the huge haystack, which is where you, the members of the worldwide deliberate practice community, come in. I am asking for your help in identifying helpful deliberate practice resources for different fields. If you would like to recommend such resources — books, websites, instructors, etc. — please fill out the contact form below and submit it.
This is what I am looking for: First and foremost, whatever you recommend should be based on the principles of deliberate practice. It does not have to specifically mention “deliberate practice,” but it needs to at least be deliberate practice in spirit. Thus there must be, for instance, a focus on using specific training techniques that target specific weaknesses or areas that need to be improved. There should be some sort of feedback so that it is clear what needs working on. (This also implies some sort of objective or semi-objective measure of performance. If you can differentiate between good and bad, better or worse, how do you know what you’re trying to accomplish with your training?)
More generally, there must be a practice component. I’m not interested in any program that implies people can get better merely by reading a book, watching a video, or listening to a lecture and then going out and applying whatever brilliant insights are provided. People don’t get better by reading or watching or listening. They get better by thinking and doing, especially doing.
Also, if you are going to recommend a resource, it would be preferable if you yourself have some personal experience with it. Ideally, you will have tried it yourself and found it to be helpful. If not, it would be helpful if you have explored it in some details and have good reason to believe that it is valuable. Perhaps you recognize that it is based on solid deliberate practice principles — that’s a good start. Or perhaps there is some clear evidence that it helps people improve. (You have to be careful here, though. Personal testimonials are always suspect unless you know and trust the person. You can find testimonials on the Internet about the effectiveness of just about anything, from crystals and chakras to homeopathy, witchcraft, and sending in donations to that well-dressed preacher on the TV who promises you’ll soon be rich.)
I will post those recommended resources that I judge to be likely to be valuable, and I would appreciate feedback on those choices, either positive or negative. I believe that the best way to identify useful resources will be through the combined wisdom and experience of the deliberate practice community, so please pitch in.
I have divided the resources into sections to make it easier to find what you’re looking for. To get to these sections you can click on the links below or use the general website menu:
Books: general books on deliberate practice and expert performance as well as related topics.
Websites: general-interest websites about deliberate practice and related topics. To find websites that are focused more specifically on helping you improve in a given area or on helping teachers/coaches, look for those areas in the students and teachers sections.
Students/individuals: websites and other resources, including academies and individual teachers, coaches, consultants, etc., aimed at individuals looking to improve their skills in specific areas. These resources are further broken down into the following areas: music, sports, writing, general. As more resources are added, the number of areas will undoubtedly grow.
Teachers and coaches: websites and other resources aimed at assisting teachers, coaches, etc. in using deliberate practice to help others develop skills. These resources are further broken down into the following areas: music, sports, K-12 and higher education, general. As more resources are added, the number of areas will undoubtedly grow.
Parents: resources for parents helping their children learn and improve in specific areas. Parents should also pay attention to the resources for students and individuals, as these may also be helpful.