Practice Perfect by Doug Lemov
Practice is paying costs up-front, so that you don't have to pay them when the fit hits the shan.
Lemov's relentless cost-cutting is reminiscent of BookOfFiveRings and its inner drive. Maintaining motivation should be his next book.
Everybody has the will to win; few people have the will to prepare to win. -- Bobby Knight
John Wooden seems to concur, offering would-be coaches this singular advice: Never mistake activity for achievement.
John Wooden said, about practice, that no error should go uncorrected.
The SEAL team also practiced the operation, over and over again. They built a full-scale replica of the bin Laden compound at Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan.
When Hatteberg describes his patience at the plate, he describes a different approach from simply waiting for the right pitch. He knew that the more he swung at balls, the greater the chance he would risk exposing his weakness, and once exposed he would either have to adjust his swing or lose his career. He therefore developed (1) his ability to hit almost anything, (2) his ability to know what pitches he could do something with, or the pitches he should look for, (3) his ability to look for those pitches, and (4) his ability to spot and avoid those pitches he knew he couldn't do anything with.
Shorten the feedback loop
In our own work, when we started to infuse practice into our workshops for teachers and school leaders, we found that the time to begin practice coincided with the sudden need for participants to take bathroom breaks.
The creation of the Apgar score allowed doctors and nurses to quickly and effectively evaluate the health of newborns from the moment of their birth, and it is a measure that continues today. Babies receive a score for their coloring, their pulse, their reflexes, their muscle tone, and their breathing, at one minute and again at five minutes after birth. The simple existence of this measure allowed doctors to systematically collect data that had previously not been used.
SUMMARY OF RULES
- Encode Success
Practice getting it right. Take the time to check for understanding and work for mastery before adding complexity. Remember, failure builds character better than it builds skills.
- Practice the 20
Be great at the things that matter most. Spend 80% of your time practicing the 20% of skills that are most important.
- Let the Mind Follow the Body
Get skills going on autopilot. Build up automated skills to master more complex situations.
- Unlock Creativity . . . with Repetition
You can't do higher level work if you are wasting brain power on the basics. Drill the fundamentals to free your mind to be creative when it matters most.
- Replace Your Purpose (with an Objective)
Purpose is not enough. Focus practice on measurable and manageable objectives.
- Practice Bright Spots
Tap into the power of what works. Find your strengths and use practice to make them stronger.
- Differentiate Drill from Scrimmage
To develop skills, use drills. Reserve scrimmage for evaluating performance readiness and mastery.
- Correct Instead of Critique
Help people repeat a task in a concretely different way rather than simply telling them what was wrong.
- Analyze the Game
The skills needed to deliver a winning performance are not always obvious. Watch, gather data, analyze, and let yourself be surprised.
- Isolate the Skill
New skills are best taught and practiced in isolation. Challenge yourself to define small, specific skills and to craft precise drills for each.
- Name It
Give skills a name and create a shared vocabulary for practice in order to focus peoples discussion and reflection.
- Integrate the Skills
After initial mastery, weave together multiple skills in increasingly complex environments and situations.
- Make a Plan
Great practices depend on great planning. Create plans with data-driven objectives, detail activities down to the last minute, then rehearse and revise.
- Make Each Minute Matter
Every moment is precious. Find efficiencies and make them a routine part of practice.
- Model and Describe
Good teaching requires both showing and explaining to ensure understanding.
- Call Your Shots
When modelingwhether it may be a specific technique or how to run a meetingalert observers to what youre trying to demonstrate so they see it happen. Help them watch strategically and with intention.
- Make Models Believable
Flawless modeling in ideal settings can be easy to dismiss. Ensure that modeling occurs in conditions that are true to life and credible.
- Try Supermodeling
Directly modeling a skill in context is an opportunity to show how other skills can be applied.
- Insist They Walk This Way
Many people resist imitating others, thinking its cheating or uncreative. But sometimes this is the best way to learn. Make copying a good word and tell people what they should strive to copy.
- Model Skinny Parts
Break down complex skills into narrow steps, modeling each part separately. Let people succeed and then stop before they try to do more than they can successfully execute.
- Model the Path
Modeling the perfect result can sometimes lead to poor performance. Model the process of how to achieve as well as the achievement itself.
- Get Ready for Your Close-up
Video has many advantages. You can edit what gets shown, highlight important points, analyze, and review. Use it to capture real-life situationsboth in the performance and in practice.
- Practice Using Feedback (Not Just Getting It)
Its one thing to accept feedback; its another to actually use it. Make putting feedback into practice right away the expectation.
- Apply First, Then Reflect
Reflection is worthwhile, but it is best done after youve tried out feedback, not before.
- the Feedback Loop
Feedback works best when its given (and used) immediately. Timing of feedback (and the right time is right away) beats strength of feedback every time.
- Use the Power of Positive
Feedback is not just a tool for repair. Identify what people do right, help them repeat it, and guide them to apply it in other settings.
- Limit Yourself
Too much feedback is overwhelming. Feedback from too many sources is confusing. Discipline yourself and others to keep feedback focused and productive.
- It an Everyday Thing
Make feedback the norm by consistently giving and receiving it from the start. Create an environment where feedback is not only accepted but welcomed.
- Describe the Solution (Not the Problem)
Make sure guidance is specific, actionable, and tells people what to do. Find ways to abbreviate frequently-given solutions to make them easier and faster to apply.
- Lock It In
To insure feedback is fully received as intended, ask recipients to summarize it, prioritize important parts, and identify their first step in implementation.
- Normalize Error
People will not take risks if they are afraid to fail. Approach error as an opportunity to learn.
- Break Down the Barriers to Practice
Practice can be stressful and sometimes scary. Develop strategies for overcoming barriers in order to start practicing successfully.
- Make It Fun to Practice
Integrate elements of play, competition, and surprise to cultivate an environment where practice is both valued and enjoyed.
- Everybody Does It
In a true culture of learning, top leadership cant just stand back and watch. Model risk taking and openness to feedback in order to invest others in practice.
- Leverage Peer-to-Peer Accountability
When people on teams make mutual commitments to each other, investment and follow through are more likely to occur.
- Hire for Practice
Build a team that is open and ready to do the hard work of practice. Ask candidates to practice and implement your feedback.
- Praise the Work
Normalize praise that is meaningful and supports the work your team is doing. Praise actions, not traits. Differentiate acknowledgment from praise.
- Look for the Right Things
Closely align what you look for in performance with skills taught in practice. Create observation tools to keep a focus on the right things.
- During the Game (Don't Teach)
Performance is a time for cues and reminders. Introducing new skills should be reserved for practice.
- Keep Talking
Take the shared vocabulary developed during practice into the field. Finesse it to create a shorthand for communicating (but not teaching!) during performance and when debriefing.
- Walk the Line (Between Support and Demand)
Be the warm/strict coach. Reward hard work and communicate urgency when improvement is necessary.
- Measure Success
Measurement drives results. Gather data during performance to improve practice.