Operationalising deliberate practice for performance improvement in sport
In this chapter, we provide a brief review of deliberate practice research and theory, and its application to sport. Our review suggests that key parts of the original definition and study of deliberate practice have not been observed in athletes. Therefore, we detail our method of operationalising deliberate practice with athletes and teams. The six steps we use are summarised in the acronym ASPIRE: (A) analyse current performance to determine the key aspect/s requiring improvement; (S) select the aspect to be practiced, the best method/s to do so, and goals for practice and later performance; (P) practice that key aspect; (I) including feedback to each performer during and after practice and; (R) repetition of the aspect in a representative environment; and finally (E) evaluate by analysing current performance for the amount that the key aspect has improved. Examples are provided of ASPIRE for a team and individual athletes. In the final section, we explain how ASPIRE is part of what we term a deliberate environment in which all athlete activities and processes are orchestrated to be goal-directed towards improving their future performance.