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Developing Skill Through Deliberate Practice

When you have been shooting well in the past, nothing matters and everything is quiet between your ears. But how does this “not thinking” occur?

When you are shooting well, it’s as if the brain already knows what it needs to do to hit the targets and it just happens without thought. But how does this “no thought” situation really occur?

In his book “Peak,” Anders Ericsson explains how the brain sees skill as a pattern of sequential events based on how many times you have fired the sequence with intent and a plan. And all skill is stored in your long-term memory.

As you develop a skill through deliberate practice you, through repetition, repeat the parts of the skill enough times so that the brain chunks together all of the parts in the sequence. It eventually turns into a mental representation. At that point, the brain can reproduce all parts sequentially in a consistent manner without thought, and the brain looks at all the parts coming together as one thing.

So, let’s say that each chunk of the skill took five seconds to perform and there were a total of ten chunks/parts in the skill. Then the total amount of time it takes for the brain to fire the skill circuit would be 50 seconds. Eventually (again through repetition) as your brain begins the sequence, it recognizes the sequence after the first few chunks.

It just takes over and the sequence just happens without you thinking about it!