The Power of Practice
“It is a mistake to think that the practice of my art has become easy to me. I assure you, dear friend, no one has given so much care to the study of composition as I. There is scarcely a famous master in music whose works I have not frequently and diligently studied.” ― Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
The Kumon Program can be compared more accurately to sport and music training than to traditional tutoring. When children learn how to play the violin or baseball, results are not expected to happen overnight, although they are asked to practice often. Becoming good at the piano, tennis, math, or reading requires a commitment to steadily practicing and not giving up. Instructors are academic coaches that guide children to improve their skills through practice and to reach specific goals.
There are two stages in learning a particular skill: the thinking stage and the knowing stage. When children learn how to play basketball, they need to think about how to correctly shoot the ball. But if all the players have to think about it each time, they cannot win a game. You have to know how to shoot to win a game. The transition from the thinking stage to the knowing stage is achieved through practice. Practice enables us to know how to do things automatically and it decreases the risk of making a mistake. This is why, despite being the greatest basketball player in the game, LeBron James stays late after the team practice to deliberately practice his free throw shots. Continuing to practice the fundamentals is how you become and stay excellent.
“Basketball is an intricate, high-speed game filled with split-second, spontaneous decisions. But that spontaneity is possible only when everyone first engages in hours of highly repetitive and structured practice ― perfecting their shooting, dribbling, and passing and running plays over and over again ― and agrees to play a carefully defined role on the court. . . . spontaneity isn’t random.” ― Malcolm Gladwell