The Acquisition of Skill and Expertise (the role of practice and other activities)

Review by: William A. Harper
By P.R. Ford and A.M. Williams

The Big Idea

The Big Idea

The American golfer Arnold Palmer (1929-2016) once said “It’s a funny thing, the more I practice the luckier I get.”  Risking over-simplification, Palmer’s witty observation is a fair one-sentence summary of this discussion on what research tells the coach about developing elite soccer players.  Risking over-complication, the deeper question isn’t how much one practices, but how much one practices the right kind of practice.  The authors of this paper urge coaches and players who strive to be in elite soccer circles to pay more attention to research-based principles in designing practice and learning sessions.  These principles may have far more power to create Palmer’s “luck” than emulation of other coaches, historical precedent, instinct, or hunch.