Author Daniel Coyle writes in The Little Book of Talent
that when we learn how to do something new, our immediate urge is to do it again – faster.
Coyle calls this the “Hey, look at me!” reflex.
This urge for speed is understandable, but it can lead to sloppiness, particularly with skills that require precision.
Instead, Coyle recommends slowing down the pace of practice.
As he puts it, super-slow practice works like a magnifying glass: “It lets us sense our errors more clearly, and thus fix them.”
Coyle points out that this deliberately slow practice is used in many “talent hotbeds.” For example, at the Spartak Tennis Club, students swing in such slow motion that they resemble ballet dancers. And performers at the Septien School of Contemporary Music learn a new song by singing one note at a time.
Another example is the professional golfer Ben Hogan, considered by many to have had the most technically sound swing in the history of the game. Hogan practiced his swings so slowly that when he finally made contact with the ball, it moved about an inch.
For Coyle, the lesson is: “It’s not how fast you can do it. It’s how slowly you can do it correctly.”