Engaging in more deliberate practice: The role of self-regulated learning for competitive athletes


Considerable amounts of deliberate practice (DP) involving hard work, fatigue, or mundane conditions are needed to develop expertise (Ericsson et al., 1993). Sustained persistence in this kind of practice could be aided by athletes' engagement of self-regulated learning (SRL) processes (Tedesqui & Young, 2015). SRL includes adaptive motivational and metacognitive processes such as planning and self-monitoring that allow an aspiring athlete to get the most out of practice. We aimed to examine the relation between SRL and DP in four practice contexts (i.e., supervised, unsupervised, social, non-social). 266 individual sport athletes (from city to international level; M sport activity =12.95 hrs/wk; 196 males, ages 18-35) completed an adapted version of the Self-Regulation of Learning Self-Report Scale (Bartulovic & Young, 2016; Toering et al., 2010) and a measure of DP (Hopwood, 2013). Linear regressions were conducted to determine whether DP amounts were predicted by (a) a composite SRL score, and (b) six constituent SRL processes (planning, self-monitoring, evaluating, reflecting, effort, self-efficacy). Results revealed self-monitoring predicted total DP hours (β = .19, p < .01) as well as DP in supervised (β = .26, p < .01) and social settings (β = .26, p < .01). Planning predicted DP in supervised (β = -.18, p = .01) and social settings (β = -.17, p = .02). Effort was associated with DP in supervised settings (β = -.13, p = .04). We discuss the potential role of self-monitoring as a key SRL process for DP and comment on the lack of, or counterintuitive relations, between DP and other regulatory processes, including methodological considerations.

Acknowledgments: This research was funded in part by a SSHRC grant held by B. Young and J. Baker (430-2015-00904)