Skill is a level of performance in any given task that can be acquired only through practise. Indeed, one can consider any skilled professional as a person who has had the motivation to practise one thing far more (for approximately 10,000 hours extended over more than 10 years20) than most people could endure (BOXES 2,3). Across a wide range of tasks, the relationship between one measure of skill, the speed of task completion and the number of practise trials is well approximated by a power law21 (FIG. 1). This implies that performance continues to improve with task-relevant practise indefinitely, although the rate of improvement declines over time. Of course, most of the relevant data comes from tasks learnt for short periods of time in the laboratory. However, it is worth highlighting one classic study that reported performance of an industrial cigar rolling task22. The study included workers who had produced in excess of ten million cigars over seven years of work and they were still getting faster!Cool!
Inside the brain of an elite athlete: the neural processes that support high achievement in sports
Kielan Yarrow, Peter Brown and John W. Krakauer §
Nature Reviews Neuroscience Volume 10 | AugusT 2009