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  • Noa Kageyama

    March 27, 2021 at 9:50 pm

    Hi Eva,

    This is a great question, and I wish I could provide a more straightforward, structured answer, but the tricky thing is that it all kind of depends. =)

    A diving coach once explained to me how they structured their athletes’ practices, and their focus was often on trying to keep everyone in their “zone of proximal development”. As in, that sweet spot of being just out of your comfort zone, but not too far out. And this zone continuously changes as your skills grow, so it’s a moving target.

    A volleyball coach once also spoke about this a bit, and basically sought to add increasing amounts of interference via interleaved practice, variable practice, etc. whenever it seemed the players were getting a bit too comfortable with what was being asked of them.

    My take on interleaved is that it’s a really useful tool for adding more interference, and for getting better at retrieving skills. So you’re right that I don’t think it’ll be possible to do interleaved with everything, all the time. I think the challenge is to figure out what is at that stage of learning, that interleaved helps you achieve your goals more than some other kind of practice.

    So I think interleaved probably makes the most sense as you get into the middle stages of learning a piece, where it’s sort of in your fingers to some degree, and it’d be useful to start practicing getting things right the first time.

    Does that help to clarify a little bit?


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