I learned about slow practice in music a couple months ago. So when I discovered the book Slow Practice Will Get You There Faster, my curiosity jumped at the chance to learn more.
The author, Ernest Dras, writes about using slow practice techniques in tennis and golf. He refers to Ben Hogan, the Tiger Woods of his time, and a video of Hogan practicing his swing in slow motion. Go to the website for the book and watch the video labelled, "Ben Hogan Concentration Drill." Now, that video isn't in slow motion, it's Ben Hogan practicing a slow motion swing in perfect form.
The theory is that when you practice at a slow pace you make few mistakes and cut a path in your brain's neural network that you will retain when performing. The author uses an analogy to convey the concept: When deer cut a path through a forest, they move slowly. Then, when the path is clear and clean, they move at full speed through the forest.
To my delight, the book included this practice technique that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart learned from his father, Leopold:
The elder Mozart would place ten dried peas in his son's left coat pocket, and for each successful attempt at a difficult passage, Mozart would move a single pea to his right pocket. When he failed on any piece, even if it was the tenth repetition, all the peas had to be placed back in his left pocket — Wolfgang had to begin anew. What usually happens when using this method is that the student slows down his tempo in order to play the passage perfectly.
Tip: You don't always have to have a higher IQ than the competition. When you understand certain learning or practice techniques, you shine a light on your brilliance that others will reward.