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  • Book a Tour at ATI Austin

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  • Book a Tour at ATI East Village

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  • Book a Tour at ATI San Francisco

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  • Book a Tour at ATI St. Louis

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What Does It Take to Achieve Excellence?

  • Michael Strong

For many decades, researchers who have focused on achieving excellence in all realms have studied the practices of star performers and exceptionally capable learners. Mastery requires a careful focus on and commitment to improving the quality of one's own practice—it is an ongoing process of refinement of technique whether in music, writing, mathematics, chess, coding, or any other practicable domain.

Malcolm Gladwell made a subset of this research famous in his book Outliers, which introduced the world to the notion that it took 10,000 hours of deliberate practice to become world-class in any field.

In order to refine the quality of one's practice, one typically requires the following:

  1. An expert coach who can identify flaws in performance and correct them, ideally in real time.

  2. External metrics.

  3. An internal evaluation process against a clearly understood standard of excellence.

In most cases, achieving world-class performance in any domain requires all three.

Educators who elicit world-class performance clearly take an interest in the overall personal lives of their students, and pair this with providing specific, actionable feedback that a student can practice and adopt as that student's own internalized standard. Every member of ATI's teaching and mentoring team understands that caring for the whole human being is a prerequisite to eliciting excellence from the aspiring adolescent performer. At ATI's core is this model, in which each of our educators is focused holistically on the well-being of each teen.

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