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Time Required
Long (2-4 weeks)
*Note: For this science project you will need to develop your own experimental procedure. Use the information in the summary tab as a starting place. If you would like to discuss your ideas or need help troubleshooting, use the Ask An Expert forum. Our Experts won't do the work for you, but they will make suggestions and offer guidance if you come to them with specific questions.

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We've all heard that "practice makes perfect," but what is the best way to practice? For example, does "mental practice" do any good? You'll need at least 9 volunteers for this project. Pick a well-defined sports activity, with a measurable outcome, such as shooting basketball free-throws (measure number of shots taken and number of shots made), or balancing on one foot on a slightly raised beam (measure how long you can do it; if it's too easy, try closing your eyes). Test all volunteers and record their performance. Assign one group to physically practice the activity daily for a specified amount of time; assign a second group to mentally practice the activity daily for the same amount of time; assign a third group to refrain from practicing the activity. Test performance of all volunteers again both 1 and 2 weeks later. Another idea: does it make a difference if your practice time is done all at once (e.g., one 5-minute session) or spread out during the day (e.g. five 1-minute sessions)? (Wiese, 2002, pp. 11-13; 16-18.)


Wiese, J, 2002. Sports Science: 40 Goal-Scoring, High-Flying, Medal-Winning Experiments for Kids. New York: John Wiley and Sons.
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General citation information is provided here. Be sure to check the formatting, including capitalization, for the method you are using and update your citation, as needed.

MLA Style

Science Buddies Staff. "Practice." Science Buddies, 20 Nov. 2020, https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project-ideas/HumBeh_p037/human-behavior/practice. Accessed 27 Sep. 2023.

APA Style

Science Buddies Staff. (2020, November 20). Practice. Retrieved from https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project-ideas/HumBeh_p037/human-behavior/practice

Last edit date: 2020-11-20
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