Evening Lectures - Pensacola

Mark Williams

THE TALK: What Makes an Expert?

March 24, 2022


In this talk, Dr. William’s will highlight some of the key factors underpinning the development of expertise in a variety of professional domains including sports.

While invariably nature and nurture interact on the path to excellence, he will highlight some of the typical practice activities that experts engage in to develop the key skills needed to progress, with a particular emphasis on sports.

The importance of deliberate practice, or what may be viewed as growth training is highlighted. This talk will identify some of the key psychological factors that have an impact on the development of expertise, illustrating how athletes cope better with stress and avoid choking in high-performance settings. Dr. William’s will emphasize how practice should be structured to facilitate the more rapid acquisition of expertise in sports, and across various other professional domains.


Dr. Williams is a Senior Research Scientist at IHMC. Prior to IHMC, he was at the University of Utah where he was Professor and Chair, Department of Health, Kinesiology, and Recreation. Dr. Williams has previously held senior leadership positions in the UK (Head of Life Sciences, Brunel University London) and Australia (Associate Dean for Research, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Sydney).

His research interests focus on the neural and psychological mechanisms underpinning the acquisition and development of expertise. Professor Williams has published almost 300 journal articles in peer-reviewed outlets in numerous fields including exercise and sports science, experimental psychology, neuroscience, and medicine. He has written 18 books, 77 book chapters, 60 professional articles, 113 journal abstracts, and he has delivered almost 200 keynote and invited lectures in over 30 countries.

He is Editor-in-Chief for the Journal of Sports Sciences, the Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, and the journal Human Movement Science. He has sat on the editorial boards of the Scandinavian Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, Frontiers of Cognition, and Frontiers in Psychology: Performance Science, and Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology and has acted as a Guest Editor for several special issues of Journal of Sport Sciences, Journal of Motor Behavior, Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, and Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied.

He is a Fellow of the British Psychological Society, National Academy of Kinesiology, British Association of Sport and Exercise Science, and the European College of Sports Sciences. He has been a Visiting Professor at numerousinstitutions including Florida State University, Loughborough University, University of Florida, University of Calgary, University of British Columbia, University of the Mediterranean, University of Salzburg, and KU Leuven.