"Not all of us have to possess earth-shaking talent. Just common sense and love will do." - Myrtle Auvil.
To be good in any field, one has to practice whatever has been learnt. One has to practice many variations and applications of the learnings. That is the simple, common-sense based method of learning to be an expert or even a master.
If we talk about programming, it is important to practice developing small tools, applications or components, even if it has been done before. Each of us have to learn the basics and fundamentals with examples to be able to equip ourselves for the challenges in executing projects. The more examples we work out, we are exposed to lot of algorithms and data structures. The more variations we are aware of, the better the chances that we will come up with efficient solutions to the real-world applications.
Here I would like to point out how this concept of "practice" was incorporated and ingrained in us at school. Our teachers of English and Mathematics used this concept to ensure not only the bright students, but all students get to know the basics of the subjects.
For example, the mathematics teacher would teach a concept, say solutions to quadratic equations. Later in some of the classes he will hold impromptu tests where in he would dictate 25 problems in 5 minutes and ask us to return the results after another 5 minutes. By repetition of many problems, even the average student was good in solving the problems and the bright students were able to solve all problems very quickly.
In English, grammar exercises were given special importance. Even though the lessons had only a dozen exercise items, our teachers used to give us 100s of challenges for various concepts including (a) convert from active voice to passive voice and vice-versa (b) convert from direct speech to indirect speech and vice versa (c) metaphors, similies (d) idioms. These were covered so much so that we had learnt conjugation of pretty much all transitive and in-transitive verbs and ability to deal with these language elements with ease.
Not only did we learn the basics and fundamentals well but an important lesson that 'Practice makes us perfect' was inculcated into most of us. This has been valuable and stood by our progress in life as the foundation to help us develop into solution providers for challenges in our jobs.