I previously discussed the many tiers of a player's development. This tier list can be applied to almost any game or sport, but I've specifically tailor-made it for chess. Now that we have an outline, I'll take some time to break down some of the gaps to help you find a solution to which stage you may be struggling to develop in.
When many people hear the term amateur they consider it code-word for "bad player" who is incapable of performing at any sort of admirable performance. While this applies to some players who remain un-crafty for the entirety of their career, it's not an accurate definition. An amateur is someone who lacks an expertise, or polished skill set in a particular trade. Amateurs will remain amateur's as long as they indulge purely for the fun. Not passion... but fun.
So what's an advanced player?
Advanced players are those who combine abstract concepts to technical motifs. In other words... they make decisions to advance their specific position. The first true milestone of a soon-to-be expert class player. Advanced players are not always great players as a whole, however they have the foundation required to outperform a large portion of players as well as compete with those at the top of the game (with at least some remote hope).
It's always exciting to watch an advanced competitor play a professional because the advanced player will make good moves despite being completely outclassed. Very admirable! Sometimes even more exciting than semi pro vs pros though the odds say other -wise.
What does it take to make the jump from being an amateur to being an advanced player?
1. One has to study the basics and master them. They must surrender to the fact that they are fundamentally broken... and that's okay as long as they intend to make a change.
2. When one performs, they must play as every move they make is a critical decision.Eliminate impulsive choices unless they serve a specific purpose.
3. They must accept that they will lose a lot before practical improvement can occur. It may take a few months to several years depending on time, intuition and resources.
4. They must have faith in their decision and take calculated risks. Worst case scenario is you loose a game as a hero.
Of course, advanced players will require a certain amount of experience and significant amount of training in order to develop such abilities. However, it's important to remember that ANYONE willing to put the effort in can reach such a player tier. Once you recognize what understand what an amateur and Advanced player is you will find the gap to be rather obvious.