Here's a link to a Code Kata site. It discusses the importance of practice in the software industry. It seems like the basic theory is "If musicians and athletes believe that practice is extremely important, why don't developers (and organizations that develop software)?"
At the moment I'm not aware of any software organization that takes time out for skills practice, unless training on new products or languages counts ... and I don't think it does. Kudos.
As a final note, a friend mentioned that you can also think of these Code Kata exercises as potential programming interview questions. Now that's a motivator, just imagine your given these code kata exercises as job interview questions.