Tag Archives: 10000-hour rule

Finding The Meaning Of The Sports Gene – An Interview With David Epstein

via Dan Peterson

If you watch this video of a young Lionel Messi, who was probably still working towards his 10,000 hours of structured practice total at the time, you can’t help but wonder what secret ingredient he has in his genes.  He clearly has something else, something that was already there at age 5 and something that the other kids didn’t have. David Epstein, former senior writer at Sports Illustrated, has been on a search for that extra something.  In his new book, The Sports Gene, Epstein launched himself directly into the nature vs. nurture, genes vs. practice and natural vs. self-made debates about athletic greatness. I recently had a chance to chat with David …

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10,000 Hours Of Practice May Not Be Enough

via Dan Peterson

The 10,000 hour theory has become the American dream for developing athletes. Just work hard enough and your gold medal, Hall of Fame, championship ambitions can come true. It is achievable, measurable and finite.  Many athletes never quite cross the 10,000 hour finish line, and have used the scapegoat reason, “I just didn’t have enough time to commit to the sport.” However, recent research suggests that while 10,000 hours of deliberate practice may be necessary to achieve world-class status, it may not be the only ingredient to success. Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, a research paper by Florida State professor K. Anders Ericsson, The Role of Deliberate Practice in the …

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Learning To Be The Next Eric Clapton Or Tiger Woods

via Axon Sports

Despite being a well-respected cognitive psychology professor at New York University, Gary Marcus had a secret ambition; to shred amazing riffs that would make Eric Clapton envious. The fact that he had been gently told as a child he had no sense of rhythm or tone did not discourage his dream. With a one year sabbatical from NYU available, he turned himself into a lab experiment of how to teach a middle-aged dog new “licks”. At about the same time, Dan McLaughlin was growing restless with his career as a commercial photographer in Portland. To him, life as a professional golfer seemed to be the dream destination if only he could …

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For Youth Athletes, It’s All About The Struggle

via Axon Sports

As parents and coaches of youth athletes, we walk a fine line in our communications with our emerging superstars about their abilities.  What may sound like a great pat on the back, (“that was amazing how you just knew to make that pass – you’ve really got a knack for this sport”), may actually limit their future development and motivation, according to two development psychologists. It all goes back to the fundamental debate in talent development of any kind.  Are we born with certain skills and expertise or do we develop it with years of structured practice?  Researchers have argued along the entire spectrum of this question while practitioners have settled …

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The Growth Of Rory McIlroy’s Brain

via Axon Sports

At the young age of 22, Rory McIlroy is one of the top players on the PGA tour, while mere mortal golfers wish they could play half as well as the young Irishman. Well, chances are Rory’s brain actually has more gray matter than the average weekend duffer. Researchers at the University of Zurich have found that expert golfers have a higher volume of the gray-colored, closely packed neuron cell bodies that are known to be involved with muscle control. The good news is that, like Rory, golfers who start young and commit to years of practice can also grow their brains while their handicaps shrink. Executing a good golf swing …

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Is Working Memory The Secret Weapon Of Aaron Rodgers?

via Axon Sports

Of course, the ongoing debate in the sports world is if great perceptual awareness and quick decision making are gifts you’re born with or ones you can develop with practice. At the center of the debate for the last 20 years, Florida State psychology professor K. Anders Ericsson has held to a theory that enough deliberate practice, described as a focused activity meant to improve a specific skill, can make up for or even circumvent the lack of general, innate abilities. His research has shown that about 10,000 hours of practice is the minimum required to rise to an expert level of most knowledge domains, including sports.

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Neuroplasticity, Divers and the Athletic Brain

via Axon Sports

Our last post here centered on neuroplasticity and the way that training creates real, visible changes in the brains of athletes.  We referenced a study of Chinese professional divers, who showed enlargement in certain brain areas associated with learning and processing movement.  Back in March, Wired magazine did a nice story summarizing the research: In a new study published last month in PLoS ONE, a research team led by Jing Luo from the Institute of Psychology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences compared the brains of elite divers to those who were not involved in intense physical training or professional sport. To offset the chances that differences found deep within the …

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Common threads in the history of elite performers

via Axon Sports

The relationship between the hard work of thousands of athletes over their early careers and the finished product of elite athletes on a professional field of play is roughly comparable to that of our nationwide system of slaughterhouses and a glossy photo of a steak in something like Gourmet magazine. How do expert, elite athletes become expert and elite? We know generally: hard work, talent, deliberate practice, a certain never-say-die attitude, etc. But what are the more nuanced common threads? Are there more subtle predictors or commonalities lurking beneath the surface? A new research effort, the Pathways to Podiums project, is aiming to capture this more detailed picture of the road …

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Malcolm Gladwell-moderated panel on building the modern athlete at MIT Sports Analytics Conference

via Axon Sports

Embedded below is the keynote panel discussion from the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference at MIT, which just recently wrapped up in Boston and brings together a lot of the people doing the most forward-thinking research in sports. The conference began in 2007, small and basically a total geekfest, but has doubled in size every year since and now gets a fair amount of attention in more mainstream media outlets. (Note: The first 16:30 of the video is full of introductory talking about the conference and is boring, and for some reason the video doesn’t let you jump forward.  But if you start the video and then pause it, it loads up …

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