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“Talent” Is Overrated: Deliberate Practice and the Road to Excellence.

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Presentation on theme: "“Talent” Is Overrated: Deliberate Practice and the Road to Excellence."— Presentation transcript:

1 “Talent” Is Overrated: Deliberate Practice and the Road to Excellence


3 The Mystery  What makes an elite athlete so great? Or a musician? Or a chess player? – Natural talent? Genes? – Hard work? – Years of experience? – Opportunities  Good news? Excellent performance is in our hands far more than most of us ever expected.


5 Classic article in the field

6 The biggest enemy of talent isn’t genes, or opportunity, or luck. It’s poor practice. Because poor practice wastes time, creates bad habits, and, worst of all, gives us the deceptive feeling we’ve accomplished something when, in fact, we haven’t. -- Daniel Coyle, The Talent Code

7 Star performers and what they have in common  Tiger Woods – His father gave Tiger a putter when he was seven months old. – Before he was two he and his father were on a course practicing regularly. – Both father and son attribute Tiger’s success not to talent but to “hard work.”

8 Star performers and what they have in common  1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team

9 Star performers and what they have in common  “Many people say I'm the best women's soccer player in the world. I don't think so. And because of that, someday I just might be.”

10 Star performers and what they have in common Owns virtually every significant receiving mark including receptions (1,549); receiving yards (22,895); most 1,000-yard receiving seasons (14) … st 1,000-yard receiving seasons (14) … Had record 208 total touchdowns; 23,546 combined net yards … Super Bowl XXIII MVP… Named first-team All-Pro 11 consecutive seasons … 13 Pro Bowls …

11 Research  In past 30 years, scientists have looked into top- level performance in a wide variety of fields. Summary of Findings: – Natural talent doesn’t explain top-level performance – In fields such as chess, music, and sports, there is a pattern of elite performance related to practice (in both years and in type of practice) – Deliberate practice is the key.

12 Deliberate Practice  Design practice to work on specific skills. – Work to correct specific weaknesses.  Practice is cumulative. – Over the years it adds up. – And if you’re behind, it’s hard to catch up. – Ten years or 10,000 hours.

13 Elements of Deliberate Practice  Activity specifically designed to improve performance, often with a coach’s help.  Activity that can be repeated a lot – over and over and over again.  Careful monitoring of results.  Rellentless focus on weaknesses: highly demanding mentally.

14 Chess as sport

15 Examples of Deliberate Practice f.c. Barcelona Tiki-taka drills

16 Deliberate Practice and the Brain  Deliberate practice causes changes to the biochemical structure of the brain: – Increases myelin – Habits change from prefrontal cortex (where we consciously think) to the basal ganglia –

17 Deliberate Practice  Deliberate practice is difficult. – The chief constraint is mental. – The required concentration is so intense that it’s exhausting.  Why do some people have the passion to do it? – To put themselves through it day after day, year after year?  But they do it, and as a result, performance in all fields has improved dramatically in recent decades.

18 Deliberate Practice  Identify certain sharply defined elements of performance that need to be improved.  High repetition is the most important difference between regular practice and deliberate practice.  Deliberate practice is an effort of focused concentration and is mentally draining.  It’s sometimes not fun because we do things we’re not good at so we can correct mistakes.

19 Applying the Principles  Know where you want to go (goal-setting).  Practice, practice (deliberate practice): – Lots of repetitions – Lots of feedback – Lots of focus and concentration – Continually evaluate and seek out next weakness

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