Hours to reach certain NTRPs: Statistical Evidence

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by HunterST, May 14, 2011.

  1. HunterST

    HunterST Hall of Fame

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    These are very, very good points. Neither side can be proven or disproven. You also raise a good issue about how falsifiable the claims are.

    To me, the problem is really that we're working for different, yet equally valid, definitions of talent.

    tal·ent   
    [tal-uhnt] Show IPA
    –noun
    1. a special natural ability or aptitude: a talent for drawing.
    2. a capacity for achievement or success; ability: young men of talent.

    I, along with the others supporting the info from the Talent Code, am dealing with number one. I don't believe anyone is born with a natural ability for music, sports, or any other endeavor.

    The other side working from the 2nd definition. A capacity for achievement. Height does not affect your actual skill for the game of basketball, but it certainly affects your capacity for success.

    So, both opinions are valid. However, I truly believe most people think of talent as the first definition.
     
  2. GuyClinch

    GuyClinch Hall of Fame

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    Code for you made up random stuff based on bogus assumptions and you don't like it when people don't agree. And no that's not a 'bitter attack' that's how I see it.

    Not everyone who disagrees with you is bitter. Get over it..
     
  3. HunterST

    HunterST Hall of Fame

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    [​IMG]
     
  4. mightyrick

    mightyrick Hall of Fame

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    C'mon Hunter. Fill out the Butthurt form:

    [​IMG]
     
  5. HunterST

    HunterST Hall of Fame

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    Can I see how you filled it out as an example to go off of? I don't have the 10,000 hours of practice filling them out like you do. :)
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2011
  6. GuyClinch

    GuyClinch Hall of Fame

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    My god its like you are trolling yourself. You complain about bitter posters when your the one overflowing with anger and bitterness.

    In all seriousness I apologize for the you haven't had 10,000 hours debating joke. And it really was meant to be a joke.

    I didn't mean to get you so upset. I actually agree with the basic concept of the talent code...that you need to work hard to achieve great things.

    I totally don't know you and think you seem like a very pleasant poster and are probably a great guy. So its not personal at all. I was teasing.

    Peace.
     
  7. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

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    Maybe he meant he's played tennis for a total of 4.0 hours? :wink:
     
  8. ProgressoR

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    to be honest to OP, I agree that some of the reaction to his posts were borderline aggressive and it probably wasnt necessary.

    I think its a neat theory and interesting to see the facts that back it up, and like we said, you cant really prove it one way or the other, but it seemed the nay-sayers were getting pretty aggressive for some reason.
     
  9. nomie

    nomie New User

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    If you are interested Martin Baldridge discussed this topic as it applies to tennis in his book, you can find it here:

    http://www.soyouwanttowinwimbledon.com/GARY SAMPLE CHAPTER.pdf
    Just search for:
    A MINIMUM OF 10,000 HOURS OF DELIBERATE PRACTICE

    He has some quotes from Neuroscientists and other people that confirm the 10000 hour rule.

    However he estimates Federer took about 7000 hours of practice to crack the top-100 and the Williams sisters about 12000 hours.

    So even though you need a significant amount of hours to achieve the top level, sheer talent may still significantly affect the deviation from the 10000 hours - as 10000 hours is the average number of hours needed, not the absolute.

    Personally I don't think this extrapolates down to the lower levels of the sport at all. I think the lower the level, the more effect talent has on your ability to perform at that level. Ive seen this a lot. Someone takes lessons for a year just to be totally demoralized by a person who has never picked up a racket pitching up and beating them.
     
  10. GuyClinch

    GuyClinch Hall of Fame

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    No doubt - like i said a good athlete can step right in and play at pretty high levels with very limited practice time..

    Huh. Would have thought the Williams sister would have made it with less then 10,000. In fairness they got some bad instruction IMHO.

    Either way color me unconvinced in the 10,000 rule in sports. Why 10,000 hours? Does that mean with 9999 you are only a 6.5 LMAO..

    Anyway its probably better to think of the 10,000 hours as the amount of time you could practice and stop getting better - rather than the time it takes to get great. Because without talent you aren't going to get great..
     
  11. Ash_Smith

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    Nobody in the doubt camp has actually defined "talent" yet?

    Guy? MightyRick?
     
  12. GuyClinch

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    Talent in this thread is just defined as everything other then hard work/deep practice etc. "Nature" so to speak - where the practice is the "nurture."

    This is listed in the dictionary as 'endowment' if you want to be picky.

    An individual's "natural endowment" can be abilities, such as intelligence or strength, given at birth. (Another dictionary definition). This is the concept of talent that we are using here.

    The fact that talent can be defined in other ways has little effect on any doubt. We don't have to define it at all to doubt a theory.

    Moreover what I am doubting isn't the general (heavily borrowed) idea of the talent code.

    I am doubting that we can translate the 10,000 rule to VARIOIUS NTRP levels. There are so many gaps with this logic you could drive a truck through. And our OP admits he didn't mean for it to be taken seriously. Which is cool. So I'd rather not beat him about the head with it. As he points out he wasn't exactly trying to write a paper proving this point.

    FWIW (if you want some backaround), the 10,000 rule is old news and has been used by other authors in similiar and equally dubious ways that Coyle tries too.

    As MightyTrick pointed out in this thread - when some comes up with a counter example the 'excuses' quickly pop up. its well known that the Beatles honed their craft in Hamburg pubs..

    They played live and practice for I guess 10,000 (or so Gladwell has figured). And Gladwell's 'argument' is that it was this practice that lead to their awesome song writing ability.

    Here is what one music journalist had to say in reference to this:

    So again its the 10,000 rule is solid - except when it isn't. Hmm. Maybe the Beatles would have written great songs without 10,000 hours because you know they were like talented. <g>

    And if you don't know Jeff Buckley - its actually an amazing song..

    Anyway check out the article for yourself...

    http://www.nme.com/blog/index.php?b...well_is_wrong_about_the_&more=1&c=1&tb=1&pb=1

    The first line of the article is hilarious.

    It makes me wonder just HOW MANY authors can write books based on the idea that people need hard work to achieve their maximum potential? I know of 3 off the top of my head.. Amazing.
     
  13. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    But we have to remember for the concept of this thread, we are talking of Mastery, not just popular or even successful. I know the Beatles were amazingly popular and successful, but I don't know if they were concert quality musicians, as I don't know music that well or if they put in the hours. I think talent can make you successful before you reach a masterful level.
     
  14. mightyrick

    mightyrick Hall of Fame

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    Actually, I did. Do you read the posts of others completely? Or just your own?

    Here it is, below.

     
  15. ProgressoR

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    Rick, so a 50 year old guy with established strokes has more talent than a 12 year old picking up the racket for the first time and hitting the ball say 80% as good as the career 50 year old tennis player?

    Better performance = better talent? You seem to imply that from above.
     
  16. maggmaster

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    READ!!! Natural = innate mental and physical characteristics.
     
  17. mightyrick

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    The word natural in the definition is the key. And no, better performance does not mean better talent. I can't remember who said it, but someone once said that the world is filled with very talented people who are underachievers or failures.

    Some people are naturally stronger than others. Some people are naturally taller than others. Some people are naturally more intelligent than others. Some people have more innate depth perception and spatial perception than others. Some people are more right-brain versus left-brain.

    However, having talent doesn't give you a pass to ultimate success. You still have to work at it. You have to have persistence. You still have to work. But having natural talent means you may not have to work as hard to achieve a certain level at something... versus someone else. But you still have to work.

    Once you get to a certain level of mastery at any skill, you have to work to retain that mastery... no matter how much talent you have. The only ones that don't are complete exceptions such as prodigies and savants.
     
  18. nomie

    nomie New User

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    From what I've read on the subject, at the top level of sport like Tennis (and Chess for that matter) a human's brain works in one way and one way only: pattern recognition.

    This is the fastest way for your brain to figure out and respond to events. If you have to think about anything logically you take too long and you will lose.

    This is why most of beginner's mental capacity is taken up by thinking how to produce the current stroke and where to hit etc to while pro's can think of what to have for dinner tonight while doing exactly the same thing.

    As the neurologist said in the link I posted above: The 10000 hours is needed for the pretty slow chemical reactions in the brain that rewires your brain optimally for a particular activity.

    As others have pointed out, if you do not train correctly or frequently enough, this rewiring will just never happen completely.
     
  19. kul

    kul New User

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    Whew. heady, and heated, topic.

    So does it come down to this?
    No current ATP tennis player (say top 500?) has practiced for less than 10,000 hours...
     
  20. Avles

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    I'm not a big fan of the Beatles example. I think songwriting (and any sort of creative writing) is a really bad analogy for sports performance--it doesn't seem like the same kind of skill at all.

    Better analogies would be chess, or virtuosic musical performance-- I think excellence there will require massive amounts of practice (though there will be prodigies and natural 'endowment' definitely plays a big role). Jeff Buckley could write an awesome song in his first year as a musician, but nobody is going to win the Tchaikovsky Competition after a year of playing the piano no matter how talented they are. Bobby Fischer was a prodigy, but also apparently played (and studied) an insane number of chess games before his rise to the top.

    But of course you do need enough natural, innate ability to make that practice matter (and Magnus Carlsen could be a counterexample in chess-- doesn't seem like his success can be ascribed to quantity of practice).

    And not all activities follow the same pattern as high-level tennis, chess, and piano playing. Some activities (modeling, lower-level tennis, arguably basketball) will depend more on natural endowment and less on practice.
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2011
  21. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    That is correct, and actually many people know it, in theory at least. But a less known or less applied piece of knowledge is the inverse - if you have to work very hard at something, probably you are not good at it. It is a good check for students to decide what they want to do in life. Unfortunately, it has gotten blurred in recent years as students are told they can achieve anything if they put their mind to it, which is an overreaction to the days when some of them were routinely put down for certain social reasons.
     
  22. Ash_Smith

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    Nope, you defined Genetics. Not Talent.
     
  23. Ash_Smith

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    With the exception of height (which you cannot teach) all the other things you list can (and will be developed) from birth, obviously genetics plays a part, but that isn't Talent and isn't what we are talking about. Strength, spatial awareness, application of intelligence etc are all skills, skills are learned by whatever process and unique circumstances the individual is born into.

    Can you not understand that concept (or at least appreciate it's relevance)?

    Cheers
     
  24. ProgressoR

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    But Ash, i think talent is somewhat genetic. For example two of my daughters, one has great coordination and picks up all activities and sports quickly, the other is very very different in terms of motor skills and coordination, I dont think that is all down to post birth experiences, there must be something in their "genetic" make up that pre-disposes them one way or the other, dont you think?
     
  25. Ash_Smith

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    The more research I read, the more inclined I am to believe that more and more things are nurture (whether by design or otherwise) than nature. Like I said, genetics has to play a part in terms of height, and initial body composition etc, but I'm feeling more and more is developed rather than born.

    Out of interest, which one is which? Eldest or youngest is the more coordinated one?

    Cheers
     
  26. smoothtennis

    smoothtennis Hall of Fame

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    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Originally Posted by ProgressoR
    I used to think this, but I agree with 5263 here. What I see and have seen for year after year on the 'practice' courts is this: The same guys show up, and their 'idea' of practice is to keep hitting shots, hoping to improve. Very very very rarely do they stop, sit down, and truly understand what they need to change to meet stated goal of change. And then....have an action plan or drilling to change that.

    No, they play practice match after practice match 'hoping' that skill will suddently appear or change. There is too much going on in that scenario, and frankly without ISOLATION to work the specific change, nothing changes but the time of day when they finish practicing.

    Practice must absolutely be focused to work for change.
     
  27. ProgressoR

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    Eldest, Ash
     
  28. maggmaster

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    Everything cannot be nurture, outliers in IQ are not explained by nurture. The genetics of enhanced traits is a very complex field. Suffice it to say that using pattern recognition tests you can gauge the ability to learn of a relatively uneducated person to a fairly accurate degree. There is no nurture component to pattern recognition.
     
  29. Ash_Smith

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    at what point are you testing? Could the person have had some stimulus during their developmental years which led to their performing better in said tests?

    Cheers
     
  30. smoothtennis

    smoothtennis Hall of Fame

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    I am literally exhausted sitting here after trying to catch up on this thread. It turned into a ridiculous ******* contest.

    Let me try to offer a bit of real world perspective.

    There are exceptions to every rule or statistic for the most part ok? We all know that. Most of us here are NOT Federer or Mozart for crying out loud. Right?

    What that study/book says to me as a 4.0-4.5 is that next time I hit the practice court, I'll have excitement in what I am doing, and I will have some focus, and I will work my @ss off as much as possible.

    I expect to improve as a 'normal' member of the standard bell curve. I know I am not an influential outlier.

    For the normal guy, hey, I am going to practice harder and have good reason to get phyched up for the occasion.

    Yeah - thx for posting - I found the research very interesting.
     
  31. mightyrick

    mightyrick Hall of Fame

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    If you are saying that genetics, which pre-determines our chemical, mental, and physical makeup... isn't talent... then you and I can't talk any more about this.

    Out of the gate we disagree with the definition of talent. Which is exactly what I pointed out.

    I gave you my definition... which you said I didn't give. Then I reiterated it back to you and now you say... "Yes... you said that... but that's not talent." Ok, well, we're at an en passe then.

    If we can't agree on common terms for discussion, then the rest of the argument is moot. I can't discuss blue skies with you unless we agree on what "blue" is.
     
  32. Mick

    Mick Legend

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    imo, the toughest thing for the 'normal' guy to improve is to find a hitting partner who is as passionate about improving as he is. you can't get to 4.0 by just hitting against the wall and practicing the serve by yourself.
     
  33. smoothtennis

    smoothtennis Hall of Fame

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    Totally agree Mick --- I have partners who have been willing in the past, and now those who are willing in the present to drill and work hard, not just play the same 'ol stuff.

    We design drills for specific improvement, and then take it into practice match play - and then into tournament play where you 'really' prove it out on a peronal level.

    You are 100% right.
     
  34. smoothtennis

    smoothtennis Hall of Fame

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    You guys are at an empasse then? Really?! DRAW....now can anyone who finds this book or study interesting then continue with a productive discourse of how this can actually affect a person?

    Geez. MighyTrick - if you are really serious, just let it go then...let's see if you post again on this. *not placing any bets on this one.....*

    :shock:
     
  35. GuyClinch

    GuyClinch Hall of Fame

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    I don't think many people are. You have to understand (and Mighty Trick alluded to this) that these authors who the OP and Ash hold is such esteem are essentially storytellers. The beatles for Gladwell were a familiar reference and something easy for the layperson to relate too. So it makes for a nice story.

    These guys try to weave a story - to convince people of an argument instead of doing a study and using science to solve an issue.

    How do they do this? Anecdotal evidence - basically they pick and choose 'examples' to prove their 'point.' The problem of course (and again Mighty pointed this out first) is that they willfully ignore any evidence that doesn't fit their hypothesis.

    A perfectly good example is of course the recognized greatest genius of all - Albert Einstein. Where was his 'deep practice' - the guy was working in patent office for chrissake when he revolutionized the entire world as we know it.

    Even if we come up with some (likely bogus) explanation for his genius based on his enviroment where are the OTHER Einsteins? His backaround if you look at it wasn't particularly exceptional at all.. And yet no other Einsteins really..

    Of course anyone that doesn't fit the tidy '10,000' hours/deep practice theory is disregarded.

    Why do they do this? Well it screws up their story and their income potential. If they actually were honest in these books they would come out with alot of 'well its an interesting theory but we need more research.'

    As I said earlier even if we accept the music theory at face value its unlikely it would cross over to sports because of the massive physical component. A guy might have the perfect tennis 'mind' but have a terrible body for tennis.

    That's how sports work - its really about having the right body type - from that you can build your skills and dominate the sport. The Communist block did this for many many years with great success.

    The greatest swimmer ever - some would say the greatest athlete every Michael Phelps was born double jointed. He has the upper body of someone 6'8" and the lower bod of someone 5'10" and he has huge feet for his size. The say even his chest is double jointed..

    No doubt the guy worked hella hard to dominate swimming but his dominance is also grounded in his freakish traits. I have no doubt he swam 10,000 hours but the reason their aren't more guys like Phelps is because the weren't built like him.

    Call it talent or whatever I don't care. But its real.
     
  36. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    IMO what you have to remember here is that we are talking of mastery, not results or success. It's entirely possible that another swimmer may have more "Masterful" strokes than Phelps, but slightly slower times do to the lack of freakish physical gifts. One example that comes to mind for me is Dan Marino as one of the most masterful QB's at least in the last 50 yrs, but he never had the success of winning a Superbowl. Doug Floutie was another Masterful QB who even got little time in the NFL over his career due to the lack certain traits. Jordan and Kobe are good examples of two NBA players that could have very well just had normal avg careers, but became Masterful thru their well documented commitment to deep practice.
     
  37. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    IMO the lesson here is how important the deep practice is to mastering skills. Not only putting the the time, but the quality time, along with the commitment to improve.

    This discussion reminds me of a theory I have been forming over the last year about heavy training. I saw where others posed some math type formulas on this, so I'll give my simple one.

    Excellence = quality information +(heavy training)squared

    I'm not sure you could really put numbers in this equation and make it work, but it is to convey the idea that with good info added to heavy/deep training squared, you can begin to explore the excellence in your potential.
    I know in my past, I relied too heavily on information, but have over the years, realized how important the reps of deep training are to training for excellence. Also how as an athlete, what we train well to do is so much more important than what we "know" to do.
     
  38. smoothtennis

    smoothtennis Hall of Fame

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    Right - and I see two different ways it can be useful to a lay person.

    1. For the typical player like me, a rec player, but one who is proactive about improving - it demonstrates the usefulness of real honest quality practice. Like I said, people say they want to get better all the time, I hear it. But when they go out to practice, they are just playing sets thinking this is practice. I wouldn't call playing sets 'deep' practice.

    2. For a truly gifted and talented person - it demonstrates that there is not going to be some magical short cut to success. It can keep a person who is already achieving at a higher level patient and willing to have faith to stay in for the long haul. Intensity over time...
     
  39. ProgressoR

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    I will convince myself I fall into the group mentioned in 2 above, and that I am only 9,800 hours (approximately) away from being world class.

    Patience, patience.


    Darn i cant wait that long!
     
  40. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    I love it, lol!
     
  41. jht32

    jht32 Rookie

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    10000 hours to master highly technical skills.

    Dunking a basket is not a highly technical skill. If you are 8 feet tall, 0 hours of practice needed. If you are 4 feet tall, 10000 hours of practice will not get you there.

    Playing piano concertos is a highly technical skill. You have to put in the many hours of practice to master it. Chess is a highly technical skill. You cannot become a world class chess player without putting in many hours to memorize and know all the different chess positions strengths and weaknesses.

    Playing tennis is somewhere in between a highly technical skill and dunking a basketball. A great serve is somewhere in between. A great forehand is somewhere in between.
     
  42. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    And you need a very high IQ for it, which is essentially genetically determined.

    Brain scanning has shown how people's brains are wired differently right from birth. Even very small traits that you have come from the genes and their switches (epigenetics). Practice will make you decent, but genetics becomes the bottomline after a certain level. Epigenetics also plays a big role, in that the genes need to turned on and off, and this can be environmentally determined, so we are not saying genes are everything, but including this also in it.

    People are scared of the still-nascent science of genetics because it shakes up our attitudes ingrained over centuries, like that effort and sincerity are the key, etc. Genetics was also used to as a basis of discrimination, so people have a deep suspicion of it and prefer to believe in our ability to overcome it.
     
  43. HunterST

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    I haven't seen any evidence about the topic, but lets say there are geniuses with brains that are wired differently from birth. Those individuals would still have to put in the 10,000 hours of practice to become grandmasters at chess.

    In this thread, no one is citing credible studies regarding individual limitations. Therefore, the debate is meaningless and based purely on speculation.
     
  44. Hewex

    Hewex Semi-Pro

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    I love when you talk in the third person about Dozu...LOL
     
  45. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Or capbility of wiring is different from birth - I don't know the biological details, just saying that, from my experience, there is a huge difference in intelligence genetics-wise which can never be surmounted.

    I can show you math problems which a pretty "average" Professor at a University who is publicly not known as a genius will do in 5 minutes, which someone else will not be able to do in a lifetime, with the same education and books available to him. It is that bad. There is no way to sugarcoat this.

    In the 60s, IBM had the notion of Chief Programmers versus others on the team. It was measured that the output of Chief Programmers was 10 times the others, which caught everyone by surprise. So far, industry models were based on manufacturing or accountancy or stuff like that, and nobody suspected that two qualified people in the same company doing the same thing will have one 10 times more stupid than the other. Again, no way to sugarcoat this.

    I had a classmate who could read a fat textbook in 2 hours while having not read it for an entire semester, and then ace the exam. I have had classmates who, with the same preparation time and material, have scored 90% while others scored 20%.

    It is very clear in these areas, but for something like tennis, it gets clouded because we don't realize how much is the gap between the top players and others.

    If a coach tells you or your kid that he/she can achieve anything that he wants with proper coaching, beware.
     
  46. HunterST

    HunterST Hall of Fame

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    Sorry, but it's impossible to have a debate when one side is discussing a very different idea than the other. No one claims "anyone can achieve anything."

    The point is, to reach an expert level requires 10,000 hours of practice. Specifically, struggling to correct mistakes and achieve goals. No matter how talented you are, you need the hours.

    Are there cases where people are so hindered by genetics that they can never reach an expert level despite practice? Probably. For example, mentally handicapped people would likely never obtain expert level mathematical skills.

    However, for most people, the thing holding them back from their desired level is not genetics. That is, they're more likely to be (extremely) short of the 10,000 hours of practice than they are to have some physical condition holding them back from success.
     
  47. GuyClinch

    GuyClinch Hall of Fame

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    Wow calling yourself no one again? Didn't you postulate 10,000 hours for 7.0 NTRP. That's pro level. That in tennis terms is "Mastery" right?

    Prove it - we already saw the book that estimated Federer achieved pro level in only 7000 hours. But that's just tennis.
    Einstien achieved beyond mastery levels with zero hours of 'deep practice.' As did Jeff Buckley and Noel Gallagher..


    If by "expert level" you mean 5.0 - then sure. Otherwise if we are still talking about 7.0 there are LOTS of cases of people who will never achieve 7.0 status. You are greatly understimating the amount of favorable genetics (and epi-genetics) that are needed, IMHO

    It's probably the same for Chess players and Violin players - its just these guys drop out before achieving that status.

    What level do most people 'desire'. I think most people would like to be pro level - will they get there if they put in 10,000 hours? I don't think we can be sure of this.
     
  48. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Desired level is not the same as high level. I can set my desired level rather low. In fact, I have seen recommendations that the level should be a little above the capacity - the so called "stretch goals" used in management theory. When choosing a college for example, a student should strive to get into a place which will challenge him but where he will not get a C with curved grading in every class. Even if he desires more, he should not get into Caltech or MIT, as this will make him miserable for the rest of his life. I was once the tutor for a class which included a boy who was at the top of his high school, and high expectations had been pumped into him. When he started getting Cs and Ds, it became ugly, and I was told to be very matter-of-fact in dealing with him to avoid a lawsuit. He started disrupting classes and questioning the exam materials.

    And the reason people may drop out before 1000 hours is because they realize they cannot make it, or start showing some other symptoms arising out of genetics, which may not be as obvious as a serious physical condition. It may be simply a headache or a muscle ache, which Nadal or Djokovic won't have.
     
  49. HunterST

    HunterST Hall of Fame

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    It takes 10,000 hours to reach the pro level was the claim. Other people injected the "for anyone" idea into it. For anyone who achieves the pro level, it takes 10,000 hours.

    The book DOES NOT contain proof that Federer had 7,000 hours. The author simply creates a table and estimates how many hours he thinks Federer practiced. Aside from this table, the book also contains statements from neuroscientists whose statements supported the 10,000 hour idea. I find these statements to be much more credible than the author's speculation.

    Intelligence isn't a skill. And if you think Einstein put in 0 hours of practice to develop his theories, boy, I can't help you.

    Really, "expert level" isn't clearly defined by studies, and I'm no authority to define it.

    This debate has completely shifted its focus to hypothetical ideas. The main point of contention is if there are healthy, "normal" people who could never reach the top level of an endeavor even with 10,000 hours of practice. There's absolutely no information or evidence to support either side of that debate, so it becomes meaningless.
     
  50. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Yeah, but did you expect us to come up with a study? We can only offer some opinions, that is all.

    I was watching a program on the Navy Seals and out of some 140 candidates that year, only 36 made it. One of the instructors said that huge muscular guys often don't make it past the "fear" tests, but a thin nobody from Nebraska made it, because it seems he could naturally not exhibit fear even in extreme circumstances like drowning, and thought his way out of the situation. That got them thinking what was special about him and they hired neuroscientists to wire his brain and study it.
     

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