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Old 03-26-2013, 10:02 PM   #15
canadad's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 461
Default Outliers in tennis.

How about what it takes to be an "Outlier" in tennis.

A few years ago I read a very popular book by Malcom Gladwell called, "Outliers". The concept of the book is what are the factors that make the super successful person so successful, that 1% of people that do better than the rest of us.

Some examples:
Age: If you look at the birthdays of a roster of a professional hockey team you will notice that most of the players are born within the first few months of the year. Someone born in January will start off playing against people that were born in December of that calendar year. They are starting with a year of development advantages. They are the ones that get the early recognition which leads to better coaching, which leads to access to higher levels of competition which leads to a widening of skill level gap. This is one of the reasons why some parents hold their children back a year from starting school, it is known as "Red-shirting".

Culture: What is the environment of the culture where the person is from? What value does a culture place on the work in question.

Birth Era and Situation: Bill Gates and Steve Jobs were born during a technological boom. Essentially the timing was right for someone with their skill sets to become super successful. Coupled with the fact that through lucky connections, as a teenager Bill Gates was able to have as much computer access as anyone in the world. Basically being born in the right place and right time in history and with the right parents is important. There are people who have been as skilled as Jobs and Gates, but they did not have the planet alignment to give them the same opportunities.

The 10,000 hour rule: Gladwell claims that in order to be expertly proficient at something, you need at least 10,000 hours of practice. Look at Agassi and how many balls he had to hit a day. When the Beatles started, they played 6-8 hour sets in a club 7 days a week. So they were able to play in front of a live crowd for an astonishing amount of sets. How many hours do you think Tiger Woods practised for?

Genetics: Obviously important.

I think doing a case study using tennis would make a great essay.

Here is the link to the book:
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