Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Emphasizing Emulation Enables Equivalent Excellence

This comes from a really good Bryan Green article that I read on
How often have you talked about a great athlete and heard people use words like "freak", "machine", "out-of-this-world", "bionic", "superhero", "robotic", "cheat code" or "Kenyan"? These words don't just serve to differentiate a person, though. They emphasize that what makes them different is something we don't have and we can't match. Be they mutant, alien, programmed for destruction, or simply from the Kalenjin tribe, the sport, we are told, is just different for them.

We see [Jenny Barringer's] times, but not her preparation. We see Galen Rupp's dominance, but not the seven years of focused training that preceded it. We see Dathan Ritzenhein's blazing times, but not the lifestyle that led to them. It's even worse when we watch runners like Wanjiru and Bolt. We see what's visible--the race, the time--and because the rest isn't visible, we use what we can see as a proxy for talent.

[What] I think coaches need to be actively doing is emphasizing process, building an expectation of excellence in preparation, and de-mystifying (and de-mythifying) the superstar's success.

You can't emulate talent. But any athlete can emulate hard work and painstaking preparation.

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