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Posted in: High Performance Coaching

How often do we become distracted by talent?

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  • Ralph

    Consider this. We need strivers not talented want to be's.

    Maybe we need to consider the importance of effort first? Greatness is often seen as mystical or magical. People don't see the mundanity of excellence.

    Those who struggle may just learn it better.

    Will Smith "quote". I'm not talented. Where I excel is ridiculous, sickening worth ethic.

    Although students may not always remember what you teach them, they will always remember their outstanding coaches and how good they made them feel about the subject. That is their greatest gift and the mark of a good coach.

    ALL humans are full of conformational bias and cognitive dissonance, which distorts our reality and accuracy.  Great coaching is managing that problem.

    are you distracted by talent?

  • Ralph

    A young athlete who has the “best” equipment and is always is on the “best” team with the “best” coach fails to develop perhaps the most important athletic skill: the ability to thrive when challenged. Providing everything for a young athlete does not allow the softer skills of perseverance and resilience to thrive. Too often in our bountiful sporting society, smothering support does not allow the young athlete to fully experience healthy challenges.

    The children of parents who pursue every avenue of athletic training and development are not always primed to reach their athletic potential, nor is likelihood of lifelong physical activity improved. Adam Naylor PhD

    Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi found in the early 1990s, individuals who are both challenged and supported thrive at the highest levels.

  • DavidMillett

    An important message and one well captured in books like 'Talent Is Overrated'.

    Unfortunately, in many environments it can be a real battle to create the more conducive culture.  My background is athletics and I recently experienced a classic example of being undermined in an attempt to reward the hardest trainers.  When push came to shove the prize went to the highest ranked athletes, irrespective of effort or even technical competence.  So, those who missed out got a great message!

  • Ralph
    On 01/09/16 7:19 AM, David Millett said:

     the prize went to the highest ranked athletes,

    I had the same problem, so was forced to reward the athlete outside the club set up, satirically i made sure the reward was better than what the club winner received. i found out later the parents trumped me with their own reward once they heard what i did. and the two lads weren't even in the same age group, no there was no competition between the lads.

    it constantly amazes me, that coaches don't stand up to parents. interesting back story, the lad rewarded 10years ago, went on to be a teacher and high level coach and the superstar got arrested for Possession.

  • AndyP

    I think a lot of problems stem from the word "talent" - what does it really mean?

    Some athletes are seemingly bulletproof and can absorb huge amounts of training - Paula Radcliffe is probably one of the best examples that springs to mind. Others seem to be made of glass so never get a chance to show what they are capable of. 

    Trainability is also a key element - what use is a decent amount of innate, untrained ability if that person doesn't really respond to training stimulus?

    Why do we separate out mindset from the other attributes that we include under "talent" - is that "ridiculous, sickening work etihc" Will Smith talked about not part of his talent.?

    It's easy to buy into the romantic notion that the person who works the hardest will be the most successful. However it often worries me that such thoughts just promote overtraining. In some sports it may be that the activity itself, or some aspect of it which can be separated out, has very little demand on the body, but in most the need for recovery is crucial in order to allow the necessary physiological adaptations to occur.

    I think that there has to be a special combination of factors coming together to allow someone to get to the top - in sports where kids are selected into teams and squads at an early age, the month of the year in which they were born is quite probably going to be the biggest factor. Their background and influences, their environment, the accessibility of resources and coaching, the opportunities available to them in that sport... they all play an enormous part. Just as it is wrong to put all the attention on talent (whatever we percieve that to be), it is also wrong to put all of the attention on any other factor.

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