The 10,000-hour theory has become the American dream for developing athletes. Just work hard enough and your gold medal, Hall of Fame, championship ambitions can come true. It is achievable, measurable and finite.
However, many athletes never quite cross the 10,000 hour finish line, and have used the scapegoat reason, “I just didn’t have enough time to commit to the sport.” Now, recent research suggests that while 10,000 hours of deliberate practice may be necessary to achieve world-class status, it may not be the only ingredient to success.
Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, a research paper by Florida State professor K. Anders Ericsson, The Role of Deliberate Practice in the Acquisition of Expert Performance, has been cited in the scientific press over one thousand times earning its own HOF credentials. The gist of it is that Ericsson visited a West Berlin music academy and interviewed violin students and their teachers. First, he asked the students to estimate the number of structured practice hours they had endured up to age 20. Then, he asked their teachers to divide the class into good, better and best thirds. The correlation uncovered showed that the best students had accumulated, on average, over 10,000 hours of practice while the middle group was at about 8,000 hours and the bottom group had not reached 5,000 hours.
After checking this relationship within other groups of skilled experts, Ericsson found similar patterns of 10,000 hours of practice and concluded that innate talent or “what we’re born with” had little to do with becoming an expert in any field, even sports. With that declaration, the dream (and the practice odometer) was launched.
However, since that landmark 1993 paper, other researchers have been finding exceptions to the rule; some experts were crowned with only 3,000 hours of practice while others still had not reached the mountaintop even though they had doubled the 10,000-hour mark.
David Hambrick, associate professor of psychology at Michigan State, has been searching for the other necessary ingredients for several years. In 2011, he and his colleague Elizabeth J. Meinz found that deliberate practice among pianists did account for almost half of the variance between experts and novices. But in their quest to find out what else mattered to make up the other 50% of variance, they found that working memory capacity, the ability to remember a set of objects while engaged in another task, was also a significant determinant of success.
This month, Hambrick and his team released new research that looked at 14 different studies of chess and music students to find other clues to expertise.
Again, they were convinced that deliberate practice alone was not enough.
“The evidence is quite clear,” he writes, “that some people do reach an elite level of performance without copious practice, while other people fail to do so despite copious practice.”
Across those chess and music studies, they found that practice explained about one third of the journey to being world class. One new factor that did emerge was starting at a young age. Logically, someone who started training at age 7 versus 12 would have five more years of practice, but Hambrick found that even when total hours of practice were comparable, the student that started at an earlier age became more accomplished. “This evidence suggests that there may be a critical period for acquiring complex skills just as there may be for acquiring language,” he concluded.
Also, overall intelligence did make a difference, at least for these chess and music students. Those students with a higher tested IQ, including working memory capacity, were also more likely to end up being experts.
Finally, grit, a determined attitude to succeed, also played a role in creating success. The term has been made famous by Paul Tough in his book How Children Succeed, based on the research of psychologist Angela Lee Duckworth (see Ms. Duckworth’s TED talk). The desire and passion to get better drives the willingness to spend so many hours practicing a skill.
So, what does all of this mean for the aspiring superstar? That practice, as much as possible, is still a necessary evil to getting better at a sport. However, it also confirms that different athletes have different qualities and progress through their journey at different paces. They may need some guidance based on their individual strengths that will help them find the right sport.
“If people are given an accurate assessment of their abilities and the likelihood of achieving certain goals given those abilities,” Hambrick predicted, “they may gravitate toward domains in which they have a realistic chance of becoming an expert through deliberate practice.”
Read more at https://blog.teamsnap.com/general-sports/research-says-young-athletes-need-more-than-just-practice-to-succeed/#sA9OGMBBYubwrU0t.99
10 Ways You’re Causing Your Child Sport-Induced Stress
Participating in a sport is supposed to be fun. In fact, a recent survey conducted by the American Psychological Association estimates that 9 percent of all children use sports to help manage stress. For those children, sports can be fun, but for many children, sports can be extremely stressful.
Children taking part in competitive sports often feel stressed, but the cause of that stress may be surprising to some parents. Often, it isn’t the coaches or your children’s teammates that are causing the stress; it could be you — and you may not even know you’re doing it! Are you guilty of any of these stress-inducing behaviors? Avoid stressing your child out during sports activities by remembering these stressful behaviors parents engage in during games, practices or even around the house.
1. Talking About Your Own Great Sports Accomplishments
Sharing your own sports accomplishments may be inspiring to your child, but if you keep bringing them up, it could become stressful. Many children experience sport-induced stress from hearing stories about how great their parents were at a sport because they feel they have to accomplish the same things their parents did.
2. Comparing Your Child to Other Team Members/Children
Children have their own unique talents and abilities when it comes to a certain sport. Comparing them to other children or other teammates could produce feelings of anxiety and stress, especially when they are unable to perform the same skills or at the same level as the other child.
3. Turning into a Bleacher Coach
You may think coaching from the sidelines is offering your child extra support or help, but it really is just confusing them. Children will feel extreme levels of stress with “bleacher” coaching from parents because they do not know to whom to listen for advice. Should they do what the coach is telling them, or should they listen to their parent?
4. Making Sports the Center of Your (and Your Child’s) World
Yes, there are a lot of things that can come from engaging in sports. Scholarships, wonderful opportunities to travel and even jobs, but there is no reason it should become the center of your world or your child’s. What if they want to try a different sport or they get injured? Sports may not always be there, and if it’s all you talk about, your child will feel obligated to stay in sports long after they no longer want to play.
5. Arguing with the Coach Over Sports Decisions
If all parents had their way, their children would play in every game the entire time. But that decision rests with the coaches, not the parents — and for good reason. Don’t spend the time arguing with the coaching staff about how often your child is playing. It is embarrassing and stressful for your child!
6. Living Vicariously Through Your Child
It’s natural to want what is best for your child, but when it comes to sports, you have to follow your child’s lead and let them pick the sports they want to take part in. Introduce your children to a sport you played when you were younger, but don’t force them to play just because you loved it and want to relive the good old days.
7. Making Every Game Seem Like Life or Death
No parent likes to see their child lose, and you don’t want to encourage a child to have a “who cares?” attitude, but it is important to make sure winning isn’t everything. When winning is everything, a child will feel tremendous pressure to impress all the time.
8. Forcing Extra Practice Sessions
Children need practice to succeed at sports, but scheduling several extra practice sessions a week can be overwhelming to youngsters and stressful/harmful on the body. Feel free to encourage your children to practice, but don’t force them to practice for hours in addition to their regular practice sessions.
9. Overbooking Your Child’s Schedule
It is tempting to want to sign up a child for every sport they show a remote interest in, but many sports seasons overlap. The overlapping season leads to an overbooked schedule for your child, which leaves them tired, cranky and experiencing sports-induced stress. Pick one or two sports to focus on. It will be enough to keep you and your child busy.
10. Missing Important Family Events for Minor Sports Events
Scheduling conflicts between your child’s sports team and family events are inevitable. If the family event is important to you or other family members, skipping it could cause your child to feel an overwhelming amount of stress or guilt. After all, you’d be missing something important because of their interest in a sport.
Communicate Instantly and Get Real-Time Game Updates with TeamSnap Live!
We’re thrilled today to take the wraps off an exciting new feature that will change the way you interact with TeamSnap. TeamSnap Live! not only gives you the opportunity to instantly send updates and messages to your team through the Locker Room, this in-app feature also allows coaches, parents and fans to share the live game experience.
TeamSnap Live! brings the whole team together by making it easier for coaches, managers, parents and fans to keep up with the action, on the sidelines or miles from the game.
Some of you may have tried TeamSnap Live! through our testing period this fall, but it’s now available to all TeamSnap users. This new feature brings score updates, sideline banter, play-by-plays, instant communication and more to your mobile device.
It lets you experience the real-time action of the game no matter where you are:
- Missing the travel soccer tournament because someone had to stay home.
- In a meeting but wishing you were at your daughter’s hockey game.
- Out of town but want to know how your grandson is doing in his basketball game.
- Awaiting trial at sea in the ship’s brig but wondering how the baseball game went.
To begin using TeamSnap Live!, simply follow these steps:
- Important! Make sure you have the latest version of TeamSnap on your phone (that’s 3.0.3 on Apple and 3.0.4 on Android) and that in your phone’s settings, notifications are enabled for TeamSnap. The Live Update feature will not work without notifications. (If you’re not sure how to manage updates on your phone, check out these handy instructions forApple and Android. Not sure how to enable notifications? Here are instructions for Apple and Android.)
- Sign in to your team’s dashboard and click on the “Live!” menu item.
- Start chatting and entering scores!
We know you’ll find TeamSnap Live! as fun as we do, and as always, we’d love to hear your feedback or suggestions email@example.com. We’re also looking for stories of how customers are using TeamSnap Live! If you have a story to share with us, we just might have some free service for you!
Coaching With a Purpose: Mixing Mental Lessons With Physical Ones
In just the last two decades, coaches are finally realizing the tremendous impact they can have on their win/loss record and the respect of their athletes by coaching the mental game.
There are still plenty of old-school coaches out there who ignore the reasons why such brilliant coaches as Phil Jackson, Bill Walsh and Tommy Lasorda were so successful. These coaches—and every other wildly successful coach—understand human psychology and how to get the most out of their human athletes.
The problem with old-school coaches is that in the back of their minds, they know they have an unlimited source of athletes ready to take the place the place of any athlete that just doesn’t fit with “my way of doing things.” The old-school coach may even have some success at some point and think, “That’s what I should repeat for more success.” And then the coach gets a whole new set of players who don’t respond to his rigid methods.
Wisdom is always an overmatch for strength.
—Phil Jackson, Basketball’s “Zen Master”
What I recommend to coaches is to have a simple structure or framework for mental lessons that can easily be taught and referenced when working on physical skills and in competition. Make up your own or feel free to use mine:
Mental Toughness is: focused, confident, determined and resilient, especially under pressure.
Start your season by introducing your mental game structure just like you do for your physical training. Have a mental game meeting and just talk about Mental Toughness to get buy in and a basic understanding. Then, in a practice when you see mental weakness, you can highlight it and give the player a thought or technique to work on it. Because you introduced your mental training at the beginning of the season, touching back on that philosophy throughout the season will come as no surprise.
For example, a coach watches a player in practice get too angry after making a mistake. The coach could say:
“Mary, what if you got that angry/frustrated in the beginning of the game after making a mistake? Would you be able to play your best for the rest of the game? Which of the mental principles we talked about do you need to practice right now?”
If Mary can’t remember, simply remind her and give her a mental technique just like you would a physical technique. This is what practice is for: catching our mistakes and working to improve our skills, physical and mental.
I’ve observed that if individuals who prevail in a highly competitive environment have any one thing in common besides success, it is failure—and their ability to overcome it.
—Bill Walsh, West Coast Offense coaching legend
Old-school coaches give short shrift to the mental game and therefore set themselves up to all sorts of problems with their players that only show up in competition because they have not been practiced in advance.
The quote from Bill Walsh above is such common sense that it needs no explanation, yet old-school coaches just figure athletes need to do this on their own, and if they don’t, well there’s another person waiting to take their place.
These coaches are throwing away amazing talent every season.
Managing is like holding a dove in your hand. Squeeze too hard and you kill it, not hard enough and it flies away.
—Tommy Lasorda, “Baseball’s Goodwill Ambassador”
If you, as a coach, are not incorporating some kind of mental game training and lessons in your program you are simply handicapping yourself—there’s no way around it. Your competition knows the value of teaching players how to shape their mind and master their emotions to be in alignment with winning. In the past generations, there were no sports psychologists or mental game experts and so coaches who figured all of this out on their own, like Vince Lombardi, had a huge edge over everyone else. Today, it’s a necessity.