Thread: The Talent Code
View Single Post
Old 10-06-2009
terry terry is offline
Head Coach
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 2,305
terry has disabled reputation

Originally Posted by CoachEricD View Post
I would argue that the point of the book is not to say that there is no such thing as natural talent. Some people naturally have certain skills better than others.
Or - particularly in swimming - a better vessel.
Michael Phelps has that peculiar combination of being 6-4, with the legs of a 6-footer and the torso/spine of someone who is 6-8. That long-torso/short-legs combination means he has better natural balance than a more typical westerner like me. I observed the same phenomenon in Japan (Asians have more even leg-torso proportion than Westerners), where TI workshop students learn balance effortlessly -- and seem to effortlessly translate it into a nearly-impeccable 2-Beat Kick. I saw notably less of the "goal slipping through your fingers" stage there.

In US workshops, learning balance is a struggle and mastering 2BK a project.
Adopting a zen attitude toward the struggle, embracing the plateau you will inevitably encounter, and being motivated to persist during the barely holding onto stage of skill acquisition is the invaluable message of books like George Leonard's Mastery and The Talent Code.

I do think one weakness of The Talent Code is that it could leave the impression that inborn traits matter little. If you had the opportunity to observe a practice of the US Olympic Team -- or any elite team such as Univ of Arizona/Texas/California or Auburn, Stanford, Georgia, etc. etc. -- virtually the first thing you would observe is that the members of those teams seem to come from rarefied superspecies of human, several inches taller than average and with distinctly "streamlined" body conformation. (As you'd get similar impressions if you hung out with any NBA or NFL team, or with the Olympic gymnastics squad.)

Each of us does have a predetermined set of physical characteristics that will have some influence on how far we go in physical skills. The reason only a minuscule percentage of us maximize our true potential in most areas of endeavor or accomplishment is that we accept the idea that inborn traits are the major factor in determining what we can accomplish.

To rise above -- indeed to reach your full potential -- you must (1) conceive it as possible, and (2) act effectively to make it happen. Examined Swimming converts possibility into behavior into neurobiology into skill/mastery.
Terry Laughlin
Head Coach & Chief Executive Optimist

May your laps be as happy as mine.

My TI Story
Reply With Quote