OK. The next "OH DUH" moment, but exiting connection. In "The Talent Code," Coyle notes that all these hotbeds of talent give the students a great big picture view to follow. They know exactly what they are trying to imitate. They spend a huge amount of time watching.
How many of the questions on this forum ask to explain things in words that could be easily observed by watching video?
I had two other connections that really fit this.
1. Mirror neurons. One of my advanced biology students introduced me to the concept of mirror neurons a few years back. She presented the case that mirror neurons are responsible for the contagious quality of yawning. Mirror neurons (as much as I could understand from my student, I love when they far surpass my ability) are neurons that seem to be preset to make us mimic what we see. Monkey see Monkey do is hardwired into us with these neurons. Spending hours watching with focus helps us produce movements that mimic what we see.
2. "Look for something different." This spring I read a great book on evolution called "Your inner fish." (I am a high school biology teacher, I read things like this for fun.) In the book, the author describes his first fossil hunting expedition. For three days (12-16 hour days usually) he would go out with the rest of the team, scouring the rocks for fossils and be the only one coming back empty handed. His mentor just kept saying "look for something different." All of a sudden, on the fourth day, the rocks exploded with textures and colors that he had missed. Fossils jumped out at him. He later mentioned that he know understands that every fossil trip begins the same way. He just plans three extra days for his brain to figure out what the "difference" is in this type of rock.
Perhaps we have to watch enough film of Phelps, Hackett, Thorpe, etc. to "see something different".
I am really enjoying this book. Thanks again Terry.