Why all the practice in the world can’t turn you into an Olympian

Posted on August 20, 2016

Photo: flickr

Practice makes perfect. It’s a mantra we hear all our lives, from simple refrains in kindergarten to the more nuanced versions that populate self-help books. It’s everywhere at this year’s Olympic Games in Rio, as athletes credit the long hours they spent working with coaches and trainers for their success. It leads us to believe there’s a chance that each of us could be an Olympian, a concert pianist, or an expert computer programmer — if only we put the work in.

Most of us would probably know about Malcolm Gladwell’s "10,000-hour rule", which says that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert at any skill. This rule is loosely based on a study of accomplished violinists in Berlin, where it was found that the most accomplished violinists had spent about 10,000 hours practicing before they even turned 20 years of age!

There’s one problem with this idea: Research suggests it isn’t true. Practice is helpful in improving performance in a variety of fields, from athletics to chess. But it plays a surprisingly small role in determining whether people become virtuosos.

To read the full article, click on the link below.

Category(s):Sports Psychology

Source material from The Washington Post