Genetics vs. Nurturance: Peter Vint Comments

Thanks to Dan Peterson from 80percent mental – for his great interview with Peter Vint

Peter Vint is the High Performance Director for the United States Olympic Committee. His responsibilities include leading and coordinating the efforts of sport science and medical professionals focused on the Olympic sports of swimming, track and field, shooting, equestrian, weightlifting, and golf as well as the Pan Am sports of bowling and water skiing.

Stephen King once said, “Talent is cheaper than table salt.  What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.” I’ve heard it put another way by H. Jackson Brown, Jr. “Talent without discipline is like an octopus on roller skates.  There’s plenty of movement, but you never know if it’s going to be forward, backwards, or sideways.”

Dan Peterson, the journalist who keeps a blog called “Sports are 80 Percent Mental” writes on the latest in sports science and fitness research.  His observations are not only insightful but he entertains and makes one think.  Check out this blog featuring an interview with Peter Vint and his studied discussion of the nature vs nurture debate in sports.

Peterson starts out, “It’s a common belief among parents and some coaches that kids either have “it” or they don’t.  Of course, some skills can be gained from practice, but the talent theory of player development and team selection seems to favor the opinion that athletic skill is “hard-wired”, unable to progress much beyond the natural limit.

He provides references to several books, which are out to prove this theory incorrect.  One is Dan Coyle’s book, “The Talent Code: Greatness Isn’t Born, Its Grown, Here’s How”, another is Geoff  Colvin’s “Talent Is Overrated”, and David Shenk’s “The Genius in All of Us: Why Everything You’ve Been Told About Genetics, Talent, and IQ Is Wrong.” The common thread through all of the research studies quoted by these authors is the mantra that practice makes perfect.  More specifically, about 10,000 hours of highly structured practice is required to reach elite performance levels.

Is athletic success that black or white? Instead, is there a combination of talent and tenacity that is required to reach the top? Dan Peterson put these questions to an expert who spends most of his waking hours trying to find the answer.

For a really compelling read Check out the Interview: Click Here.

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