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[dropcap size=small]I[/dropcap]s greatness born or grown? The Talent Code (Daniel Coyle) explains how you can become great at something. Hint: deep, focused practice followed by thousands of additional hours of practice. There is a great example about halfway through the book of a younger child playing clarinet. She takes her time and works her way through the notes, and finds – and fixes – her mistakes before moving forward.


The author tells us that this isn’t an example of talent created by genes, but something far more interesting. It’s a magically productive zone where each second there is more skill being developed. He explains how learning happens and how we learn from stumbling – and how we should practice deeper, not harder. There seems to be a connection between embracing your mistakes – and working to turn them into skills. We enjoyed this book and recommend it for anyone who wants to understand how to practice to become better.

Below are a few videos that speak to the concepts in the book. Listen to Shawn White at the 1:50 mark talk about how in one day (only one day) he’s gotten in a couple years of riding.

Notice at the 2:15 mark he talks about how you also have to have the mental image in your head. He’s not simply riding down the hill, but taking a clear image of something in his head, and then focused on working (and reworking) each component of the run separately. Once he has each component exactly where he wants them, he combines the components together and works on it until he achieves perfection. This is an example of deep, focused practice at it’s best.

This approach – working each component separately – can be applied to learning to dribble a basketball.

It also applies to learning how to get into a breakdancing “chair freeze” position.

To practice wall tennis training…