10 September 2013

"We talkin' about practice."

I couldn't help but hear Allen Iverson in his press conference, downplaying the importance of practice, as I read through an excerpt from David Epstein's book The Sports Gene in a recent Sports Illustrated.  It is a fascinating read, touching on the 10,000 hour rule, deliberate practice, and authentic repetitions.  I highly recommend checking it out.  I had read previously a little about the ability of grandmaster chess players being able to recall many exact layouts of pieces if they were situations that could occur naturally occur.  If they were odd set ups that would never occur, they could not remember hardly any.  That example is mentioned in this article as well, along with examples from many other disciplines. 
Alternate title for this post was, "You can't think up there.  If you think, you're dead."  The point in the article referring to game action happening too fast to think, that great players anticipate better than others definitely reminded me of the Top Gun scene where Maverick is at a loss to explain his actions and decisions.
I am gonna have to check this book out soon because I also heard an interview (transcript) with Mr. Epstein on NPR a few weeks ago about running/runners that had me thinking.  Things like the length of your Achille's tendon, the genetic diversity of Africans, the dearth of white cornerbacks in the NFL, the two reasons people run in Kenya, as well as a hilarious statistic that if you are talking to a North American who is 20 to 40 years old and 7 feet tall, there is a 17% chance he is playing in the NBA.

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