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Great response, thanks. At my age, i need to keep practices (yes, i still train) short and fun. I'm bored after an hour on the water, 3 hours on the bike, and maybe 3 hours on xc-skis.

Ron Lugbill

Thanks Jon for you comment. Here is the link to article I think you are referring to from the Wall Street Journal reviewing the book, "The Sports Gene":


Yes, genes do matter. However, there are some factors we can control and some we can't control. It's better to focus on the factors we can control than on the factors we can't control. You are wasting your time if you focus on the factors you can't control such as your genetic potential, the weather, or the competition.

I think the 10,000 hour rule was based upon interviews with violinists. 20 hours per week of focused practice and getting private lessons was generally seen as a prerequisite to being a top violinist. The ones who practiced less were much less likely to be top violinists.

But the study was not necessarily even very well done on the violinists. It was based on their recollections from 10 years ago about how many hours per day they practiced. And it did not control for other factors that may have made a significant difference. And extrapolating from a poorly done study on violinists to every other sport or activity is not necessarily the best basis for your practice. Violin playing is not even a sport, and it's hard enough to generalize based upon a different sport.

The violin study may have actually be more related to motivation than practice time because presumably, the violinists who were more motivated practiced more than the less motivated ones. So, was it the motivation or the time that made the difference or some combination of the two?

Interestingly, my daughter's former violin teacher told her that it wasn't about the amount of time you practice, it's the focus you bring to the practice that is important and it's better to have a short, focused practice than a longer, but less focused practice where you may be practicing bad habits. He favors taking breaks during practice to keep the focus high and doing shorter, but more focused sessions.

Anyway, genes are important, but so is environment. Environment is the thing we can control so IMHO, better to focus on that.


Article in the books section of the Wall Street Journal (07/27/13), reviewing the book "The Sports Gene" and the fallacy of the 10,000 hour rule. We are not all born equal, nor can we expect that under the same conditions that we will emerge as equals.

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