In Malcolm Gladwell’s book “Outliers: The Story of Success,” the New York Times Best Selling author proclaims that in order to achieve world class expertise in any skill, an individual must practice their craft the correct way for a total of 10,000 hours.
In his book, Gladwell discusses the practices of Microsoft founder Bill Gates, physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer and the Beatles ensemble - extremely successful people who devoted their lives to a craft and made a lasting impression in the process. Undoubtedly, dedicated athletes should keep the 10,000 hour rule in mind, as well.
What does it take for an athlete to earn a college scholarship? How much training is necessary to earn an opportunity to be a professional athlete? Hard work and dedication is essential; however, organization is of equal importance. If an athlete participates in the same pedestrian training regimen in excess of 10,000 hours, that individual will be skilled, but chances are they will fall short of their world class aspirations.
If an athlete has the desire to play at the highest level and achieve greatness, putting in the time is only half the battle. The great ones make their mark, because they continue to challenge themselves and they train with purpose. As NFL hall of fame coach Vince Lombardi famously said, “Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect.”
How should someone approach the daunting task of logging 10,000 productive hours of training for a sport? There are several keys to consider. First and foremost, the athlete must have a genuine love for the sport and be 100% invested in their pursuit of greatness. If an individual is chasing someone else’s dream - whether it be a parent, coach, sibling, etc. - that will only lead to wasted time, energy and money. Not to mention resentment from both parties. Phonies don’t cut it in the world of sports. If the passion doesn’t exist, be honest with yourself and others - and begin exploring some alternatives.
On the other hand, athletes with an authentic love for their sport and a willingness to invest consistent time and energy - should immediately get started on their 10,000 hours! Consider this. It takes the average athlete approximately 1,000 hours to develop a competitive skill set and a love for that respective sport. Suppose this player has logged that initial 1,000 hours by the time they are 11 years old - this includes developing basic fundamentals, learning the rules of the game and playing in a variety of team settings. This gives the aforementioned athlete approximately 14 years to log the remaining 8,000 hours before reaching their athletic peak at 25 years old.
Broken down mathematically, the numbers indicate that a player must log 571 hours per year to reach their goal of 10,000 hours? How many hours of training does that require a week? Assuming that an individual will take a couple of weeks off per year, they are looking at approximately 11.5 hours per week. Does that sound like a lot of work? Yes. Is it impossible? Absolutely not. In fact, if an athlete is truly passionate about their quest, it shouldn’t feel like work at all.
The key to achieving this objective is consistency. Athletes, and people in general, typically get in trouble when they take a hiatus and fail to return to their training in a timely manner. Once that momentum is broken, it’s extremely challenging to get back on track, let alone make up for lost time. This makes the goal of attaining world class expertise unrealistic.
The off-season is the perfect opportunity to dial up an effective regimen that provides quality training on a consistent basis. This practice routine should include physical, mental and visual development, with new implementations along the way. MaxBP Reaction Training covers all the bases, because it provides athletes with unlimited drills that are challenging and fun! If you want to make your dreams a reality, take your training to the next level. Get organized, be consistent and enjoy that trek toward world class expertise.