Making Cream Rise?

The cream is supposed to rise to the top. Is it just due to natural talent or can it be taught? Nature or nurture?

In  his book, “Outliers,” Malcolm Gladwell claims experts are forged through 10,000 hours of practice. From lawyers to computer whizzes, the folks at the top of the heap, all had put in at least 10,000 hours worth of practice doing what they eventually became the best at.

For example, how do some of the top violinists train?  Do they practice all day? Are they multi tasking? How do young rising stars in the world of violinists make it to the top?

Here’s one of the ways. In 1993 Ander Ericsson studied and interviewed young violinists. What he found was that the top young violinists who went on to successful careers all practiced the same way. First, they practiced in the morning. They utilized three sessions each morning. Each of the three sessions lasted no more than 90 minutes with a break between each session. Over the years the most successful players had accumulated more than 10,000 hours of practice.

There’s a guy who’s putting this idea to the test. The sample size for his test is small, he’s using himself as the subject of the experiment.

He’s spending six hours a day, six days a week, for six years, in an attempt to become an expert golf player.

Here’s an in-depth article from The St. Petersburg Times about his quest. In a nutshell, Dan Mclaughlin is a 31-year-old average sized guy who was sort of athletic in the past, but before starting his six-year long experiment he didn’t play golf. He was a blank slate.

A top coach is working with him and started Dan out only allowing him to putt a foot out from the hole. After he’d mastered one foot, he started putting from two feet out. And then three feet and so on. Now, after more than a year into it, his arsenal includes a putter, chipper, and a wedge.

Club by club he’s working his way to a full golf bag. And, he hopes after 10,000 hours of practice he’ll have worked his way to a shot at becoming a pro golfer. Hang in there, and good luck.