May 20, 2010
Director of AthleticsRemarks
delivered at the Annual Athletic Awards
morning I’d like to take a couple of minutes to speak about the length
of the road to success.
There is much written in the popular
press that we live in an era of “instant gratification.” We go on line,
point, click, and the perfect new shoes arrive by FedEx the next
Truth is that there is no instant gratification in
the matter of your athletic development. As athletes, we know there are
hours of practice that precede every contest. We know that many times
there are years of player development that precede a championship. So
this morning I’m going to reveal to you how many hours you’ll need to
travel the road toward athletic success before you arrive at your goal.
Gladwell authored a book entitled Outliers, an investigation and
analysis of why seemingly inconceivable events occur with unexpected
frequency. Among the author’s investigations was the discussion of
prodigies. We have all heard the anecdotes of a young athlete who
becomes a phenomenon - and the story of how Mia Hamm overcame a severe
foot deformity to become at 15-years old the youngest player to join the
US national Soccer team.
The constant among all of them was
their dedication to their sport as evidenced by the hours spent in the
practice of their personal passion. Mr. Gladwell concluded that the
demarcation between acceptable skills and superior skills came at 10,000
hours of practice. And, interestingly enough, taking advantage of
extraordinary opportunities seemed to be more important than being
blessed with extraordinary talent.
The conclusion is that you
will practice and perform 10,000 hours before you will have optimized
your personal performance. It is a very simple formula - if you practice
your chosen endeavor for 10,000 hours, you will be a great. If you
practice 8,000 hours, you will be good. If you practice 4,000 hours,
you’ll probably be pretty good.
I’ll answer the question that I
know some of you are thinking: “what about the people who are natural
athletes - can they be good with less practice?” Yes they can. But no
natural athlete who neglects the regimen of practice can prevail over a
10,000 hour athlete. Practice isn’t something you do when you’re good,
practice is what makes you good.
My message to you girls this
morning is that you have seen and experienced, first hand, that the
roads to success are paved with work and practice. Whether at a
afternoon at Faxon Farm, an erg workout in the Leeds Fitness Center, or
standing in your family driveway shooting baskets at 8:30 on a Sunday
night while others are watching a movie or chatting with a friend on
Facebook, good players are always finding a way on trying to accomplish
their 10,000 hours of practice.
While some of you will continue
your athletic pursuits in college, all of you will take your athletic
experience into a life beyond Lincoln with the knowledge that success
follows determination and practice.
On behalf of the entire
coaching staff we congratulate and thank you for your hard work,
dedication, and most important, how well you have represented the
standards of Lincoln School.