Monday, February 14, 2011

The Importance of Falling

Happy Valentines Day everyone! Another blurp from Bounce by Matthew Syed I felt compelled to share.

"In the 1990s researchers conducted a revelatory study into figure skating. They found that the major difference between elite skaters and their less elite counterparts in not to be found in genetics, personality, or family background. Rather, it is to be found in the type of practice. Elite skaters regularly attempt jumps beyond their current capabilities; less elite skaters do not.

Note that elite skaters do not merely undertake more difficult jumps-after all, that is what you would expect from better performers. No, the point is that elite skaters attempt jumps that are more difficult even when measured relative to their superior abilities. The conclusion is as counter intuitive as it is revealing: top skaters fall more often during their training sessions.

Purposeful practice is about striving for what is just out of reach and not quite making it; it is about grappling with tasks beyond current limitations and falling short again and again. Excellence is about stepping outside of the comfort zone, training with a spirit of endeavor, and accepting the inevitability of trials and tribulations. Progress is built, in effect, upon the foundations of necessary failure. That is the essential paradox of expert performance."

Another case of the fixed mind set vs growth mind set. The fixed mindset (believing ability is innate) athletes are the ones who like to stay in the comfort zone. They may have a lot of ability through good coaching and repetition, but don't like to push themselves beyond a comfort zone. Whether it's facing tougher competition or trying a new move, they're afraid that trying it might lead to failure. Failure is something they aren't known for and could really hurt there reputation.

The growth mind set athlete (believing deliberate practice brings results) will seek failure. They are the player that comes back every season with a new move, a more complete game, something different to add to their repertoire. As a coach, parent, and/or athlete this mindset is ESSENTIAL for long term results. You must associate losing and falling with progression and success rather than failure.

They do look good though when they don't fall

If the elite fall more than anyone else it means they consistently push themselves beyond what anyone will do. This mindset is instilled by experience, proper coaching, parenting, and circumstances. You can't control everything but you can set a great example for others to follow.

The Other Side:

If you watched the Grammy's last night I hope you caught the performance by Mumford and Sons, The Avett Brothers, and Bob Dylan. You all know Mr. Tambourine Man but if you haven't looked into the other two bands, its time to give it a crack. Mumford and Sons have quickly become one of my favorite bands as they have a classic folk sound mixed with their own style. Their album Sigh No More has plenty of great tunes. My favorites have become The Cave, Dust Bowl Dance, Awake my Soul and Little Lion Man. What separates them is how they can build up a song and then bring down the house with amazing raw energy. I can't wait to see these guys live in the future. Here is a video of The Cave and Dust Bowl Dance.

I have just started getting into the Avett Brothers but heres a great tune from them.

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