Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Why the Resistance?

In the sports performance and athletic development world, resistance is everything.  We use resistance for gaining strength and developing power by using dumbbells, kettlebells, barbells, cable systems and anything with mass.

However the resistance I am talking about is one within our own brain.  When someone says something you disagree with or say in your head "Oh no freakin' way!"  What is that resistance?  Have you ever paused and asked yourself where it comes from and why?

I have debated numerous times about whether talent is developed or are you just born with or without gifts.  While sometimes I sway people towards the development idea, I still get the feeling of, "lets be real, some people are born with natural gifts for certain skills." Recently, I've pondered on why is there such extreme resistance to the debate of genetics vs. hard work for those who are deemed successful?  Isn't it to our favor that we have the ability to drastically improve any skill we so desire?

So I ask, why the resistance?

I think a major reason is that we only see the end result instead of the process.  Would you rather watch pre-season training camp or the playoffs?  The end result is fun and exciting, where the process is a struggle and not inherently enjoyable.  Unfortunately we only see these amazing athletes, musicians, etc at the end of the process, usually for 10 years, 10,000 hours (A. Ericsson). 

Another argument is the factor of the unknown.  We still don't know a lot about how we develop as athletes.  I believe primitive reflexes that deal with how we develop as babies have a lot to do with athleticism as we get older.  Also hitting the windows of opportunities for speed, strength, and motor skills are starting to be proven a major determinate of future potential.  This is just not completely proven, yet. So in the mean time I think many just feel it must be genetics.

One last point I want to make is that there are many factors that are just uncontrollable as genetics that people label as innate.  If you were born at high altitude, as the younger sibling, or live by the ocean or mountains (surfing and snowboarding), this is just as uncontrollable as how tall you will be but is NOT genetics. 

If you still don't believe me, that's fine but ask yourself why are you so resistant to this idea of talent is not innate? Have an open mind and read one of the 'talent' books that I posted in My Bookshelf at the top of the page.  It may just open up a part of your brain that will lead to new opportunities.

Also check out this website for a man who is trying the 10,000 hour rule with Golf at age 30. Check out his progress.

The Dan Plan


  1. I actually argued for the importance of genetics last week. Everyone has a different ceiling. However, few people, if any, reach their ceiling, which is why effort tends to determine success. The true outliers like Kobe Bryant or LeBron James are the ones who combine the high ceilings with the extreme work ethics.

  2. Brian,

    Yeah man I agree. Like we've talked about before if many people realized what true hard work is about, you realize genetics is such a small role in many different skills and crafts. But for the record, I would really like to be 6'8".....