If you don't want to read, simply listening to the audio at the end of this blog piece will have made it worth your while coming here or sharing this link. Fascinating stuff for any coach or footballer in the World.
Before you decide to read this blog piece please consider reading it with an open mind, forget any books or videos you might have read and let's keep this really basic. This blog piece is not claiming to know the answer, it is merely giving examples and educational information in order to gather thoughts and create debate.
At some point in your life you will have met, seen or heard about people who are 'gifted' at certain things. The boy who get's A's in every maths exam, the girl who plays the guitar and sings unbelievably well, the gymnast who will take your breath away or the UFC fighter with fighting skills like no other. We all know people who are described by some as naturally talented. But what is natural talent, is there really such a thing?.
In times gone by stories have thought us that some legends/greats of sport are the one's with natural ability, the one's born with a gift that was developed and brought out from within them through hard work and commitment. The problem with stories is that not every story is true. Man once believed the Earth was flat because we were thought to believe so. Today science tells us a very different story when giving an explanation for talent than stories told in times gone by. All skills reside in the human brain, yes read that one more time 'all skills reside in the human brain'. Even athletic skills reside in the human brain, some people talk about muscle memory yet science tells us that muscles don't really have memory, they do what the brain tells them to!.
"Every great human skill exists in the brain"
Today science teaches us that talent grows in the brain when you practice intensively in certain ways. So what is intensive practice? let's keep it really simple. Pretend you don't know how to tie shoelaces for a moment. Somebody comes along and shows you exactly how to tie the laces, they explain and demonstrate really clear and really well how to do it. Now it's your turn to tie the shoelaces, no matter how well it was explained to you, no matter how clearly it was explained to you, it will still take you a short period of time to practice and to process the information you stored in the brain before mastering the skill of tying the shoelace. So in summary you could be shown the demonstration hundreds of times and still not be able to tie a shoelace, but once you get a chance to mess with it and experiment with it with your own hands, once you have the time to try find a way through trial and error and use that information to find a way, you will find a way to do it!. Think about that for a moment, mistakes or failure is information that can lead to success.
So learning velocity is at it's peak when we are striving to learn new things that require trial and error, when we are forced to leave our comfort zone in the quest to improve, struggle and challenge to achieve improves us, when we are challenged to find a way = we get smarter!. A brilliant example of this is footballers. Press play on the following audio. For all Futsal Coaches, Soccer Coaches, footballers or anyone involved in the game, this is one of the best pieces you will listen to.
And so having listened to the audio above and having read the piece before it we leave you with a thought. All the greats have one thing in common, hard work, dedication and practice. Was it that they were born gifted and developed that natural talent within them, or was it in fact that their hard work and practice developed the brain and it's requirements to master that which their passion pursued.