10,000 hour rule debunked

The nature versus nurture debate concerns the relative importance of an individual’s innate qualities (“nature,” i.e. nativism, or innatism) versus personal experiences (“nurture,” i.e. empiricism or behaviorism) in determining or causing individual differences in physical and behavioral traits. .…


The 10,000 hour rule started with this study:

The Role of Deliberate Practice in the Acquisition of Expert Performance (PDF) by K. Anders Ericsson, Ralf Th. Krampe, and Clemens Tesch-Romer (1993)

They found that many of the best of the best in different fields had trained at least 10,000 hours over 10 years.


But correlation is not causation.

… since that landmark 1993 paper, other researchers have been finding exceptions to the rule; some experts were crowned with only 3,000 hours of practice while others still had not reached the mountaintop even though they had doubled the 10,000 hour mark. …

“The evidence is quite clear,” … “that some people do reach an elite level of performance without copious practice, while other people fail to do so despite copious practice.” …

The Sports Gene: What Makes the Perfect Athlete by David Epstein – review by Richard Moore

Epstein quoted:

… for an American man aged between 20 and 40, standing between 6ft and 6ft2in the chances of playing professionally in the NBA are five in a million. If he’s 6ft2in to 6ft4in there is a still-distant 20 in a million chance. But if he’s 6ft10in to 7ft, the odds shorten to 32,000 in a million. And if he stands 7ft, there is a one-in-six chance he will currently be playing in the NBA. …

Height is far more important than number of hours trained in that sport.

related – Why Kenyans Make Such Great Runners: A Story of Genes and Cultures:

.…This medium-size country of 41 million dominates the world in competitive running. Pick any long-distance race. You’ll often find that up to about 70 or 80 percent of its winners since the late 1980s, when East African nutrition and technology started catching up with the West, have been from Kenya. …

Most are from one tribe in Kenya, the Kalenjin.

What about coaching?

Wayne Goldsmith weighs in – 10,000 Hours to make a Sporting Champion? I don’t think so.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

To reach a high level in any discipline you need genetics and good training.

Published by

Rick Mc

Career gymnastics coach who loves the outdoors, and the internet.

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