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10,000 hours! Reality or a Myth? PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 10 November 2011

We are told that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become expert in any field.  Soccer should not be different.  Does this mean we can never produce world-class players in North America?

So just read this excerpt from an article written mainly for the musical world.

… ten thousand hours of practice is required to achieve the level of mastery associated with being a world-class expert — in anything. In study after study, of composers, basketball players, fiction writers, ice skaters, concert pianists, chess players, master criminals, and what have you, this number comes up again and again. Ten thousand hours is the equivalent to roughly three hours per day, or twenty hours per week, of practice over ten years. Of course, this doesn’t address why some people don’t seem to get anywhere when they practice, and why some people get more out of their practice sessions than others. But no one has yet found a case in which true world-class expertise was accomplished in less time. It seems that it takes the brain this long to assimilate all that it needs to know to achieve true mastery.

Three hours a day (20 hours a week) for ten years. Or for the crash course, 40 hours a week for five years.

Our thanks to Daniel Levitin in This is Your Brain on Music.

So here are the soccer questions.

  1. Can kids in America and Canada put in the required 10,000 hours?

  2. Can it be done in less than 10,000 if the quality of practice is appropriate?

  3. Practice makes perfect! Or does it?  Practice makes permanent and can develop poor skills.  So maybe it is 10,000 hours?  Could it be 5,000 hours?

  4. Can we develop certain core practices that are age- and developmentally-appropriate thus reducing the time factor alluded to in Daniel Levitin's article?

So for now, only questions.  For this article no answers!  We’d like to hear what you think.

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