The BEST book you’ll read this year?

03 August 2013

the talent code

As an athlete who’s chasing their dreams to become a professional in the world’s most played sport, you come across alot of players. Some are bad, some are good, some are very good and then there’s those that are absolutely amazing. You might play and train just as much as they do.. so you ask yourself, how did they get so damn good? Many will say that extraordinary talent was simply “born that way” and you might feel demoralised thinking it’s damn right impossible to get to their level. Think again.

The Talent Code explains how athletes get so talented. Not only athletes but musicians, chess players, writers and basically anyone in this world that has a skill in something.

I first came across The Talent Code when I stumbled on a post called the G-Factor, the post talked about how coaches overlook the potential in players and instead focus on what they see already and that’s one of the main things talked about in the book. You know those players who are really good when they’re young, but they just fall by the wayside later. We’re so focused on judging what’s it front of us, rather than what people have in them.

The Talent Code

How talent is grown

The author follows on from the principles of Outliers, for example the 10,000 hour rule. But it explores it in a bit more depth. You can’t just go to the field, do the same practice routine for 10,000 hours and expect to become “world class”. It’s more than that, much more. Getting better and getting the most out of yourself takes what’s called deep practice: “working on technique, seeking constant critical feedback, and focusing ruthlessly on shoring up weaknesses.” From my own experience of following this exact same formula for years, deep practice really does make you so much better. The Talent Code looks at talent as a science. Football is a science and to improve, you have to understand the science behind it.

There’s this one revolutionary thing in our bodies which makes us better. It’s called Myelin.¬† In short, every skill that we develop is the result of chains of nerve fibers. When our brain circuits are fired the right way, myelin is created and makes those nerve circuits faster and stronger.

To gain myelin, you need to fail. That’s right, you need to make mistakes and “operate on the edges of your ability” so your brain snaps and says “don’t do that again” or “try a different way” until it remembers how you did something well. Then myelin is created.

But to gain as much myelin as possible, you have to be in the right environment to train 1000’s of hours in your craft. You need the right sort of coaching. The book goes into detail about what the best sort of coaching is and it’s pretty fascinating as an athlete dealing with so many coaches in your career. The best coaches let players make mistakes, rather than stop them from making them.

Motivation, or “Ignition” as the author calls it, is also explained. Ever wondered how and why people are more motivated to do certain things than others? Coyle explains it all and goes deep into our psychology to make sense of it all.

Finally, my favorite quote from the book:

“Experts practice differently and far more strategically. When they fail, they don’t blame it on luck or themselves. They have a strategy they can fix.”

This book should be read by every player, coach, EVERY PERSON who is interested in improving themselves or others. It’s revolutionary and inspiring to find out what talent exactly is, what influences it and how to grow it in the quickest way possible. This book can totally change how you view yourself and others. Invest in this book and invest in developing yourself, you really won’t read many more important books than this one.

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In 2009, I was an average soccer player with a dream. I started this blog to document my journey from local underdog to getting offered over $100,000 in soccer scholarships, a contract to play professionally and the experience of playing in Europe.
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