Thursday, September 10, 2009

Get this book...

From The Talent Code:

"When we see people practice effectively, we usually describe it with words like willpower or concentration or focus. But those words don't quite fit, because they don't capture the ice-climbing particularity of the event. The people inside the talent hotbeds are engaged in an activity that seems, on the face of it strange and surprising. They are seeking out the slippery hills ... they are purposely operating at the edges of their ability, so they will screw up. And somehow screwing up is making them better. How?

Deep practice is built on a paradox: struggling in certain targeted ways - operating at the edges of your ability, where you make mistakes - makes you smarter. Or to put it a slightly different way, experiences where you're forced to slow down, make errors, and correct them - as you would if you were walking up an ice-covered hill, slipping and stumbling as you go - end up making you swift and graceful without your realizing it."

Whoa. Big concepts. As soon as I read a blurb about this book in this NYT op-ed piece, I decided I had to buy it. Off to Amazon I trotted. I'll let you know what I think when I read it. (Definitely reminds me of Malcolm Gladwell's book Outliers so far.)

I took Daniel Moraes' seminar last night and observed "deep practice" in action. My partner, Nathaniel, would repeat the weirdest/hardest/most unusual element of the move some 10-15 times, by itself, instead of just drilling the entire move again and again. We all can get knee on belly, and maybe we should practice that element again and again too, but the part we had a harder time with (posting quickly on the forehead while catching the underhook, and then locking up by grabbing your own lapel) merited some focused practice. I think it helped us both to practice in that particular way. I tried it again today in class, drilling some takedowns/double legs with Leila.

That was another can of worms entirely, however. Because we asked questions of one wrestler and then accepted/solicited input from two others later on, it felt to me like we ended up with 3 cooks, 3 different recipes, and one muddled pot of soup.

It was nice to hear that she fears takedowns, however. I feel less alone in that respect.


Lynn said...

Awesome book; you can read a lot of it at the website; that hooked me.

Interestingly, the concept of operating at the edges of your talent is also one component of "Flow".

Some of the other components are(summarized:
1. Clear goals
2. Concentrating and focusing
3. A loss of the feeling of self-consciousness
4. Distorted sense of time
5. Direct and immediate feedback
6. Balance between ability level and challenge
7. A sense of personal control
8. intrinsically rewarding
9. action awareness merging.

`Dolph said...

Great Post! And great op ed. Thanks for sharing it.