Talent, passion, answers and the hidden curriculum

sent by Nick Grantham | 17th August 2021

"What looks like talent is often careful preparation."

James Clear

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The dictionary will have you believe that talent is a unique natural ability or aptitude. Many people will even attribute talent to some higher being, suggesting that somehow the ability to sing, run fast, play a musical instrument or complete complex mathematical challenges is a 'gift'. I think that's a bit of a kick in the balls for all the Olympic athletes, concert pianists, pop stars and mathematicians who have spent years working hard to develop their exceptional skills. Next time you hear yourself saying, 'oh, they have such a natural talent', stop yourself and remember that behind that 'talent' will undoubtedly be years of hard work and careful preparation.

Source: James Clear 3-2-1 Newsletter by James Clear

"Find something you are passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it."

Julia Child

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You will know from last weeks newsletter that I believe you should dream with your eyes open, so I'm not going to roll out the cliche that if you find your passion, you will never work another day. That's ridiculous! I have a passion for high-performance sports, and I consider myself very fortunate to have enjoyed a long and varied career in sport. However, it's been bloody hard work. But on those tough days, the passion and deep interest see me through.

Source: Julia Child

"The trouble with life isn't that there are no answers; it's that there are so many answers."

Ruth Benedict

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One of the most important things to understand is that you don't have 'the' answer because the reality is that there are nearly always going to be many potential answers. So our job as coaches is to be aware and open to all of the possible solutions and then figure out which one provides the best answer given the specific situation we are dealing with.

Source: Ruth Benedict

"Not all that is measurable, matters, nor all that matters measurable. So your judgement is more an art to be learned than a science taught."

Frank Dick

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Frank Dick is arguably one of the UK's most respected coaches, and his quote highlights a potential problem faced by many sport science graduates. They graduate with a knowledge of all the measurable stuff but have a limited understanding of the stuff that we can't measure. Of course, developing judgement and insight comes with experience, but the art of coaching can and should be taught alongside the science. When I mentor aspiring high-performance practitioners, often one of the first tasks is to bridge that gap. We often spend time working on the hidden curriculum, the unwritten, unofficial lessons, values, and perspectives that are vital components of a performance practitioner's skill set.

Source: Frank Dick

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