Someone will ask, why certain athletes are good, why some are decent, and some are the greatest? Are people being born for that sport or they build their success through by years of work, practice, “sweat and tears”. Here is
a fact sheet about some greatest talented athletes:
James LeBron: During basketball season, James is working out 7 days a week and playing basketball every day, even on weekends. LeBron was drafted by Cavaliers at age of 18, the youngest basketball player ever in NBA.
Michael Phelps: Phelps was training for around five to six hours a day at six days a week. He was swimming for about 50 miles weekly during his Olympic career. Michael Phelps made his first Olympic team at age 15, he retired at age 28 as the oldest swimmer in history of Olympics.
Tom Brady: In the offseason, he trains six days a week, sometimes twice a day. During the season, it's three times a day. Brady was drafter at age 23 and did complete 20 seasons with Patriots with nine Superball appearances and Six Champion Titles.
Simone Biles: The elite gymnast trains 32 hours a week, (six days a week). It is literally 2 practices a day with only one day off. Simone began competing as a level 8 gymnast in 2007 at age 10.
What is common between all these greatest aka GOAT athletes. Not only their talent, no doubt, but their ability to work hard and long and actual number of hours they spent in the gym, at the competition and on the field.
Malcolm Gladwell in his book “Outliers” calls this phenomenon a 10000 hours rule. Two other authors, Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool in their book “Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise” also outline the same phenomenon. They state that in order to become great the good artist, athlete, performer or musician must roughly spend 10K hours on the task in order to become successful.
Yes, a lot of things must happen the right place, right time and with the right person. In other words, it doesn’t mean that any average person can accomplish Olympic level or NBA, or Superball level by practicing for 10K hours. It doesn’t mean that any gymnasts with Simone Biles characteristics could accomplish National Team Member level. But the fact of spending many hours, around 10K, must happen in order to train the brain and the body for high performance level.
Gymnasts career starts at young age, USA gymnastics allows athletes to compete at the youngest of 6 years old. The specifics of the sports, especially women’s gymnastics, requires learning and “growing into sports” at early age, while there is high amount of flexibility, no acquired fear and plasticity of the brain to learn “unnatural” for adult human body skills. The learning “window” opens at younger age, that is why the athletes must spend long hours by practicing gymnastics while other same age kids only trying multiple other sports, playing with their peers, going on vacations and spending time with the gadgets.
Gymnastics is the great sports as football, hockey, golf, swimming etc. It is not the sports of losers or only activity for children. It is tough, the child, parent and coach should approach the competitive gymnastics responsibly. Gymnastics is a sport of professionals, including coaches, parents and athletes. There is the same amount to the respect to 27-year-old basketball Olympic Gold Medalist or a 16-year-old Gymnastics Olympic Gold Medalist while they both are standing on the podium. The trophies are identical, both athletes worked hard and long, possibly same, 10K hours to achieve that result. The only difference is the age. The parents, coaches and athletes should realize only long hours of practice at young age will lead to less injuries, more confidence and success, not only the raw talent. This is Gymnastics.