10,000 Hours

I was recently at an Ice Hockey Coaching Course. One of the main points was something that could actually be applied beyond Hockey

The theory come from Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Outliers – The story of success. It is simply that it takes 10,000 hours to excel at anything. If you do something, anything, for 10,000 hours you will master it.

Bruce Lee had a similar theory, known for quoting “I fear not the man who has practised 10,000 kicks, but the man who has practised one kick 10,000 times”

From a coaching viewpoint the course cited  repetition as a key to success and encouraged new coaches to get these repetitions in as often as possible. Harvesting the ice to have as many attempts at the skill as possible, set the cones up to stick-handle the puck round them six times instead of three across the ice. Ironically this principle was repeated frequently throughout the course, so kudos for the nice touch.

It resonated with me because aside from the ice hockey advantages, it could be applied to any skill you want to learn.

Gladwell himself cited Bill Gates as an example, explaining how from as young as eight he had access to the latest computer and was able to build up quickly in excess of 10,000 hours. From this start he was able to be so far advanced as to create Microsoft.

Now although this shows how through hard work and repetition the exceptional can become elite, it also gives the lesser mortal, or people who are beginning new skill sets, the inspiration that they can learn something new, and get to a reasonable standard, from just clocking up the hours and getting the practise in.

For me it has helped my hockey greatly. I know if I practise off ice training like conditioning, stick-handling and tactical research I can get my hours up off ice as well as on. My writing has improved because I’m adding to my hours, and I have started to learn about Digital Marketing and know that with each hour of practise I am contributing to the pool of hours I need to get good enough to compete in the current marketplace.

Now since it has been released its fair to say that the figure of 10,000 hours is not entirely accurate and has since been disproved as an actual figure (although the theory is still the same). Factors such as quality of said hours sway the count. Mentoring for example boosts the productivity of learning dramatically as it skips so many of the figuring out of the hows and whys leaving you to learn the process and get to the stage where you are able to hone your skills and therefore develop uniqueness within that field.

Regardless contributing to your  hours in an area you love will definitely improve you. Although it might not be exact, 10,000 hours provides a worthy goal we can all relate to and would hopefully inspire you to start on your passion as you realise all you have to do is put in the hours.




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