Does Practice Make Perfect?

Most of us have heard the statement that practice makes perfect from our parents, teachers and athletic coaches.

David Epstein, author of “The Sports Game,”  found that may not be true, at least in some cases. He found that those elite athletes engage in what researchers call a “sampling” period or an extended period of time before the age of 12 when they develop their athletic potential by playing multiple sports.

Author and psychologist, Laurence Steinburg wrote in the New York Times that young people who delay adulthood by taking longer to finish school, get a job, marry and have children are better primed to acquire new skills later  in life. He writes, “Those who prolong adolescence actually have an advantage, as long as their environment gives them continued stimulation and increasing challenges.”

So what are we as Talent Development professionals to make of this kind of information?  I have some very different thoughts and consider this in conflict with what we know about what it takes to learn and apply the essential skills required in the workplace.  I will have more to say about that in my next blog.

In the meantime, what do you think?  Please comment and let me know what is on your mind.


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