Every season of every year, players embark on a mission to become the next Cristiano Ronaldo, Clint Dempsey, Mia Hamm or Alex Morgan. They will come to practice with the newest uniforms and the most expensive cleats on the market in hopes that it will enhance their performance and appearance on the field. The key component that is missing in their quest to greatness and glory is time. It is the one thing that people wish they had more of, or do not know what to do with, or simply lose track of. So what do the experts say about how athletes, businessmen or hobbyists can become experts in their fields?
Malcolm Gladwell, author of Outliers, describes in his book exactly what has drawn many famous (and not so famous) people to excellence and success. He introduces the concept of 10,000 hours. He studied various individuals and groups to determine what the common factor was that separated them in their field from everyone else. Gladwell posted studies done on Bill Gates, The Beatles, German violinists, and many more, only to find that the reason these people were so successful was because of the amount of time spent on their craft. To use the example of violinists, in the early 1990’s a couple of scientists studied a group in Germany. They took a group that had all started playing violin at the age of five and looked at the time they spent playing. They found that nearly all of the violinists practiced the same amount until the age of eight. It was at that point when the amount time spent practicing differed quite dramatically. By the age of twenty, the elite performers averaged 10,000 hours of practice while the less than stellar performers averaged around 4,000 hours.
Gladwell took this theory of time spent on practicing and applied it to other individuals only to find that the same held true in most instances. Enough research was shown to clearly correlate an average amount of time spent to achieve mastery in a particular field.
In the Academy we hope that all players and parents will join us on The Road to 10,000, and show the motivation to train and practice more away from mandatory practice sessions, then each individual will begin to develop at a higher rate than those who simply do the minimum team requirements every week. Opportunities for players are endless when they become confident in their skills and are able to break over that barrier of resistance. This barrier, of course, is when a player is learning a skill and cannot perform that skill with any form of consistency. This can lead to frustration and the urge to quit or stop trying. The Road to 10,000 uses time as the critical factor, not successes or failures which are inevitable. The idea is fairly straight forward. The more you practice, the better you will become.
In addition to the technical curriculum, the Academy is a great way for players to realize the value of time spent on a craft. We hope to instill unforgettable training habits in every player and will continue to encourage the self-motivated approach to player development and growth.