ITF Worldwide Coaches Conference, Antalya (Turkey) – November 28, 2015
After attending the Worldwide Coaches Conference (WWC15)
I was inspired to start a blog with ideas that are worth to share!
As my first post, I would like to present some key points for the entire sports community.
I always asked myself when I was competing at a higher level:
What is the difference between elite and average athletes?
And after searching everywhere there was one study that gave me an actual answer…
Decoding the Patterns of the Elite
In the early 1990’s, a trio of psychologists went to a historic arts academy in Berlin in order to study the violinists and separate them into 2 groups:
- Elite Players
Students who the professor believed would go onto careers as professional performers
- Average players
Students who were on track to become music teachers; they were serious about violin, but as their professors explained, their ability was not in the same league as the first group.
The results were very interesting to me:
- The average players worked as many hours as the elite players (50h/week on music).
- However, the average players did not dedicate their practice hours to the right type of work, spending almost 3 times less hours than the elites on deliberate practice.
- Furthermore, the average group spread their work haphazardly throughout the day. So even though they were not doing more work than the elite players, they ended up sleeping less and feeling more stressed; not to mention that they remained worse at the violin.
- The elite players, by contrast, consolidate their work into two well-defined periods, sleep an hour more per night and were significantly more relaxed than the average players, and the best of the best were the most relaxed of all.
This provides empirical evidence that there is an important difference between
“Hard Work and Working Hard”
To explain what I mean and make it more clear:
- Hard Work
Deliberate practice: The uncomfortable methodical work of stretching your ability
This type of work is not fun while you’re doing it, but you don’t have to do too much of it in any one day (elite players engage in deliberate practice 3.5hours per day, broken into two sessions). It also provides you measurable progress in a skill, which generates a strong sense of contentment and motivation. Although hard work is hard, it is not draining and fits nicely into a relaxed and enjoyable day..
- Hard to work
By contrast, this type of work is draining. It has you running around all day in a state of false busyness that leaves you, like the average players, feeling tired and stressed. It also, as we just learned, has very little to do with real accomplishment.
And this leads to my Conclusion
If your goal is to build a remarkable life, then busyness and exhaustion should be your enemy.
The solution suggested by this study is………… Do less.
BUT do what you do with complete and hard focus.
Then, when you’re done be done, and enjoy the rest of the day.