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Human Biology

What makes champions? A review of the relative contribution of genes and training to sporting success Ross Tucker, Malcolm Collins Galtonian model proposed that practice and training would lead to improvements in performance, but that a ceiling existed for each person, influenced by heritable characteristics (1800s) Ericsson suggested that performance is constrained not by genetic or innate factors, but by engagement in deliberate practice and training during optimal periods of development (no evidence to suppose this theory) The deliberate practice model for expert performance the distinctive characteristics of exceptional performers are the result of adaptations to extended and intense practice activities that selectively activate dormant genes that are contained within all healthy individuals’ DNA elite performance is achievable for any individual, and is constrained primarily by the ‘engagement in deliberate practice and the quality of the available training resources specific volume of 10 000h must be accumulated, over approximately 10 years of structured training, studied violinists but did not include the variations of hours practiced within each group (expert, great, good) also musical skill in not completely comparable to sport Gronigen talent studies on soccer, hockey, basketball, tennis and gymnastics show that talent identification requires an individualised approach, since individual development differs Chess study found fastest player to reach master level had done so after only 3016 h, another had taken 23 608 h. Other players in the sample had failed to achieve master level despite accumulating over 25 000 h of practice. Variables including practice time could account for only 34% of the variance in performance rating, and it was concluded that practice, while important for performance, was not sufficient for becoming a master darts performance found to be poorly related to deliberate practice time, with only 28% of the variance in performance explained by practice time given hour of practice is not necessarily equal, deliberate practice = practice activities with full concentration on improving some specific aspect some skills may not be of equal importance (strength training vs ball skills), hard to determine concentration level some sports require fewer hours to achieve expert level, few elite athletes actually reach 10000h in Australia, but they may in other countries (USA) talent transfer, based on innate abilities and ability developed through other sports, can accelerate the acquisition of expert performance soccer playing moving onto expert level displayed superi
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