Daniel’s formula

At a much appreciated appearance at the England Golf Coaching Conference in Woodhall Spa, Daniel Coyle presented on the ingredients of the talent hotbeds that he visited when researching for his book, The Talent Code. Daniel talked about two things as key factors in these talent hotbeds:
-Deep practice and;
-Love

The way he described deep practice is very similar to Anders Ericsson’s way to define Deliberate Practice. It is the very focused way of working to improve every little weakness in a systematic way. Very often this is done together with a coach that can see the potential (“there you go, but I think you can do better – try this!”) and help focus the practice.

While Anders describes deliberate practice as not always that enjoyable, Daniel illustrates how the youngsters that really come through from these hotbeds completely fall in love with what they do. There are stories about how Rory McIlroy used to chip golf balls into his parents laundry machine for hours and hours. Even though for an outsider that sounds like he would be close to ready to be picked up by the men in white coats, it was almost certainly something he loved.

Daniel’s key message is that talent is not something that has been passed on to a lucky few. It doesn’t come in the genes as a gift from above. On the contrary it is a result of doing the right things with a very clear goal in mind – to improve!

When I walk away from Daniel’s presentation I feel really upbeat for two reasons: 1) this journey towards improvement should never stop. Isn’t our biggest challenge to constantly find the next step on the staircase (and make sure that love is still all around!) for the developing players we deal with? 2) everything Daniel talked about is within our control and possible for us to influence.

That should be reason enough for all of us to never want to stop improving!

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3 Responses to “Daniel’s formula”


  1. 1 George's Mum January 25, 2010 at 10:12 am

    Perhaps the genetic influence is the disposition to want to improve that badly? I’m sure some people just don’t have the inclination to try hard enough so would never get to the point where the question of talent would come up. What do you think?

    • 2 Mattsson Peter January 25, 2010 at 10:22 am

      Could be! It is very difficlt to know this but I am inclined to believe that even trait of being a hard worker is a question of environment rather than what we are born with. However, depending on what we are born with (or what we are born into more specifiaclly) our environment will be different and therefore the responses to the environment will vary. Daniel Coyle for example talks about how the hotbeds he visited were more or less dumps. He also says that it is quite important that they are just that as it sends other signals than if the facilities are top of the line and have everything you ask for. Most people would work quite hard to try and get away from a dump and to a place that is considered better. Perhaps that is where the hard work comes from?

  2. 3 geoffrewin June 7, 2010 at 10:49 am

    Thanks for a really intersting Blog, I have spoken to Dan a couple of times via email and he has allowed me to use his work in my blog , the last one being specifically ‘Talent Hotbeds’….so it’s great to hear of others who are motivated by his work and the fact that ‘Talent’ is no longer seen as ‘birthright’but something that ,with the right passion and commitment, can be enjoyed by just about anyone !
    I’m really pleased I came acoss this Blog and look forward to further ‘reads’ over the coming weeks…thanks Geoff Frewin


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