Daniel Coyle. The Talent Code

I recently finished this book, and I am a little reluctant to post it, since it is not strictly a golf instruction book. It is however a book that explores how extremely skillful people, whether the be golfers, soccer , baseball, or basketball players, scientists, musicians, business men,etc …get that way.

The author has visited several “hotbeds” of talent…a tennis club in Russia, a town in Brazil(soccer),an island in the Caribbean( baseball), music schools…and he proposes several common denominators. He goes as far as giving scienific explanation as to what s happening when we develop any skill ( myelination of neuronal circuits in out brains).

Not surprisingly, the key early ingredient is what the calls “ignition”…he explores how this happens. It can be instantaneous or a long process. We would know this as the firing of passion that gets you interested and keeps you going in your quest to improve. By virtue of being students ,almost all of us must have this quality I suspect. While not mentioned in the book., we have heard how Nick Faldo watched Jack Nicklaus win a Masters on TV, and at that moment decided to channel his energy into becoming a great golfer. He was ignited.

He also discusses the “deep practice” that must occur over time…and it is a bunch ( 10,00 hours). With this must come proper coaching, and he uses John Wooden(UCLA basketball) and others as examples of great coaches and how they work their magic.

I scarcely read a page without thinking of Lag’s course…in fact, it is uncanny how many parallels there are. From what I have seen, Coyle could have written a chapter on ABS. Early on Coyle discusses the development of a flight simulator to train pilots…this so much reminded me of the “Lag Bag” and the benefits we get. The shanty town appearance of many hotbeds …and our homemade military duffle bags in cold musty basements, our buying 50 year old clubs on eBay “for the price of a haircut”(Lag). The analysis of Woodens’ coaching…“do this, not this , do this” is so much like Lag’s fine tuning of our module work.

I suppose we all harbor the hope that we are on the path that will lead to big improvements…time will tell. There are other books and articles out there that explore this process of skill development…“Talent is Over-rated”, “Outliers” , and “The Art of Learning” are some of them. In some ways, many may already know or have an inkling about this subject. This book will crystallize and support those thoughts and feelings. This book gives a very plausible explanation of what is happening as you develops skills…it will add fuel to your fire!! You will look at the world differently.


mention was made of “Futsal”…which is like soccer, with a smaller ball, fewer palyers, smaller court. The author suggests it is an ingredient in developing world class soccer skills, and unlike basketball, requires much less coaching intervention…because the playing does the teaching. And the faster pace creates much more interaction/learning than regular soccer.

Again, this brings to mind the Lag Bag/ module drills…which itself is a sort of “combination” training device…is is an aid that does a lot of the teaching itself, offers tons of encounters, without the potential discouragement that accompanies bad ball flight , …but with the added benefit of Lag’s coaching…“tightening the tolerances”.

I am a relative “new boy” to ABS. I would be interested if those farther along than I in the modules can confirm or deny their perception of these similarities as they proceed through the course.

Great posts Eagle. I have not read the book though the 10,000 hours thing seems to pop up everwhere at the mo. I’m definitely tempted to spend my Xmas book voucher on this - sounds interesting. In similar but perhaps slightly more philospohical vein I really enjoyed this that I read over the holiday season:


Cheers, Arnie

The 10,000 hours has been questioned of late.

I know a guy who has talked about it so will email him to see if he’ll shed light.

Had the ‘talent code’ recommended to me as well by John Richardson who especially liked the deep practice concept (when he first talked about it to me, I reminded him how Gary Player did a similar thing by refusing to stop practicing his bunker shots till he had holed a certain amount).

In my opinion, there is little ‘new’ in these books, most of them say the same thing, (lots of) perfect practice makes perfect.

I received the ‘whole brain’ book yesterday, am reading something else just now but will probably begin it later this week.

I just wish it was hitting 10,000 golf balls
and not 10,000 hours…
I am getting too old!! :smiley:

You’re right…10,000 hours can’t be a hard and fast rule ( I hope not at my age!). And look at Larry Nelson(posted by Two on the Greg Norman mod 2 thread)…he was “tour good” in just three years.

Maybe his “baseball circuits” were useful to him…like Sam Byrd. Alos, he must have been a gritty competitor, considering his Ryder Cup record.

The Whole Brain book talks extensively about the “myelination of the circuits” …"Talent " calls it “turning alleyways into super-highways” so it’ll be interesting to hear your take on that.

wabi__sabi recently pointed out that Coyle has a blog. Having read several of his blog posts, it is clear these are a fine extension and amplification of the principles in his book.

Here’s the link to all of his blog posts:

Here’s an awesome example, entertaining and inspiring:
thetalentcode.com/2009/04/23/dec … ill-biker/

Daniel Coyle took the summer off, but is back and has some new posts on his blog, which is a good supplement to his book The Talent Code.

In Jan 2010 I wrote:

It still seems true. Reading his periodic blogs helps maintain motivation.


Good one today…and it’s golf related.


thetalentcode.com/2011/12/22/the … /#comments

Coyle makes an interesting point, and we can relate:

Look at our love of our games’ physical elements…from clubs to shoes to balls to the courses we play. And we break each down to tiny building blocks. eg…clubs…dead weight, balance, materials,lie, flex,grip…on and on, as well as how each affects the game dynamically and inter-relatedly. We’ve got that part down!

It’s a good point.

I certainly feel that “enchantment” relationship with a set of persimmons that by their very nature allow me to adjust, manipulate the weighting, lie angle, and even re shape the head grinding with files or sanding, moving weight around through drilling holes and filling with lead in various places. Certainly an easier process with many more options due to the organic nature of wood itself. I relate to the sound of it being struck, and while beauty is subjective, I’m hard pressed to believe anyone could possibly think a metal wood could ever have the aesthetic beauty of a shiny piano finish on a persimmon. Because woods are an organic material, no two will ever be exactly the same… and this allows for that special connection to manifest. I think of Pirsig’s interrogation of quality in “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” where subject meets object.

I was grinding the hell out of one of my wedges with a file recently radically altering the bounce and flange on the bottom, but intrigued also by the nature of the “Double Duty” scalloped flange presented by the original designer… basically because I love the head shape and the slight bit of forward face progression it offers without having to do any unusual neck bends. Basically turning a SW into a flat flanged gap wedge. It’s just not a club I could go out and buy off a retail rack, not would I be able to find any factory making such a club. It will be a totally unique club when I am done with it… a true one of a kind retrofitted to exactly what I want out of such a club without compromise.


Another from Coyle…
thetalentcode.com/2012/01/18/the … /#comments

And a good tip for those of us wanting the quantum leap.

And a link to a real life example…
nytimes.com/2006/05/04/sport … lgado.html

Coyle on slumps:


RR…this is Right up your alley…vivid images.


Thanks Eagle, I’ll have a gander pretty soon and get back. :slight_smile:

Started to read thru some of his stuff Eagle and it reads well, and well thought out too.

I liked the John Wooden’s comment about “be quick, but never in a hurry”. If I was taking a test on that statement’s application to golf I would say the cross applicability would be that our first instinct is generally the correct one. If I feels like a 6 iron, we probably made that choice “quickly” based on instinct, but once the choice has been made no need to hurry. See it, feel it, do our best to execute it, and live with the results.

Also like the words on managing time to our advantage- like the tennis player hitting late in order to gather more information along the way. Time, an interesting word and concept, nice to be able to immmerse ourself within it so that we lose track of it, so that when we are done playing we wonder where the time went while having fun. No concept of time, we are time and time is us and how we use time determines how time uses us…maybe :laughing:

Now Father Time needs some coffee. :sunglasses:

Has anyone checked out this guy at http://www.thedanplan.com. He took up the challenge of 10,000 hours, total begginer at golf when he started, 3100 hours of practice later and he’s has a current handicap index of 5.9. Very interesting

Coyle has a new book out today. I bet it is a good one. Here is his blog post about it…



Another good installment. If you look at this kid’s Youtube videos, you’ll see his dad has taught him golf and all sorts of other sports. Looks like both of them are having fun.

Good one Eagle.

The youngin’ is simply executing, keeping it simple. I don’t quite know that I agree with the 10 second fork in the road description being an indicator of future exploration or success. Perhaps people with dogged determination are those who meet failure in their first exposure perceive a challenge for the undertaking. Anyhoo, I like his stuff and appreciate you taking the time to post his work.

Getting cold up North. Wish I could rustle me up some pajamas like the toddler has…gotta have warm feet. :laughing: