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.