OK, so I would have preferred him to become a tennis player, but it seems that if he is destined for sporting greatness Leo will be a footballer. But it will not be an easy journey. I just thought that people were born with amazing talent (which he clearly is!) and then became rich and famous.
Apparently not, according to a brilliant book I am reading called ‘Bounce – How Champions Are Made’ all about the secrets of success. It’s all about the ‘10,000 hours’ Matthew Syed the author says. Even Mozart, who is considered a child prodigy, had had 6,500 hours of music practice by the time he was 10. So it wasn’t the fact that he was incredibly talented that made him so brilliant, but rather his father pestering him to play musical instruments all day every day. In fact he didn’t start composing his best work until he was in his twenties, by which time he had notched up the golden 10,000 hours.
I discussed the whole sporting greatness thing with Jamie, a friend of mine who is in sports management. “Leo doesn’t stand a chance,” he told me. “You’re far too middle class and nice. Middle class kids don’t become sporting superstars.” He has a point. Look at the way Agassi became the tennis player he was. His father made him hit 2,500 balls A DAY. The Williams sister were in full-time training by the time they were three. And Tiger Woods could hole a put before he could walk properly. Am I prepared to go to such extremes in order to make sure Leo is the new Lampard? In any case, it’s probably too late by now. He’s already seven, so over the hill by these standards.
Still, I am prepared to make some efforts. Today at work my friend Katie told me about how Beckham had a tyre in his garden which he used to kick a football through. When he had got it through 100 times he would go in for his tea. I told Leo about this, whose little eyes lit up. “I’ve got just the perfect thing mummy,” he said scurrying off to come back a minute later with my Pilates ring. So we have rigged it up and he has already got the ball through four times.
Only another 96 to go……middle-class, moi?
Copyright: Helena Frith Powell 2011
Poor Leo – destiny has dealt him a wrong hand – he needed a Chinese mother to give him that extra bullying to succeed. Or perhaps not!
Hi, just taking a glance around your site. Very nice. You know, the 10,000 hours thing was a pretty unverifiable theory posited by Malcolm Gladwell in his book Outliers. His examples included the Beatles in Hamburg and Bill Gates in adolescent summer camps putting the hours in. And indeed Beckham did put the hours in to his football but he never became such an Outlier for his footy skills, which were only occasionally awesome, but for being such a beautiful man and marrying a somewhat famous spice girl. Hours of practice for that? Nil. Madonna probably did 10,000 hours of dance training before she became famous… as a singer. I’m not sure if any of the present Hollywood stars put more than a few weeks into serious drama training, not even RADA gives you 10,000 hours. Yes practice makes perfect but 10,000 hours with two left feet will never a Cantona make and practice really isn’t a commodity that can be evaluated without knowing what you’re doing. Personally I think there’s a killer instinct involved with success and the comfortable middle classes can often struggle to adopt one of those. Good luck to Leo and good to hear from you again.
Thanks for blog comment, I totally agree with you and feel much better – the killer instinct and the killer left foot he has will I hope be the ultimate combination.
Great to be in touch again