Jump to content

Talent Or Practice ?


boredcol
 Share

Recommended Posts

Hi

 

Are the top guys Moto GP/WSBK etc more talented than the rest of us, or is it just down to practice practice practice ?

Was reading an article the other day about how they are testing the new 1000's for next year and the one rider (can't remember who it was) had just done over 350 laps of testing at the weekend. Jeez, I'll probably never do that many laps of a track in my lifetime. Its not fair.tongue.gif

I know there is a book about that so calls dispels the myth of talent and says its all down to aptitude/attitude/hard work & heaps of practice.

Any thoughts ??

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hmmm

 

But is there such a thing as 'natural talent'.

Rossi started racing bikes at 5 !!!

Spies at 5

Stoner at 4 !!!!!!

Pedrosa at 4

Lorenzo at 3 !!!!!!!

 

So is it a natural talent, or just a skill learnt by growing up with bikes and the right opportunity ?

+ hard work etc

 

 

I'm at work with a lot of time on my hands, so just thinking of things laugh.gif

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You can become quite good simply by being persistent and starting out early, but if your vision is impaired or your balance a little off or you lack the ability to absorb and react to lots of things at the same time, for instance, you will never be great. Just as everybody cannot be strongest in the world or fastest or speak 20 languages fluently.

 

To put it another way; there are thousands upon thousands of kids starting early out, but only a handful each year manage to enter the world stage.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes, i can see that, but surely if it was 'natural talent' there would be some guys who get into bikes into their early twenties say, discover they have this 'natural talent' and take the world by storm. But it isn't like that, it always seems to be the guys who have grown up with it.

As Casey Stoner said 'I was always poor on the brakes and spent a lot of hours in practice to improve, now i'm very confident on the brakes'

So it wasn't his talent that made him improve but hard work, persistence and practice.

 

We could probably go round in circles with this but still, it keeps the grey matter working rolleyes.gif

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Malcom Gladwell did a very good bit of research on this type of topic ("Tipping Point") Here's a short article on that part of the book: http://www.dailymail...m-Gladwell.html

 

His conclusion was that there is no such thing as a natural born maestro. By his reckoning, anyone considered as such had put in at least 10,000 hours of hard work BEFORE they were regarded as such (Chess, Software, Pianist, Hockey, etc) I suspect he is right and that there is no difference when it comes to motorcycle racing. You need a good bit of natural ability/talent AND the passion and luck to be able to devote a boatload of time to refining it.

 

 

 

-C

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Cheers for the link, it certainly explains it better than I can rolleyes.gif

 

Mick Doohan started at 9

Troy Bayliss was motocrossing and dirt track when he was 6

Biaggi is the latest starter I can find, started riding at 17 and racing at 18

 

Not much hope for me at 44 laugh.gif

Ah well, thats wasted a few hours of worktime blink.gif

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Malcom Gladwell did a very good bit of research on this type of topic ("Tipping Point") Here's a short article on that part of the book: http://www.dailymail...m-Gladwell.html

 

His conclusion was that there is no such thing as a natural born maestro. By his reckoning, anyone considered as such had put in at least 10,000 hours of hard work BEFORE they were regarded as such (Chess, Software, Pianist, Hockey, etc) I suspect he is right and that there is no difference when it comes to motorcycle racing. You need a good bit of natural ability/talent AND the passion and luck to be able to devote a boatload of time to refining it.

While Gladwell definitely have helped popularize the ideas of the "tipping point" and that it takes 10.000 hours of practice to become an expert on a subject, he is not the original researcher/source on the either.

 

The original text on the 10.000hours of training is an article in Harvard Business Review called "Making of an expert" by K. Anders Ericsson, Michael J. Prietula and Edward T. Cokely.

 

(I think we've been over this once before).

 

Edit: Yup, I even started the old thread What Does It Take To Excel? :)

 

/Kai

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sure, nobody would argue that practice makes perfect (or at least very good) provided decent intelligence and physical ability. You cannot expect to become a world champion at anything without practice. Lots of it. But the gap between expert and champion is something very few can gap.

 

And we all know mechanics, welders, doctors and whatnots that despite wast experience will never become experts, or even good, at their job. So you need both ability/talent and persistence to get really good at just about anything that needs skill.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I started riding in my late thirties and was convinced that I had the talent and physical dispossition. My father a very tallented rider started riding at 7 and always tried to push me into riding. This backfired and I hated bikes. One day the riding gene clicked in and I purchased a bike and started practicing. One aspect that many of you have not mentioned is determination. I recall the exact moment in my life when I

decided I would be a great rider or at least try. I believe all world class riders posses true determination to become the best they can. This fuels the urge to learn, practice and push their limits.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 years later...

Dragging out an old topic from hibernation. I have just finished Croz' biography and am currently reading Toseland's, and both seems to be what you would call "naturals". Neither had formal training in riding, both were near the peak of their sport just about from the first race.

 

Personally, I believe you must have talent first and foremost. That alone will never make you number 1 - for that to happen, you also need plenty of determination. This again will lead to lots of practice, which again will lead to improved performance. But a person lacking the required talent can practice all he/she want - my claim is that that person will never reach the peak of the sport and likely will not even be able to hang with a raw talent with limited practice.

 

It's the same with any sport. For instance, roughly 15% of the population will not run much faster even if they run a marathon every day, whereas 15% will benefit immensely from the same training. In order to become the best in the world, you must belong to the upper 15% - no amount of determination will ever make you competitive if you are in the bottom 15%.

 

I expect the same to be true for riding motorcycles. A good portion of the population simply doesn't have the coordination, the eye sight, the flexibility, the endurance, the guts and the sensory capacity to become very good, not to mention excel.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I always wondered how those superstars (i.e. mgp, moto2 and wsbk riders) treats the called "riding technology".

 

I mean, I've never heard a single soul talking about countersteering on an interview. I bet they have no clue about it.

It's all about braking, trail-braking, leg waving...

 

But the "pick up" technique is always mentioned (the one and only).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have thought about this a lot in the context of motor racing (mostly cars). I agree with Eirik. There is some fraction of the population that will never be any good at it at all no matter how much effort they put it. Sucks to be them.

 

Then there is the vast majority of us, who can achieve some decent level of competence with enough time and work and persistence.

 

But then in walks natural talent boy (or girl) who shows up for their first track day and by noon are going as fast as many of us who have been at it for years. With a couple years practice and lots of hard work and proper support, those are the ones who can win national championships and such. The rest of us just simply can't do that, no matter how much determination and money we might have available to throw at it. Sorry.

 

I put natural talent at about 75% of the equation. Hard work and opportunity (like having a rich daddy who gets you onto a good ride early on) make up the other 25%.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I always wondered how those superstars (i.e. mgp, moto2 and wsbk riders) treats the called "riding technology".

 

I mean, I've never heard a single soul talking about countersteering on an interview. I bet they have no clue about it.

It's all about braking, trail-braking, leg waving...

 

But the "pick up" technique is always mentioned (the one and only).

 

"riding technology" sells products for a specific bike~

 

CSBK sells skills that you can use on any bike .

 

Its just business / marketing

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Grit is definitely also part of the equation.

 

Yes, you need talent, yes you need practice, but without the grit and ambition to see things through when the going gets tough (and it will get tough), you will not make it to the top.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

I always wondered how those superstars (i.e. mgp, moto2 and wsbk riders) treats the called "riding technology".

 

I mean, I've never heard a single soul talking about countersteering on an interview. I bet they have no clue about it.

It's all about braking, trail-braking, leg waving...

 

But the "pick up" technique is always mentioned (the one and only).

 

"riding technology" sells products for a specific bike~

 

CSBK sells skills that you can use on any bike .

 

Its just business / marketing

 

riding technology is how Keith Code calls the art of cornering on a motorcycle.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

YellowDuck, I think you said it well. Also, khp, I agree you need grit or determination or whatever word you want to put on it because talent alone won't cut it these days. Well, it probably never did because you always had to be willing to put your skills to their test at the absolute limit - and often beyond. But you can have grit to the hilt and not get anywhere if you don't know your right leg from the left.

 

We can actually look at this mathematically. The best riders in the world are supposed to be found in MotoGP. If we are very generous, we set the average career in the class to 15 years. Over that period, there will be 270 races. If we allow for a different rider to win each race, it will allow 270 racers to be the best. Once. In 15 years. Out of 7 billion, that means one out of 26 million people can win - once - over 15 years. The chances of winning the big lottery price is significantly greater ;)

 

There is a reason why so few can proclaim to be the very best, regardless of their sport - it takes a combination of massive talent and even greater determination as well as tons of work to be the best.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Keith looks at the question (the question of nature vs nurture...He doesn't use that phrase) in Twist by considering that riders with aptitude in only a in a few areas can become very good and better than some with aptitude in all if they are motivated but that motivation alone will not make them winners at the highest level if they have no physical skills and are driven only by emotion. Granted this is my interpretation of Keith's assessment in one particular section of the book as well as his comment in a completely different section, and concludes with how I THINK he sees it overall. I'll go a little further myself and say that MONEY could play a tremendous factor in this equation by allowing someone with less ability to use anything, everything, and especially technology and time to overcome even serious deficits in ability. The most serious hindrance barring a complete physical deficit is time. TIME and AGE carry with them limitations that become insurmountable. Who knows how long a given individual may take to master a given skill, but they may be able to master what others thought impossible for that individual given enough time, money, and dedication. But an 80 year old will probably not heal so well after a big crash without some unknown medical miracle to use another example. Apologies for not having the correct references from Twist at my fingertips and for performing a bit of sleight of hand with Keith's thinking, but I think I'm in the right ball park with my response. Please correct or help me where necessary as several responses are similar with the exception of applying Keith's mind to the issue directly. I doubt Keith will be angry for my trying to make for safer riding.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

But money will be spent most on the best in any given sport. So whereas lots of money can help you achieve better results than virtually no money, it can only take you this far before your personal limitations sets in. And these limits vary from one person to the next. Very few will be able to bench press 300 kg / 660 lbs no matter how early they start or how they train, and very few will run the 100 metre dash in under 9.8 seconds, regardless of desire and hours spent working out. For the same reasons, very few racers will be able to become world champions. It takes a lot more than merely being very good.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Because talent alone is never enough (in a widely spread competitive sport) and hard work is never enough, you also need expert guiding and an environment to reach your peak.

 

This is my view on the Spanish dominance:

 

If you took a person with talent, gave him a motorcycle at the age of 3 and let him/her ride as much as he wanted. This little person was also determined and didn't need encouragement to ride for hours a day. As he or she aged, larger and better bikes were introduced and the trainer would give advice as best he could. After 15 years of practice, this young person is thrown into a MotoGP race, his/her first ever race. Would it be crowned with a win? Very unlikely. More likely than not, this dedicated person would be far behind the pace, but if the talent was immense he could be mid-pack and over time develop to a winner.

 

In Spain, they have big riding schools and many kids that want to ride and race motorcycles. So there are more young Spanish riders than let's say American upcoming road racers. First advantage through multiplication. They also have many skilled coaches that that will aid the students' learning curves. Second advantage through tuition. In addition, they constantly measure themselves against their peers - of which there are many - and can learn from them as well as being pushed to extend themselves as others get ahead. Third advantage though a competitive environment.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In the best of all worlds more riders would get the chance to train with the best of bikes, tracks, coaches, etc until they themselves, say ok I'm not getting any better, I don't want to do this any more...that's how money limits the sport.

 

As well, motorcycle racing is not as simple as lifting a world record amount or running world championship race even though preparation for these events is complex. Yet in events like these there is always a story of some freak of nature occurrence for example, when the guy on the wrestling mat is obviously the loser before the match even starts because his body fat content is way over what champions generally are, his record shows many losses below the Olympic gold medal level and he is facing a near lifetime undefeated wrestler who is built like an Olympic god. Yet he wins and this is a real life true story. Another example is a horse with a disproportionate build who becomes a great champion.

You would know better than I of an example of a road racer who shouldn't win a big race but does or shouldn't have been competitive in world class racing but was or is.

 

The mind. Neither of us mentioned the mind in our analysis. It is probably the biggest asset in an incredibly complex sport like ours. It's also not something that is necessarily measured by IQ.

 

I think your initial comment regarding how the least talented having to work the hardest and vice versa is closest to what I believe. Add to that that things don't always go according to plan. There are so many aspects of racing and riders that have either gone unnoticed, been affected by a freak occurrence, or changed, long before Marquez dragged an elbow. That's why we race.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...