David Epstein is another author chasing the elusive answer to one of the basic and ageless issues of social and natural sciences: Nature versus nurture. His discoveries and conclusions in The Sports Gene: Inside the Science of Extraordinary Athletic Performance are not necessarily new, but he provides ample and interesting evidence that leans more heavily on the side of nature. In doing so, he takes on stock believers in Karl Anders Ericsson’s theoretical set called “deliberate practice.” Ericsson and his colleagues have studied elite “performers” in a variety of fields, including typing, chess playing, musicianship, and athletic skills. Ericsson found that the top performers had logged at least 10,000 hours or 10 years of refined and focused practice. Ericsson found that the more years or hours of deliberate practice logged, the better the elite performer was. Epstein doesn’t discount deliberate practice, but he displays much less enthusiasm than that felt by supporters and scholars of Ericsson’s school of thought.
"The Sports Gene: Inside the Science of Extraordinary Athletic Performance,"
International Dialogue: Vol. 4, Article 6.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.unomaha.edu/id-journal/vol4/iss1/6