The Dan Plan And Specificity
Malcolm Gladwell, in his book ‘Outliers‘, popularised the concept that to become an expert requires 10,000 hours of deliberate practice (which I will write about at some point). Others (for example Daniel Coyle) have run with the idea. Still others, in the way the people do, have taken the 10,000 hours number (because it is the easiest bit) and tried to debunk the idea, conveniently overlooking the fact that the key point is not the time frame but the deliberate practice that is the major determining factor. Still others, have thought “mmm…”.
In the last category is Dan. Dan decided that he wanted to try out that 10,000 thing. He chose golf as his medium and embarked on a journey to become a professional golfer even though he hadn’t picked up a club before he turned 30. Because he lives in 2011, he decided to document his progress on a blog entitled thedanplan.com. And so we can all follow his weekly progress to inevitable greatness (if you believe Gladwell and co) or failure (if you believe the others). The whole thing is interesting in and of itself, but recently he wrote a blog post that touch on the concept of specficity, which is something of a recurring topic of mine. His post related to putting and how he now feels that the way he learnt putting (hours of repetitions on the same green) may have given him some short term mechanical benefits, but in the long term he may not have actually learnt anything about the ‘skill’ of putting.
It is food for thought…