10,000 Hours of Practice
June 13, 2014 by Don Gentle
According to author Malcolm Gladwell, it takes roughly ten thousand hours of practice to achieve mastery in a field. Our activity design at High Rocks falls under that same premise. We encourage boys to sign up for activities not just for a day or a week, but for the whole session. We want them to work through a progression of skills so that they learn and advance through an activity. Each day adds to the next. Better yet, each year adds to the next. Do you know we keep track where each archer and rifleman left off at the end of last season? We take that information and add it to their database file. When we begin the next season, they can start to warm up for a few days and then work from where they left off on a newly printed scorecard with their details on it. We try to teach these guys that it may take several seasons to get to where they want to be in their activity.
Gladwell studied the lives of extremely successful people to find out how they achieved success. There are a couple more cool things that he found. One interesting point is that no naturally gifted performers emerged. The elite practiced more than twice as much as those that were less able performers. My favorite is that that the elite fell in love with practice. I feel like that’s where camp comes in to play again. We make these activities so interesting and fun with a direct goal that the guys enjoy the practice. I don’t want you to think we are trying to create elite paddlers or climbers or anything like that here at High Rocks. Rather, we are teaching these boys that it takes hard work and a lot of practice to be really good at something. Actually, everything! You have to work hard to get on the next river or the next biking trip; it does not come handed to you in a shiny cupcake wrapper with sprinkles.
Speaking of practice, we had an awesome time in activities today! We had a couple French Broad half-day trips go out to practice what to do on moving water. These boys are prepping for the Green River next week. We also had an all day hike to Bennett Gap in Pisgah National Forest. Some of these guys are prepping for two and three day overnights in the coming weeks Finally, the mountain bikers took a half-day ride over in DuPont State Forest. It was a large and exciting time in camp as well.
My favorite part of my job is to walk through camp with a camera. It allows me to focus intently on what is being taught and see the boys immersed in their activities. These guys have already come a long way in just five days. The best part is that they are having a blast. The activities are just one of the many awesome things they will do this session
Did I say fun. Well, tonight is Air Band night. We will have some great pictures come tomorrow from that event. Woody, Zoob, and I will be doing a little pop song event ourselves.
Enjoy the pictures. It’s just another day of practice, and we keep getting better.