Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Anatomy of a basketball superstar - What the Jeremy Lin story can tell us about talent

Here is an interesting article from the New York Times website on the development of the latest NBA 'phenom' Jeremy Lin Jeremy Lin’s Evolution - NYTimes.com. The whole Lin-sanity thing is just my kind of sporting story. Young man against the odds, has a number of hurdles to overcome but eventually gets there through determination and hard work. The other thing I like about the story is what it teaches us about some of the key attributes displayed by talented athletes.

  1. Drive/work ethic: 'Super Lin-tendo' (as he is is also known) was first at practice and last to leave he has a serious commitment to his own improvement and will go further than others in his quest to improve.
  2. 'The rage to master': The piece about Lyn playing the 'Ghost game' and getting really frustrated is illustrative of the characteristic demonstrated by all highly talented people... 'never giving up'. He would not stop until he had cracked it and he would try and try until he did.
  3. Adaptability: A number of things happened in his development that would have stopped some people but he adapted. He was prepared to develop his physique, we learned to change his jump shot technique and he worked out how to see the whole court tactically. Some people will say that...that is just the way I do it....the most talented will find a way to get the job done.
  4. A thirst for knowledge: If he found a challenge or an obstacle he would seek out people who could help him to overcome it. He found coaches that could help him achieve what he wanted to achieve as fast as possible. Talented . people are not satisfied with the status quo, they question and probe and challenge. They can be difficult to manage as a result but they will make progress come what may. Too many young people are afraid to ask questions or question why something is being done. Is this because they are not encouraged to do so and they are afraid that they will be deselected if they are considered to a be 'a problem'.
  5. Humility: The story about Lin giving his 1st class tickets to his team mates tells us a lot about his character. He is humble and he has his feet on the ground and he understands the value to togetherness. Really talented people are very confident (which can be mistaken for arrogance) but also humble enough to know that they are nothing without the people around them that support them.

You can probably pick out a number of additional attributes and I could go on forever but these really stood out to me. 

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