Today’s message is especially dedicated to the great Didi Fisher Weinreb.

What determines if a player becomes a champion?

Part of it is practice.

A lot of practice. 10,000 hours in fact, according to most performance experts.

But practice does not make perfect.

Perfect practice makes perfect. Some call it “deliberate practice” or “purposeful practice.”

Either way, the road to becoming a champion needs the following ingredients:

1. A lot of practice (20 hours per week for 10 years = 10,000 hours).

2. Practice sessions must focus on progress (instead of results).

3. Practice sessions must be focused on improving your weaknesses (AND improving your strengths).

“When most people practice, they focus on the things they can do effortlessly. Expert practice is different. It entails considerable, specific ,and sustained efforts to do something you can’t do well – or even at all. Research across domains shows that it is only by working at what you can’t do that you turn into the expert you want to become,” said psychologist, S.W. Tyler.

Matthew Syed says that “…the practice sessions of aspiring champions have a specific and never-changing purpose: progress. Every second of every minute of every hour, the goal is to extend one’s mind and body, to push oneself beyond the outer limits of one’s capacities, to engage so deeply in the task that one leaves the training session, literally a changed person.”

How will YOU practice today?


Today’s message is especially dedicated to all of you who think that Roger Federer was born with more tennis talent than you. And Happy Birthday to tennis great, coach John Carrigan in the UK.

I’m currently reading a great book, “Bounce – Mozart, Federer, Picasso, Beckham, and the Science of Success” by Matthew Syed.

The premise of the book is that hard work, not talent determines success. Syed talks about the iceberg illusion. This is when we see a Roger Federer and only see the end result (tip of the iceberg). What we don’t see is the thousands of hours of hard work that he put into this “end product of a process measured in years…What we do not see is what we might call the hidden logic of success.”

Now here’s the interesting thing…

In 1984 Desmond Douglas, the greatest ever UK table tennis player, was placed in front of a screen containing a series of touch-sensitive pads at the University of Brighton. He was told that the pads would light up in a random sequence and that his task was to touch the relevant pad with the index finger of his favored hand as soon as he could, before waiting for the next pad to light up…After a minute, the task ended and Douglas’s teammates gave him a round of applause. Douglas grinned as the researcher left the room to collate the results. After five minutes, the researcher returned. He announced that Douglas’s reactions were the slowest in the entire England team: he was slower than the juniors and the cadets; slower even than the team manager…Douglas was universally considered to have the fastest reactions in world table tennis…

When Roger Federer returns a service, he is not demonstrating sharper reactions than you and I; what he is showing is that he can extract more information from the service action of his opponent and other visual clues, enabling him to move into position earlier and more efficiently than the rest of us, which in turn allows him to make the return – in his case a forehand cross-court winner…

…Federer’s advantage has been gathered from experience: more precisely, it has been gained from a painstaking process of encoding the meaning of subtle patterns of movement drawn from more than ten thousand hours of practice and competition…It is his regular practice that has given him this expertise, not his genes.