More on the 10,000 Hour Rule from Dr. Ross Tucker, who is the primary author of the Science of Sport blog, and sport physiologist from South Africa. Dr. Tucker recently took part in a BBC interview/debate with Dr. Anders Ericsson; co-author of The Role of Deliberate Practice in the Acquisition of Expert Performance, which spawned the concept of the 10,000 hour rule. After the interview Dr. Tucker posted this note:
Just been involved in what was supposed to pass as debate on genes, talent, training & 10,000 hours with Anders Ericsson. Astonishingly, Ericsson, a psychologist, makes the claim that physiologists have never once found that physiological limitations exist in response to training, or that certain individuals have higher physiological ceilings than others. In other words, the psychologist is telling physiology that anybody can become an elite athlete (in any sport) if they just train. Unfortunately, the BBC didn't allow me to correct his little mistruth, so especially for Ericsson and the BBC, the links below sum up just a small percentage of the evidence that disputes the training theory, and shows that genes matter.The full thread is worth a read, and can be found here.
Hopefully Dr. Tucker will post a link to the interview so we can hear it first hand. If Dr. Ericsson truly did make those claims, it would demonstrate a profound lack of knowledge regarding exercise physiology. However, it would be consistent with Ericsson's longstanding argument that talent doesn't exist, and that achieving expertise in any domain simply requires 10,000 hours of deliberate practice.
Dr. Tucker is far more nuanced in his assessment of what makes an expert, saying it's a mix of talent and hard work. I think he's right, and Dr. Tucker has the research, and common sense, on his side. You can find his excellent two part series on the subject here: Part 1 and Part 2.