Difference between pros and amateurs

bluejeff

Level 5 Valued Member
I think I should maybe add a little addendum:
I think that Dan John's quadrant system really breaks this stuff down. Pros are usually REALLY good at just a FEW things. I have spent the majority of my fitness journey in the calisthenics and bodyweigth world. I spent quite a bit of time training handstands, and have spent a fair amount of time learning what I can from some high-level handbalancers, both in person at workshops and online through podcsts and such. They are prone to overuse injuries because to perfom high level skills (they often consider a solid one-arm handstand "intermediate" for reference) they must practice a LOT. Like, at LEAST four days a week, often for hours at a time when including flexibility and auxilliarly exercises. They must also be vigilant to do excercises that compliment their constant shoulder elevation and wrist extension. However, not as many handbalancers can do high-level strength-oriented calisthenics moves such as a clean 90 degree pushup. Some contortionists are terrible at pullups but can fold themselves into a human-origami.

Thus, I think perhaps pros can often (though perhaps not always) be "defined" as "specialists."
 

offwidth

Level 9 Valued Member
Pros are usually REALLY good at just a FEW things.
I concur that this is the case. But there is that “usually” in the sentence. As with many things there are going to be exceptions to the rule.
There are some rare sports or activities where the professional has to be REALLY good at MANY things.
 

Steve Freides

Staff
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
I was always told this by my old kung fu instructor when I was in high school. It's better to be able to, say, hit really hard and well with one technique, to be able to apply it really really well, than to know a mulititude of techniques and only be "versed" in them. In other words, mastery of few things as opposed to being "sort of proficient" at a ton.
There's quotation from Bruce Lee, if memory serves, towards the back of "Power To The People!" that says (I'm paraphrasing from memory now), "Do not fear the person who has practiced 10 kicks 1000 times each, fear the person who has practiced 1 kick 10,000 times."

-S-
 

the hansenator

Level 6 Valued Member
This. I was always told this by my old kung fu instructor when I was in high school. It's better to be able to, say, hit really hard and well with one technique, to be able to apply it really really well, than to know a mulititude of techniques and only be "versed" in them.
I'm reminded of the kali class I used to attend where the instructor would talk about some of the old masters. A lot of them had a certain thing he was really good at. Like, one guy had a wicked backhand. Anything that came at him he would counter with his back hand. And then he would follow up and stuff but it was his backhand that he relied on. Another guy would keep the stick low. Anything that came at him he would counter by swinging straight up. There would be some footwork and angling but that was his thing. It was different for each person but they all had a thing they were really good at and could rely on and they were successful because of it.
 

Bauer

Level 6 Valued Member
Was he born in January? It's an interesting example from the video I linked above -- starting at 1:10 in the video -- statistically he's 4x more likely to excel in hockey if born in the first quarter of the year, yet most wouldn't think to attribute that factor at all to their success.

I wonder if this can be explained, and I wonder if any similar exists for other sports.
Oh, the younger you are the bigger the difference in abilities by age are.

Thus, when someone is always a little ahead in their physical (and possibly social) development, they tend to get more attention, playing time, and responsibilities within their teams. Over time this adds up. Some major changes may accelerate this (for example hitting adolescence: It is an interesting period when some teenagers suddenly change their interests - while some of their peers still seem like little children.)

Sport cohorts are usually age-based, and apparently the cutoff date in the US is change of years, if I am not mistaken, whereas in Germany it is usually in Summer - between seasons and terms.
 

Bauer

Level 6 Valued Member
I think one factor has not been mentioned that much, but I remember Dan John writing about: Geography. It is interesting to see that some towns produce way more athletes within a given sport than others.

This probably comes down to coaching and infrastructure. Some smaller nations like Sweden or Iceland are extraordinarily successfull in sports, especially compared to, say, China, India, or even Brazil or Mexico. I vaguely remember and interview with a Danish Handball coach saying that one needs only about 300 really skilled athletes to have a large enough pool to build a world class National team. (I might recall the specifics wrong, but you get the idea.)
 
Top Bottom