Monday, 5 January 2009

Time to Develop Mastery

There is a rule of thumb, primarily bandied about by cognitive psychologists, that it takes about 10,000 hours of practice to gain mastery and expertise in an area. This figure is debatable, and not backed by hard evidence, but I did the maths anyway.

On average I train 12 hrs per week (most weeks ~14, the commonly practiced 4th week of recovery about 10, varying over the course of macro and micro cycles). This gives me ~833 weeks to develop bike racing expertise and skill. That's 16 years. 13 now, less the 3 or so years I've already done. So by the time I get to my mid 50s, I should be just cracking it. You ready for that Coach??


enkerli said...

@Lawrence Thanks for the ping! Always appreciated.
Just to be clear: I wasn't debating the "rule of thumb." It seems quite reasonable and it can be used to discuss expertise outside of some preconceived notion of "talent." But, as I was looking for the original statement about this "rule," the picture which started to emerge is that the study of expertise entails more than rules of thumb. An important thing to consider is that practice can happen outside of the specific activity.

As for your own case, it sounds like you're developing your skills at your own pace, with your own goals. Not everyone should become a master, right?

Lawrence said...

Thanks for the comment! I understand you were seeking the source of the statement. I do however, think that the rule of thumb is open to discussion, particularly in regard to something like cycle racing.

I admit, I did take a bit of liberty with your post, which I found of interest (the links are a fantastic resource in their own right). It was an attempt at Australian humour :-)