LET’S START WITH a couple of stories from the people of sports. This initially one, you probably know.

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The boy’s father could tell somepoint was different. At 6 months old, the boy could balance on his father’s palm as he walked with their home. At salso months, his father gave him a putter to fool about with, and also the boy dragged it all over he went in his little bit circular baby walker. At ten months, he climbed down from his high chair, trundled over to a golf club that had been reduced dvery own to dimension for him, and imitated the swing he’d been watching in the garage. Since the father couldn’t yet talk via his son, he drew photos to present the boy how to place his hands on the club. “It is exceptionally challenging to communicate exactly how to putt once the boy is too young to talk,” he would later note.

At two—an age when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention list physical developmental milestones choose “kicks a ball” and also “stands on tiptoe”—he went on nationwide television and also supplied a club tall enough to reach his shoulder to drive a round previous an admiring Bob Hope. That same year, he entered his initially tournament, and also won the ten-and-under department.

There was no time to waste. By three, the boy was learning how to play out of a “sand also twap,” and also his father was mapping out his destiny. He knew his kid had been chosen for this, and that it was his duty to overview him. Think around it: if you felt that particular around the course ahead, maybe you also would start prepping your three-year-old to manage the unpreventable and also insatiable media that would come. He quizzed the boy, playing reporter, teaching him how to provide curt answers, never before to market more than exactly what was asked. That year, the boy shot 48, eleven over par, for nine holes at a course in The golden state.

When the boy was four, his father could drop him off at a golf course at nine in the morning and also pick him up eight hrs later on, sometimes via the money he’d won from those foolish enough to doubt.

At eight, the child beat his father for the first time. The father didn’t mind, bereason he was persuaded that his boy was singularly talented, and also that he was uniquely equipped to assist him. He had actually been an excellent athlete himself, and versus enormous odds. He played baseball in college when he was the just black player in the whole conference. He understood civilization, and also discipline; a sociology major, he served in Vietnam as a member of the Army’s elite Environment-friendly Berets, and later taught emotional warfare to future police officers. He kbrand-new he hadn’t done his finest with three children from a previous marital relationship, yet currently he might watch that he’d been given a second chance to execute the right point with number four. And it was all going according to plan.

The boy was currently famous by the moment he got to Stanford, and also soon his father opened up about his importance. His boy would certainly have a bigger impact than Nelson Mandela, than Gandhi, than Buddha, he insisted. “He has a bigger forum than any of them,” he shelp. “He’s the bridge in between the East and also the West. Tright here is no limit because he has actually the guidance. I don’t know yet specifically what develop this will take. But he is the Chosen One.”


This second story, you also most likely know. You might not identify it at initially.

His mommy was a coach, however she never coached him. He would kick a ball roughly through her as soon as he learned to walk. As a boy, he played squash via his father on Sundays. He dabbled in skiing, wrestling, swimming, and skateboarding. He played basketball, handsphere, tennis, table tennis, badminton over his neighbor’s fence, and also soccer at school. He would later provide crmodify to the wide array of sports he played for helping him develop his athleticism and hand-eye coordination.

He discovered that the sport really didn’t issue much, so long as it had a round. “I was constantly very a lot more interested if a ball was associated,” he would certainly remember. He was a child who loved to play. His paleas had actually no certain athletic aspirations for him. “We had no plan A, no setup B,” his mommy would certainly later say. She and also the boy’s father encouraged him to sample a large array of sports. In reality, it was important. The boy “ended up being unbearable,” his mother sassist, if he had to continue to be still for also long.

Though his mother taught tennis, she chose against working through him. “He would have actually simply upcollection me anymethod,” she said. “He tried out eextremely strange stroke and absolutely never before changed a sphere typically. That is ssuggest no fun for a mother.” Rather than pushy, a Sports Illustrated writer would observe that his parents were, if anypoint, “pully.” Nearing his teens, the boy started to gravitate more towards tennis, and also “if they nudged him at all, it wregarding stop taking tennis so seriously.” When he played matches, his mother often wandered away to chat through friends. His father had only one rule: “Just don’t cheat.” He didn’t, and he started acquiring really great.

As a teenager, he was great enough to warrant an interview through the neighborhood newspaper. His mom was appalled to review that, when asked what he would buy via a hypothetical initially payexamine from playing tennis, her kid answered, “a Mercedes.” She was relieved when the reporter let her listen to a recording of the interview and they realized there’d been a mistake: the boy had actually shelp “Mehr CDs,” in Swiss Gerguy. He simply wanted “even more CDs.”

The boy was competitive, no doubt. But once his tennis instructors chose to move him up to a team with older players, he asked to move earlier so he can remain via his friends. After all, component of the fun was hanging approximately after his lessons to gab around music, or pro wrestling, or soccer.

By the moment he finally gave up other sports—soccer, many notably—to focus on tennis, various other children had actually long given that been functioning through strength coaches, sports psychologists, and nutritionists. But it didn’t seem to hamper his advance in the long run. In his midthirties, an era whereby even legendary tennis players are commonly retired, he would still be ranked number one in the world.

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Contents

ALSO BY DAVID EPSTEIN

TITLE PAGE

DEDICATION

EPIGRAPH

INTRODUCTION: Roger vs. Tiger

CHAPTER 1: The Cult of the Head Start

CHAPTER 2: How the Wicked World Was Made

CHAPTER 3: When Less of the Same Is More

CHAPTER 4: Learning, Fast and Slow

CHAPTER 5: Thinking Outside Experience

CHAPTER 6: The Trouble with Too Much Grit

CHAPTER 7: Flirting through Your Possible Selves

CHAPTER 8: The Outsider Advantage

CHAPTER 9: Lateral Thinking with Withered Technology

CHAPTER 10: Fooled by Expertise

CHAPTER 11: Learning to Drop Your Familiar Tools

CHAPTER 12: Delibeprice Amateurs

CONCLUSION: Expanding Your Range

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

NOTES

INDEX

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


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