skill/talent - nature OR nurture

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4/17/2017 4:54 PM
Edited Date/Time: 4/17/2017 4:55 PM

This is a question I always ponder on. Chad Reed believes champions are born, that a if your the type of guy to barely qualify a factory bike wont improve that.

He made a tweet saying "you give the 20th place guy my bike nothing changes. #talentneeded"

Myself, I think the cream of the crop tippy top riders brains' process information faster. I feel thats something your just born with. I know training is obviously important but do you guys feel that every person has a "talent threshold" ya know? AKA work yourself into the ground but you still plateau?

I race woods, there was a kid named Aaron that started riding with us. Never had a bike before and bought one cause all his buddies has them. After riding his turd of a 04 RMZ250 (bone stock) a handful of times he was able to keep up with us B riders, and at the end of that same season I had nothing for him. Now hes on a tear in our local A class, and here in Indiana our local series IMO are the fastest next to the GNCC. He almost always wins his class and hovers around top 10 overall with usually a dozen pro riders, and several GNCC XC1 and XC2 guys. I have been riding for a decade and in one year he stomps a mud hole in my ass.


Whatcha think? Myself, Ive been on 2 wheels for like I said multiple years and I feel in these last few I have made no progress in my speed or skill.

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4/17/2017 4:56 PM

I think you answered your own question.

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4/17/2017 5:00 PM

There's people that are naturally talented. There's guys that work incredibly hard. When the same person has both traits, you get a champion.

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4/17/2017 5:06 PM

hvaughn88 wrote:

There's people that are naturally talented. There's guys that work incredibly hard. When the same person has both traits, you get a champion.

Yep. Carmichael worked. Pastrana talented. Others have one, but not the other. In moto, lots of talent with not much hard workers. Its the work that's hard, having talent makes for lazy, at least in general.

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4/17/2017 5:35 PM

That's a funny tweet. You give Chad Reed his bike and you get a 15th place rider. #retirementneeded. Seriously though there are guys out there way more deserving of that ride.

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4/17/2017 5:37 PM

hvaughn88 wrote:

There's people that are naturally talented. There's guys that work incredibly hard. When the same person has both traits, you get a champion.

loftyair wrote:

Yep. Carmichael worked. Pastrana talented. Others have one, but not the other. In moto, lots of talent with not much hard workers. Its the work that's hard, having talent makes for lazy, at least in general.

Not many hard workers in moto?

Lol, these dudes are some of the fittest animals on the planet. They work their balls off for 50 weeks a year. Find another professional sport that has a 2 week offseason AND requires the level a similar level of discipline in their training AND puts them at similar levels of risk while practicing.

I personally think that moto is in the running for gnarliest grind.

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4/17/2017 5:38 PM

tcallahan707 wrote:

I think you answered your own question.

I just wanted some others to weigh in on it

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4/17/2017 5:41 PM

Mitch Payton always says he will take a rider who he knows has a little less talent but has an iron will (a-la Dungey) over a super gifted kid (a-la Lawrence). He said the guys who are a little less talented are usually in the end more successful because they are willing to work their asses off vs a kid who thinks ehhh Im good enough to not need to train.

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4/17/2017 5:42 PM

Juice_Mann wrote:

That's a funny tweet. You give Chad Reed his bike and you get a 15th place rider. #retirementneeded. Seriously though there are guys out there way more deserving of that ride.

lmfao true dat.

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4/17/2017 5:49 PM

Juice_Mann wrote:

That's a funny tweet. You give Chad Reed his bike and you get a 15th place rider. #retirementneeded. Seriously though there are guys out there way more deserving of that ride.

doofy wrote:

lmfao true dat.

highlight of my day

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4/17/2017 5:49 PM

hvaughn88 wrote:

There's people that are naturally talented. There's guys that work incredibly hard. When the same person has both traits, you get a champion.

loftyair wrote:

Yep. Carmichael worked. Pastrana talented. Others have one, but not the other. In moto, lots of talent with not much hard workers. Its the work that's hard, having talent makes for lazy, at least in general.

I think people like Pastrana, Windham and Lechien would argue that they rode a fucking shit load more than a lot of people and their inherent style made them look like they were playing or doing it easy.

RC, RV and Hannah etc is/was definitely talented. If nothing else they had the talent to hold on, which others certainly don't.

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Cheers, Crush
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4/17/2017 5:51 PM

doofy wrote:

Mitch Payton always says he will take a rider who he knows has a little less talent but has an iron will (a-la Dungey) over a super gifted kid (a-la Lawrence). He said the guys who are a little less talented are usually in the end more successful because they are willing to work their asses off vs a kid who thinks ehhh Im good enough to not need to train.

Mitch also lives by the theory that he can work with speed, and generally talent = speed.

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4/17/2017 6:02 PM

I think it's a process of nurturing the talent..

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Current rides-
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2019 KX450

4/17/2017 6:03 PM

hvaughn88 wrote:

There's people that are naturally talented. There's guys that work incredibly hard. When the same person has both traits, you get a champion.

And they have to hate hate hate hate, HATE to lose. Gotta have some fight in em

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4/17/2017 6:08 PM

doofy wrote:

Mitch Payton always says he will take a rider who he knows has a little less talent but has an iron will (a-la Dungey) over a super gifted kid (a-la Lawrence). He said the guys who are a little less talented are usually in the end more successful because they are willing to work their asses off vs a kid who thinks ehhh Im good enough to not need to train.

Alessi vs Villapoto when they turned Pro comes to mind on this. I believe Villapoto was over getting beat. He was willing to "grind" and take his game to the next level.

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4/18/2017 7:29 AM

hvaughn88 wrote:

There's people that are naturally talented. There's guys that work incredibly hard. When the same person has both traits, you get a champion.

loftyair wrote:

Yep. Carmichael worked. Pastrana talented. Others have one, but not the other. In moto, lots of talent with not much hard workers. Its the work that's hard, having talent makes for lazy, at least in general.

Thens there's smart. I bet pasrtrana has more $$ then Ricky and enjoyed life A lot more too. Look how many guys love to hang with Travis verses ricky.

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4/18/2017 7:44 AM

I put this question to TP during a short interview years ago. The game was "This or That?", and the only rule is that you HAD to choose one of the options presented to you.

The question was "talent or work?", and it was the only one in which he broke the rules and said "both".

From the mouth of the horse.

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4/18/2017 7:51 AM
Edited Date/Time: 4/18/2017 7:51 AM

hvaughn88 wrote:

There's people that are naturally talented. There's guys that work incredibly hard. When the same person has both traits, you get a champion.

loftyair wrote:

Yep. Carmichael worked. Pastrana talented. Others have one, but not the other. In moto, lots of talent with not much hard workers. Its the work that's hard, having talent makes for lazy, at least in general.

bsharkey wrote:

Thens there's smart. I bet pasrtrana has more $$ then Ricky and enjoyed life A lot more too. Look how many guys love to hang with Travis verses ricky.

No comment.

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4/18/2017 8:28 AM
Edited Date/Time: 4/18/2017 8:29 AM

Takes natural skill and talent to be successful at motocross. You have to be born with that mental edge, combined with great physical genetics.

If you took any regular joey (such as myself), had them train with Aldon Baker and have a spot on any of the Factory teams, even 5 years down the line at a peak age, they would not even qualify for a supercross or outdoor.
You cannot buy raw speed in this sport.

Some people simply do not have it, while others do.

But that isn't to say that naturally UN-gifted people still cant get semi decent results and have a hell of a good time riding and racing bikes.

You just gota work with what you have, make the best of it, set realistic goals and have fun.

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@russ_69

4/18/2017 8:50 AM

loftyair wrote:

Yep. Carmichael worked. Pastrana talented. Others have one, but not the other. In moto, lots of talent with not much hard workers. Its the work that's hard, having talent makes for lazy, at least in general.

The main thing Carmichael really had to work on was his fitness because of his body type. Trust me, he was every bit as naturally talented as Travis. Just ask anyone that grew up racing against him all the way back to his 60cc days at Dade City Raceway. You knew you were watching greatness in its infancy, he was just that much better than everyone else.

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4/18/2017 9:03 AM

hvaughn88 wrote:

There's people that are naturally talented. There's guys that work incredibly hard. When the same person has both traits, you get a champion.

Your comment is short, concise, cogent, and true.

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4/18/2017 9:11 AM

This is from "The Myth Of Natural Ability In Elite Sport" by Dr. Justin Coulson.

"Of course the myth of natural ability is a handy cop-out for people not doing so well in their given sport. If I’m not naturally gifted, then my poor performance is not “my” fault. It’s genetics conspiring against me. Researchers have absolutely decimated that myth. There’s no such thing as naturals. There are simply those who train their bodies and minds longer, more precisely, more deliberately, and harder than everyone else."

I think if you give a privateer Reed's bike, the privateer will be a little better. If you give Reed the privateer's bike, Reed will be a lot worse.








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4/18/2017 9:34 AM

It's the indian, not the arrow. Put Dungey or Tomac on a lesser bike and he will still get top 5.

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4/18/2017 9:39 AM

No one is born knowing how to ride a motorcycle, but some take to it faster. There is definitely some element of natural balance and talent, but it has to be tempered with practice and conditioning.

I know for me, the reason I am not "pro speed" is not because I cannot ride that way; it is because I cannot ride that way more than a lap and a half before I get tired, the mistakes start eating me up and the conditioning goes away. If I trained like an absolute animal in my youth, maybe I'd have had more influence in the local ranks.
I bet it's the same with the top pros. Chad can say what he wants about needing talent, but I bet he can still outperform the 20th-place guy on a treadmill or pushup competition, 8 times out of 10.

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Braaapin' aint easy.

4/18/2017 9:51 AM

Sports psychologists attribute consistent high performance with a lack of in-the-moment thinking, called "flow".

Some people are born with a knack for not over-thinking things. They are often "naturally gifted" in sport (Roczen for example).

Others repeat the activity and process over and over until they don't have to think about it anymore. These are the hard workers (RD5).

Two paths to the same destination.



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Life's a garden, dig it.

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4/18/2017 9:55 AM

JAC wrote:

This is from "The Myth Of Natural Ability In Elite Sport" by Dr. Justin Coulson.

"Of course the myth of natural ability is a handy cop-out for people not doing so well in their given sport. If I’m not naturally gifted, then my poor performance is not “my” fault. It’s genetics conspiring against me. Researchers have absolutely decimated that myth. There’s no such thing as naturals. There are simply those who train their bodies and minds longer, more precisely, more deliberately, and harder than everyone else."

I think if you give a privateer Reed's bike, the privateer will be a little better. If you give Reed the privateer's bike, Reed will be a lot worse.








Those privateers in most cases are working full time jobs so can't devote the time required to reach elite levels in mx or any other sport.

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No Signature.

4/18/2017 9:56 AM

Tenacious P wrote:

Sports psychologists attribute consistent high performance with a lack of in-the-moment thinking, called "flow".

Some people are born with a knack for not over-thinking things. They are often "naturally gifted" in sport (Roczen for example).

Others repeat the activity and process over and over until they don't have to think about it anymore. These are the hard workers (RD5).

Two paths to the same destination.



I'm no psychologist, so forgive me if this sounds ridiculous, but I've always kinda figured that's why moto seems to have such a fine line of super fast guys that end up screwing up in life. It's almost like that lack of thinking that can cause you to be fast can also cause you to make some pretty poor life decisions away from the track, too.

Might not be accurate, just a thought.

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4/18/2017 10:04 AM

hvaughn88 wrote:

I'm no psychologist, so forgive me if this sounds ridiculous, but I've always kinda figured that's why moto seems to have such a fine line of super fast guys that end up screwing up in life. It's almost like that lack of thinking that can cause you to be fast can also cause you to make some pretty poor life decisions away from the track, too.

Might not be accurate, just a thought.

You aren't alone. I have often wondered about this.

My buddy and I used to joke around and say that we were too "smart" to go that fast. I think there is definitely a correlation in some way. Just not sure exactly how or why.

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4/18/2017 10:06 AM

There is such a high natural component to MX. You have to have the natural ability to see things, process that info and, react at a much faster rate than an average person can. To excel at MX you also have to have an inexplicable lack of fear and a mindset that forgets crashes and injuries like they never happened. Only if you have these two components does hard work become a factor.

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4/18/2017 10:20 AM

Back in the 90's you could get away with a lot of talent and little bit of work. But now you better have shit tons of both. The level of riding in the last 5-10 years has gone really high. You can no longer be talented and cut it. Hell look at herlings. Oozing with talent. Little injury that causes him a few weeks off the bike and he's fighting with guys that he would normally use for a berm. SHits cray these days on both sides of the pond. And people who think Carmichael wasn't as talented as say Pastrana. I just don't agree. He was a fat little Kid on a 85 whooping everyone else in his age group brackets ass in the world. Throwing fuckin whips over the step up at gatorback back In the day on an 85 all fat and shit! That wasn't from his super clean diet training regimen. He looked like he just got out of fuckin jollypirate donuts and hopped on his bike to go race. Pastrana was all balls. Doing flips and tricks. Yeah he's talented as hell. But Carmichael was Just as talented on a bike as a kid. One was just tall and skinny and crazy as a wombat, and the other was short fat and determined as fuck to kick everyone's asses. No flips. No tricks. Just W's.

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