Are Athletes Born Or Made

2953 Words 12 Pages
Who is the Real Winner?

The question of whether athletes are born or made has become the leading topic of athletic debate in the recent decade. Were esteemed athletes such as Michael Phelps, Usain Bolt, Lionel Messi, and Rory McIlroy born with gifted talent, or were they made elite athletes through hard work and the right nurturing?. Through the development of the human genome and the increasing research into genetics, many scientists and athletes have wondered if nature or nurture has more of an effect on athletic ability. Some scientists, optimistic about the future of genetics, have claimed that winners posses innate traits from birth, while others believe it is the development of talent that is more important in success. Through numerous
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Carol Dweck who publicised her research in the book Mindset showed that “people who had a ‘fixed’ mindset (believing that talent was something natural) tended not to try as hard when faced with challenges, whereas those with a ‘growth’ mindset believed that you could eventually achieve anything with repeated hard work and learning from failure” (Barraclough). Mikaela Shiffrin and her family had the growth mindset, which ultimately helped get her to the elite level. The eighteen year old alpine ski racing prodigy’s dad summed up their approach, “Some people might call our approach intense. But it’s not, because the motivation is not to be better than other people at something. The motivation comes from a belief that almost anything can be mastered if you’re willing to put in the hours to master it. If you’re going to do something, do it as best as you can” (Pennington). Its argued that this factor has nothing to do with genetics and is created through certain nurturing. An athlete will all the potential to be great will never get better without the right focus and mentality. In a blog from the talent code, Coyle discussed the importance of temperament in distinguishing an elite athlete. He use an example of the 49ers football coach recruiting technique where he throws and catches the ball with them testing their drive and intensity. He would throw the ball harder and in more difficult places seeing who is willing to be challenged. The author claimed that interpersonal chemistry and competitiveness are really important in developing an elite athlete and has nothing to do with nature and genes (Coyle). Some coaches have recognized the importance of mental strength in an elite athlete and someone who has the best skill/ talent/ genes will never make it to the top level if they don’t

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