Is Athleticism Learned or Genetic?

Athletes are revered in every sport from the NBA to the Olympics. You may mistakenly assume that supreme athletes are a special breed that are separate from the rest of us but there is no specific gene that says whether or not you will become a professional athlete or not. There may be a few key genes traits that can help, such as height or the ACTN 3 gene necessary for sprinting, however the rest is really up to your dedication and body’s ability to train and adapt to training.

There is an unofficial rule that states that it takes 10,000 hours to develop a professional level skill set. This doesn’t necessarily mean that because you spent 10,000 hours at something, you will be the best at what you do – it really means that any professional athlete has spent at least 10,000 hours working on their athletic skill set to get to where they are.  The difference between an average athletic person and a Lebron James or a Michael Phelps lies in how effective and efficient each of those 10,000+ hours of training was for their specific body.

It can be difficult to know how exactly to optimally train your body so that any second you spend training is adding strength, endurance and/or skill. This is where good coaches or professional trainers can make a huge difference. If you’re very lucky, and a very hard worker, you may end up with the perfect combination of training that is perfect for your body and allows you to get better for each of the 60 minutes of the hour.  Even if you only efficiently train for 59 minutes instead of the 60, each minute multiplied by 10,000+ continuously creates a larger and larger gap that will separate you from the best.

Does this mean that you should give up if you’re falling behind? No – the human willpower to succeed and extra hours of work put in can definitely make up for or even surpass any differences in training. You hear stories of it all the time; short athletes that succeed in the NBA, athletes who overcome foot or ankle deformities, etc. Whether being athletic is “in your blood” or not, you can still be an amazing athlete if you just work hard in the right way.

If you have any questions about how to train properly to not injure your foot or ankles, call Clifton Foot & Ankle Center 703-996-3000 or make an online appointment here. Dr. Kenneth R. Wilhelm has been educating and treating patients in the Centreville, VA area for over eighteen years.

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