Culture: The Most Important Part of Development

People who have attained high levels of achievement in their respected fields, all share commonalities between them.  Michael Phelps didn’t become the world’s greatest swimmer just by accident, Tiger Woods didn’t become an exceptional golfer by luck and Steve Nash didn’t become such an incredibly intelligent basketball player by chance?  What exactly is it that all these top players share, which helped develop them into superstars?  My series of short books on Athletic Intelligence examines the “how” and the “why”, behind the making of high level athletes.  Are there certain pre-requisites required for success at the highest levels of sports?  Is success in top level athletics already pre-determined?   How exactly did these top players develop their technique and sporting IQ?  The answers to all these questions are buried someplace in the fascinating and complex thing we call a “culture”.  A culture can be defined as a cumulative deposit of knowledge, experience, beliefs, values, attitudes, meanings, hierarchies, religion and concepts of the universe, shared by a group of people over the course of generations. Culture in its broadest sense is cultivated behavior; that is learned, it is an accumulated experience, which is socially transmitted or behavior through social learning.  The influence of a culture has on people is not easily defined, the learning experience provided by immersion into a culture is never a linear one, but rather one that can lead a person in many directions, culture is the birthplace, epicenter and catalyst of specialized talents.  Even more importantly, culture is the origin of passion, and passion will ultimately find a way to create talent!   There are many discussions on the best path for soccer development, especially in the United States, the discussions are great, small-sided games, less players on the field, more touches on the ball,  all those things are really important.  However. the most important piece of player development begins and ends with culture!   My third book in the series of “Increasing Athletic Intelligence: Culture” will be out soon!