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A Book Review of “The Talent Code”, by Daniel Coyle

Price:  Kindle Price CDN $15.99

Cheapest Place to Buy Amazon.ca

My Rating:  10/10

Overview:  As skating coaches, we spend all our time looking for talent, assessing talent, and learning how to cultivate talent.  Intuitively, we all know that talent takes time to grow, and the way to develop talent over time is through mindful practice and dedication. 

“The Talent Code” takes a microscopic lens and scalpel to the talent myth and dissects every aspect of unlocking unseen potential, in athletes, artists and everyday people.

As a coach with a background in Kinesiology, and a particular interest in motor learning and neuroscience, this book validated many of my beliefs about talent when I first read it.  Since that reading many years ago, I now spend much of my coaching time teaching the “why” behind skill acquisition, instead of just focusing on the how or technique behind it.  The results have been incredible. 

If you want to learn the secrets behind skill acquisition and mastery, on both sides of the equation-coach and/or student-then this book is for you.

Coyle centres much of the book around myelin, and its role in neural development, a theory of skill acquisition that has existed for several years, but is just now becoming main stream.  This concept explains nearly everything that master coaches have known for years such as:

  • Practice doesn’t make perfect; DEEP practice makes perfect.
  • Mastery in a sport requires commitment and passion right from the beginning, if not you won’t want to dedicate yourself to the countless hours of repetition necessary to myelinate the neural pathways required.
  • Primal Cues such as belonging, scarcity and safety can help provide ignition for passion and commitment to a sport and we can tap into these cues and use them right at the grass roots level of talent development.

This book should be required reading for every coach.  If you want to learn how to get the most out of your students and accelerate learning, this book explains the “why” behind the “how” and will give you strategies for a more accelerated learning process.

Best Feature of the Book:  Coyle weaves a coherent and exciting narrative thread through the book and documents his journey carefully as he breaks the talent equation into parts and investigates each with intelligence and empathy. The picture he creates of the people he meets along the way is colorful, full of humor, and packed with insight into the human condition. Along the way we get a view of the behind the scenes struggles and triumphs of many of the worlds famous over-night success stories, which we learn were NOT in fact over-night success stories. 

Just reading the Talent Code gives all of us all hope in how we learn, and that the daily grind of practice and repeated failure does in fact pay off with more success in our chosen endeavours. The Talent Code is equal parts endearing and inspiring, and will keep you engaged until the last page.

Pros:  The way Coyle breaks down the talent equation into it’s parts and further breaks down each part into it’s various necessary components makes it easy for sports organizations, parents, coaches and athletes to tap into the processes he describes to accelerate their learning curve and develop their talent. The benefits to be gained from utilizing these theories to maximize athletic development, particularly in skating, are incredible.

Cons:  None.  This is a great book.

Conclusion:  The Talent Code, by Daniel Coyle, is fun, informative, and trans-formative. The scope, breadth and depth of knowledge you will gain from it, even if it just reaffirms the instinctual beliefs you have always incorporated into your coaching and explains them, is well worth the money.

If you are in the business of developing talent, in any medium, “The Talent Code” is a must read.

Have you read the Talent Code? What did you think? Share your thoughts in the comments below, and if you liked this review, please, share with your friends!

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