Oliver blowing away a 190 lb. Dumbell
Below is a post I read on a site operated by Dan Bell. I don't know Dan personally, nor do I know much about him, but I like this. I like simple formulas that are stripped of fat and pretense. I have always preached a similar philosophy to my athetes. The first rule of success is showing up. Hard work can mean different things to different people depending on their level of experience and the nature of the sport they are working to succeed in, but no doubt, hard work is a given for success at any level. The idea of repeating 10 years is a point well made. Of course there are some things where 7 or 8 years may do, but the point is that true excellence in anything is a long term proposition. In this day and age of internet, text messaging, and fast foods many would-be athletes don't have the patience to continue to work hard for the length of time required.
One of the most important things to understand about succeeding at anything is knowing how long it will take. If you plan to go to college, you know you’ll be there for four years, at least, to get a bachelor’s degree. If you want to continue to medical school, plan on four years there, plus another three to eight years studying your specialty. Mastery is measured in years, not months. In his book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell makes the case for ten thousand hours or ten years. In my experience, he is on the mark.
That’s right, if you want to be a great weightlifter (or carpenter or philosopher or midwife) you have to put in ten years. I know that sounds like a looonnnng time when you’re just starting out. But think about baseball. A player starts in Little League at ten years old. By the time he gets out of high school he’s already got eight years of practice and training. If he’s drafted by a major league team, it’s at least two years in the minors, probably more, before he gets a shot at the Bigs. At no point in the process does he have to wonder how long it takes. He knows. It’s the system he’s come up in and he understands it. It’s the system for a reason. It takes that long to make a Major League baseball player that you’d pay hard-earned money to see.
So if you want to be a great weightlifter, plan on ten years. There’s a lot to do. You have to learn the lifts and become proficient enough to move to a heavier training load. You have to acquire and perfect the lifestyle habits that will aid in recovery and further, heavier training. You have to gain competitive experience. You have to hit PR’s, celebrate for a few minutes, then come back and do that hundreds of times. You have to keep showing up and working hard, again and again and again and … well, you get the idea.
The details will get filled in as you go. But the basics are the same as for anything else you want to master: Show up. Work hard. Repeat for Ten Years.