Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
russelscout

The "is there talent" debate on Flo

Recommended Posts

Also hard to say genetics and talent you are born with doesn’t matter when you have a BROTHER who was also an NCAA champ. 
 

im not dismissing the importance of hard work. It’s vital. But to act like there is no such thing as natural talent is to be completely naive. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When discussing talent, it is easy to lump together ceilings and floors.

Some people start off with a higher floor: from an early age, success is easier.  But if we are talking about medaling at worlds, rather than success at the youth level, then the ceiling is what matters.  What is the relation between where you start off and where you end up?  Ben Askren's case suggests that the relationship between the ceiling and the floor is not clear: he had little success, became obsessed, and later had huge success.  

Where is the average person's ceiling?  How would we know?

Ossetia has 700,000 people and produces world champions almost every year - some years, they produce more than one.  Do we think that Ossetians are genetic superhumans, or is culture more likely the reason that they have great wrestlers?  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I didn’t get the time to listen to Ben’s argument, but talent obviously exists and that’s not even debatable. However, how much impact it has on wrestling success, is a good topic for debate. I believe the great thing about wrestling is that there are so many tools you can use for success...speed, strength, leverage, endurance, kinesthetic awareness (scrambling ability), mindset, intelligence, technique, etc. You work hard to develop your talents, and everyone has the ability to do that to reach some level of success. However, when you get to the elite level and have someone who also works really hard and is just more talented, you are probably going to lose. I think one of the most beneficial talents for wrestling is explosiveness which I would define as the ability to quickly generate a great deal of power. I could train as hard as I possibly could and would never come close to the explosiveness of Jordan Burroughs. When someone like that works hard and possesses many of the other talents and attitudes needed for success, he’s pretty hard to beat.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, quanon said:

Do we think that Ossetians are genetic superhumans, or is culture more likely the reason that they have great wrestlers?  

SI had an interesting article that discussed the preeminence of Ossetian wrestlers back in 1996.  At that time, the Russian freestyle roster was typically half-filled with Ossetians.  Russia's Greco wrestlers, on the other hand, were drawn from all over the country.

https://vault.si.com/vault/1996/07/22/first-war-peace-sons-ossetia-fight-good-fight-fight-good-fight

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/27/2020 at 5:24 PM, russelscout said:

I have been away for awhile, but I can't leave a good debate untouched. Listening to the recent FRL discussions of talent I couldn't resist commenting on it and I wonder what you guys think.

First of all, Ben does something in this discussion that really disturbs me. He continually ensured the audience that he has done a ton of research on this as a reason for why he is right. That is not an argument. In my opinion it comes from a place of insecurity saying "I know my points don't sound great, but trust me, I know the truth".

Bens argument is that there is no talent because all people have different skillsets they are born with. It is up to the individual to optimize the skill sets that are strong and build the ones that are weak. Therefore there is no distinct advantage in being born as someone with more fast twitch muscle capabilities if you can both develop that and optimize something else like flexibility or spatial reasoning. This is a flawed premise. It assumes that applicable skills are divvied out at an equal amount, and as long as you can develop those skills that or weak and optimize those that are strong you can be great at anything, which is not true. He also says you need to factor in what the play as a child, and then puts it on everyone else to prove that its not a thing. First of all, he needs to defend the argument he is making, not put it on others to disprove his theory. Also, is he denying genetics?

He doesn't want to use 100m dash or track in general where genetic advantages are clear. Ethiopian long distance runners are not the best in the world because solely based on their play when they are younger. It may play a part, but their genetic make-up is ultimately what separates them from the best in the world. This predisposition to a high Vo2 max could be described as talent. It is an advantage that comes from genetic selection.

Ben wants to limit the discussion to wrestling only when that point gets brought up. He says that the complexity of the sport allows for different skillsets to come into play. This is true. There are more variables at play. However, it does not account for the person who is given very little in any of the skills that he lists. This unlucky recipient could do everything possible to become the best wrestler in the world, but he will always be playing catchup to those who are more talented. Even if that person is able to get substantially better, there are still limits in time and eventually entropy will come in to play. Ben falls victim to the cliche of hard work beats talent if talent doesn't work hard, but any time I hear this I always think, "What if talent works hard?" Further, what if someone hits the genetic lottery, has strength, speed, flexibility, mental toughness, etc. at a higher degree than most? That person would be described as talented wouldn't he? I fail to see how someone who won the genetic lottery could ever lose to genetic loser if all other things are equal.

The fact is, at the highest level of athletics natural selection does come in to play. Michael phelps is the best in swimming and he also has the ideal body for the sport. I could have never beat him no matter how hard I tried. He is just too talented. This isn't to say Phelps didn't have to work as hard, or that I could not have been a great swimmer in my own right. Hard work most certainly comes in to play, but it is not mutually exclusive. When all other things are equal, a natural talent will win the day.


Yes, wrestling is different, but there are some skills that are more favored over others. Some are just more talented. I think Ben has fallen victim to the survivorship bias. He so badly wants to say genetics and luck are not a thing, likely out of ego or its just the coach in him, and he will analyze all of the best to prove his point . However he fails to recognize those who never reached a high level despite tremendous amounts of work; those who lacked the necessary talent.
 

I may sound like a broken record as I have recommended the book the Sports Gene by David Epstein multiple times here. It is a well sourced book. I would honestly be surprised if Ben hadn't read it and I'd be very interested to hear what he thinks of the examples given by it. For those who want to read more about this specific topic it is a really good one and a fun, easy read.

i think his point works if you just identify success (winning) with talent/being gifted. If you look at winners as the ones with talent, you will see that there's all sorts of gifts. Askren is gifted because he is stubborn, analytical, cocky, obsessed, innovative. Metcalf is gifted because of his gas tank, his willingness to develop his gas tank, his belief that wrestling is really important. John Smith is gifted because he is a mean SOB, quick, flexible.

None of these characteristics make someone gifted in general. Without the winning, they just describe what a person is like.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was not a world class wrestler myself, far from it. But I have rolled with dozens of them and never once met one who wasn’t as strong as hell. Not always weight room strong, but Functionally strong. 
 

did they all work hard. No doubt. But plenty of other guys worked just as hard and never got that functional strength that is so key in wrestling. Anyone that is world class is any sport is a combo of hard work and elite genetics. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, DynamiteKid said:

. Anyone that is world class is any sport is a combo of hard work and elite genetics. 

Right. But the exact ingredients of the combo are hard to pin down and differ case-by-case.  Thus my point: start with the premise that success is the basis for judging talent/giftedness: a wrestler who doesn't qualify for NCAA's is by definition less talented than a wrestler who does (provided they are in the same weight class); an Olympic qualifier is less talented than a medalist (provided they are on the same side of the bracket), etc. You can't call a fast twitching, propiocepting, apple-crusher talented/gifted if he doesn't have enough will to win to actually win. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, jackwebster said:

Right. But the exact ingredients of the combo are hard to pin down and differ case-by-case.  Thus my point: start with the premise that success is the basis for judging talent/giftedness: a wrestler who doesn't qualify for NCAA's is by definition less talented than a wrestler who does (provided they are in the same weight class); an Olympic qualifier is less talented than a medalist (provided they are on the same side of the bracket), etc. You can't call a fast twitching, propiocepting, apple-crusher talented/gifted if he doesn't have enough will to win to actually win. 

I dont think anyone would argue that will, hard work, discipline, environment, coaching, etc. dont have a part to play. Its not mutually exclusive. Talent exists and is an ingredient to success, but it doesnt lead to success by itself.

Edited by russelscout

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, russelscout said:

I dont think anyone would argue that will, hard work, discipline, environment, coaching, etc. dont have a part to play. Its not mutually exclusive. Talent exists and is an ingredient to success, but it doesnt lead to success by itself.

I disagree. What I'm suggesting is tautological: a gifted wrestler is one that is successful or a successful wrestler is one that is gifted; an non-gifted wrestler is one that is not successful or a unsuccessful wrestler is one that is not gifted.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is easy to define talent internally, that is with no regard for others, just within yourself. My favorite definition for a “talent” is: an area in which you have the most potential for growth. If I work really hard at something I have a talent for, I will get really good. If I have no talent for that area, my hard work will not result in tremendous improvement. 
 

It gets more complicated when you do comparisons with others. Who is more talented than whom depends on their starting point (which is what exactly), just how hard they’ve worked to get to their present level, and how much continued improvement are they capable of? Because of the complexities in wrestling, Ben’s theory is that most people have a talent for one or more of his categories and if they work hard enough to develop their particular talent, they can achieve success in wrestling. Of course, those gifted with more and greater talents in most or all of his categories will ultimately be capable of greater growth, given the same amount of work. 
 

I agree that you can’t simply say one has a talent for wrestling. Too many components are involved. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The entire premise of Askren's argument was garbage. Especially the chess comparison. Chess is a game of learned moves and patterns, and the best players have long just been those that analyze what their opponent does and then taking the next step based on a library of moves and knowledge. That's why machine learning algorithms have been better at chess than humans since the late 90s. 
 

FRL has really gone down hill since Askren joined. His analysis is crap on wrestlers. He holds grudges against certain programs. I've stopped listening for the most part... And will continue that after listening to this episode. Askren is always right and nobody will ever have a counterpoint adequate to change his view. He's a classic idiot. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This didn't really go into much detail since the discussion was focused on something else (interestingly enough, stopping weight cutting which is something that Askren also is strongly in favor of), but Gabe Dean had a dietitian on his show, and right around 20 minutes in he said (paraphrasing):  "Of course there's the physical aspect, talent, that's obviously undeniable; But the mindset of them is what separates them"

https://www.thedeanslisttalkshow.com/post/stop-youth-weight-cutting

Side note: Gabe Dean talks like more of what you would expect a Cornell grad to sound like.   Dake not so much.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, jackwebster said:

I disagree. What I'm suggesting is tautological: a gifted wrestler is one that is successful or a successful wrestler is one that is gifted; an non-gifted wrestler is one that is not successful or a unsuccessful wrestler is one that is not gifted.

This doesnt address talent like I am, or even Ben is discussing. You are discussing a viewpoint from hindsight. I am talking about genetics, environment and development.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/31/2020 at 3:01 PM, russelscout said:

This doesnt address talent like I am, or even Ben is discussing. You are discussing a viewpoint from hindsight. I am talking about genetics, environment and development.

Hence "tautology." We are arguing two different things because I don't agree with your premise: I think genetics, environment, development  are not gifts /talent if they don't result in success. They should only be considered after the fact to determine what gifts a successful wrestler has. If you don't use hindsight to make these judgements you get commentators telling me how "talented" "explosive" "quick" Jamal Parks is and the implication that he only fails bc of things under his control: hard work, determination, grit . . . whatever Brent Metcalf has. In short, I'm tired of hearing Tim Johnson et al's soft bigotry of low expectations.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, jackwebster said:

Hence "tautology." We are arguing two different things because I don't agree with your premise: I think genetics, environment, development  are not gifts /talent if they don't result in success. They should only be considered after the fact to determine what gifts a successful wrestler has. If you don't use hindsight to make these judgements you get commentators telling me how "talented" "explosive" "quick" Jamal Parks is and the implication that he only fails bc of things under his control: hard work, determination, grit . . . whatever Brent Metcalf has. In short, I'm tired of hearing Tim Johnson et al's soft bigotry of low expectations.

Jamal Parks is talented. Thats not what is bigoted. Its the refusal to acknowledge that Brent Metcalf is also talented. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, russelscout said:

Jamal Parks is talented. Thats not what is bigoted. Its the refusal to acknowledge that Brent Metcalf is also talented. 

Brent metcalf is talented: his results indicate this. What are his talents / gifts? Well, the things that enabled his success. 

 

 

Edited by jackwebster

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
29 minutes ago, jackwebster said:

Brent metcalf is talented: his results indicate this. What are his talents / gifts? Well, the things that enabled his success. 

 

 

 I think the term is being over used.  Most people think of 'God given talent'.  As in 'You haven't a prayer of running 100m in under 11 seconds without God given talent. 9.59? Fugetaboutit!'.

Motivation and willpower are things, just not the  same thing. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
41 minutes ago, jackwebster said:

Brent metcalf is talented: his results indicate this. What are his talents / gifts? Well, the things that enabled his success. 

 

 

He had a high Vo2 max, great balance and body awareness. Also you cant just break it down to 1-3 things. If an athlete has natural talents beyond the mean in most categories, it wont be as easy to put a finger on, but it will be a distinct advantage. 

However, you just want to talk about great wrestlers. Havent you ever met a kid who just didnt have "it"? That "it" is talent.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/31/2020 at 8:56 AM, jackwebster said:

Right. But the exact ingredients of the combo are hard to pin down and differ case-by-case.  Thus my point: start with the premise that success is the basis for judging talent/giftedness: a wrestler who doesn't qualify for NCAA's is by definition less talented than a wrestler who does (provided they are in the same weight class); an Olympic qualifier is less talented than a medalist (provided they are on the same side of the bracket), etc. You can't call a fast twitching, propiocepting, apple-crusher talented/gifted if he doesn't have enough will to win to actually win. 

Yes you can which is why earlier I used the example of drawing. The arts have nothing to do with winning yet talent becomes obvious for some. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, AnklePicker said:

Yes you can which is why earlier I used the example of drawing. The arts have nothing to do with winning yet talent becomes obvious for some. 

I mean "winning" is an example of success.  "Success" in art would probably be the ability to make money off of your art.

Edited by 1032004

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, 1032004 said:

I mean "wining" is an example of success.  "Success" in art would probably be the ability to make money off of your art.

Many of the worlds greatest artists of all time made no money off of their artwork. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/2/2020 at 10:43 AM, 1032004 said:

According to wikipedia, Brent Metcalf's mom was an all-state gymnast and state champion in track & field

Metcalf was also a pretty good football player IIRC.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, AnklePicker said:

Many of the worlds greatest artists of all time made no money off of their artwork. 

I mean are you talking about in like the 15th century?  In this day and age, if you are "one of the greatest artists in the world," you'll probably be able to make some money off of it.   Unless maybe you're a drug addict or something...similar to how not all talented athletes achieve success.

 

Edited by 1032004

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...