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"Athletes are born not made."
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True or false?

My sister says this to me all of the time. As if any training I do is pointless because I don't have the natural abilities of Lance or something. As if the "born athletes" just get to the starting line and magically race, without any "making." She majored in exercise science for goodness sake. She says this to me whenever I ask her a training-related question.

Me: "How do I know if I have tendonitis?"

My sister: "Athletes are born not made."

Me: "Will building strength in my legs ward off running injuries?"

My sister: "Athletes are born not made."

Well, I have to get that rant off my chest. She's oversimplifying everything. I think the greatest athletes are a combination of raw talent and hard work. You could be born a great athlete but never get off your butt or discover the sport you're great at. I could work harder than the best athletes and still not come close to their times.

It's okay though. She can keep saying that. I'm going to wear black shoes to her wedding instead of the specified silver. So ha. And I'll keep training.
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Re: "Athletes are born not made." [snackattack] [ In reply to ]
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on the whole i think sprinters are born not made. endurance sport is something that you can give a good go in terms of getting up there.
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Re: "Athletes are born not made." [snackattack] [ In reply to ]
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If she or you were to look at the research of the last few years, it would show that to become world class endurance athlete will take on avg about 10,000 hrs of training. This can be all types of aerobic development even if tri's are the primary sport. Hiking, soccer, S/B/R, kayaking etc. anything that helps develop the aerobic plumbing in the body

Brian Stover
Accelerate3 Coaching
Insta Twitter Aero testing late May, PM for details

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Re: "Athletes are born not made." [snackattack] [ In reply to ]
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She is oversimplifying it... but you can't change your genes...
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Re: "Athletes are born not made." [snackattack] [ In reply to ]
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I had an exercise physiology professor put it best. Talking about elite athletes he said that fields are born but champions are made. You have to luck out in the genetic lottery to start the TdF but you have to work your ass off to beat all those other genetics freaks with you at the starting line.
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Re: "Athletes are born not made." [snackattack] [ In reply to ]
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We are born with some genetic tendencies:potential height, muscle composition, bone structure, heart rate and blood composition. It is easier for some athletes to excel than others.

My brother was six feet tall by the time he was thirteen. He had very long arms and a short torso. Everyone in my family has a low heart rate and high red blood count. He was unbeaten for seven years in swimming competition.

I started doing triathlons when I was forty. By forty-one I had taken fourth at Nationals. I new that I would never take number one because I was too heavy for fast running even though I only had six percent body fat.

There are certain body types that perform incredibly well. If they train properly they become the champions. If not they are still local heroes.

At the elite level all athletes are genetically gifted. On any given day anyone of them will win.

Everyone has an opportunity to win. You just have to set up your game so that you have an opportunity to win. Winning is self improvement. Hitting your best time or performing in a way that exceeds your past performance. It can never be based on someone else's genetic make up. There will always be someone who is faster.

DougStern
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Re: "Athletes are born not made." [snackattack] [ In reply to ]
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Athletes are never made, it's a continuing process.
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Re: "Athletes are born not made." [DougStern] [ In reply to ]
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Exactly.

On our high school swim team we have guy that is 6'3' and can lay down a 21 in the 50 without even practicing for a month.

We have a freshman that just went under 5 minutes in the 500 that is about 5'4". Not the perfect swim body but he compensates by twice a day workouts 8-10K yards.



How you feeling Doug?

_________________________________
I'll be what I am
A solitary man
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Re: "Athletes are born not made." [snackattack] [ In reply to ]
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Sometimes this kills my motivation to train. If I beat my head against a wall for 3 years to get better, and someone with better genetics beats me in his second week of riding, I'm a bitter person. Maybe that's the downfall of a competitive nature but if I'm going to suffer for something, I want to be good at it...

I believe that genetics play a huge role, more than hard work and training, in deciding who will become "elite". But then again, the potential of the human mind to achieve improved performance is probably bigger than we understand at this point... I don't know what to think.

Lehmkuhler
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Re: "Athletes are born not made." [snackattack] [ In reply to ]
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"I'm going to wear black shoes to her wedding instead of the specified silver"

ok, that was just awesome!

seriously though, did you ever think that maybe she doesn't really know how to answer your questions and that's all she knows to say? honestly, don't give her so much credit by thinking that she knows alot (I don't want that to sound mean, but maybe it does?). exercise science, ha...it's just school, not experience.

besides that's kind of an all or nothing attitude...who needs that. i'm sure you love her (and then hate her...she's a sibbling after all) but she's not a good resource for you. so, spit out her words and keep racing.
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Re: "Athletes are born not made." [DougStern] [ In reply to ]
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"At the elite level all athletes are genetically gifted. On any given day anyone of them will win. "

I saw some Vo2 results from top tour cyclists and not all of them had gifted capacities. There were some that had "normal/average" capacities. What they lacked in natural gift they made up for in technique and efficiency.
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Re: "Athletes are born not made." [snackattack] [ In reply to ]
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Simple, most times what sets the elite apart form the non-elite are "things you cannot teach".

In almost any sport, when a pro scout is looking at an athlete, they are looking for the "things they cannot teach" (i.e. natural ability, size, quickness, etc). All of the other stuff they can, well, teach to the athlete.

You could be born a great athlete but never get off your butt or discover the sport you're great at.

Potential is simply unproven ability. In most cases, potential is useless. Potential by itself never got anything done. If I, at 32, could go back in time and talk to my 19-yo self ... these statements are what I would explain. I was young, dumb, and expecting to be successful simply on "my potential". Potential is too mysterious to use for any predictive means.

I could work harder than the best athletes and still not come close to their times.

I wish many parents would figure this out.

Athletes can always improve, but they can never rise higher than their cieling. My goal for athletes is to find your celing .. that's all you can do.

=======================
-- Every morning brings opportunity;
Each evening offers judgement. --
Last edited by: TripleThreat: Jun 14, 05 8:27
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Re: "Athletes are born not made." [fulla] [ In reply to ]
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In Reply To:
on the whole i think sprinters are born not made. endurance sport is something that you can give a good go in terms of getting up there.


yeah but look at the kenyans and etheopians (ok i can't spell I'll admit)...those people have alien blood. they run so damn fast over such a long distance. in reality, elite athletes are genetic freaks. unless a person is born with that "makeup" elitism won't happen. sure work can make a person good, but it can't make a person elite unless they're naturally gifted.

someone posted the other day about how their wife never really ran before but went out and did a 22 minute 5K. ok, that's fast and natural ability. i ran my ass off and got that time...once. there are people like that.

hell, with all of the years of sports under my belt I'm just happy to be out there now. but i'd say this topic bothered me most in college when i had alot of potential for rowing, but just didn't have the height. damn. i couda been somebody.
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Re: "Athletes are born not made." [snackattack] [ In reply to ]
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I agree, lots is genetics, but as I'm witnessing here, lots is also mental. We set our own limiters. I've mentioned this friend before on this site, I wouldn't say he's genetically gifted, but has worked his ass off to get where he is today and it's been a ton and ton of training. Riding up Palomar mountain every weekend for a summer. Not just from the bottom of Palomar, but a 100 mile ride which included Palomar. He did this solo. He wanted to get to Kona, took him three years, but he got there and now he's going back for his third time this year. I wouldn't say it has come easy and I don't think it should be assumed that it comes easy for all. It takes a lot of work and dedication. I should also add when people see this guy running at the front of a pack it's not uncommon to hear, "who's the big guy?" :-D
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Re: "Athletes are born not made." [last tri in 83] [ In reply to ]
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The tough part of this to swallow is that there are other freshmen who rarely practice and have little work ethic that can also go under 5 minutes for 500. If that person finds the desire... then 4:20 becomes possible but for the kid who's already working his ass off, he's a lot closer to his "ceiling". That's life I guess... It comes down to the gifted vs. the dedicated I guess. If a person has both, then they get the "rings" tattooed on themselves...

Lehmkuhler
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Re: "Athletes are born not made." [Kestrelkerri] [ In reply to ]
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I think it's more, "some people have the drive and dedication" and some do not. I do not. I love the sport, but after witnessing my friends training...HECK NO! :-)
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Re: "Athletes are born not made." [Lehmkuhler] [ In reply to ]
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The other kid is the one that fascinates me. If he ever got serious and actually trained - wow. He's also a D-1 caliber water polo player that will be playing at a JC since he is a bird brain.

_________________________________
I'll be what I am
A solitary man
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Re: "Athletes are born not made." [Lehmkuhler] [ In reply to ]
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i'm with ya!

I think I'll turn this into a bitch/envy session right now.

Earlier in my life as a cyclist I toiled for years at the cat3/4 level with no results to speak of, and before that I was a mediocre soccer player and even worse wrestler in HS. Years of just banging my head against the wall.

Then I would read stories in Velonews or Bicycling about some jerkoff who catches the TdF on TV one year and decides it would be neat to try. They propmptly win the first few races they enter and within months they are racing in a semi pro field an considering a pro contract in the next few seasons. This happens at least a few time a year.

Talk about demotivating.

OK I'm done unloading now. I think I feel better. I'll probably go slog through some more 1/2mile repats on the track at about a 7min/mile pace this afternoon unitl I feel like throwing up after about 4.

Yes. Somedays I am bitter.
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Re: "Athletes are born not made." [snackattack] [ In reply to ]
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I think there is such thing as your genetic potential but 99% of us do not have the time, motivation or drive to even get close to that level.
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Re: "Athletes are born not made." [kittycat] [ In reply to ]
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This is why kenyans are fast
http://slate.msn.com/id/2090658/
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Re: "Athletes are born not made." [snackattack] [ In reply to ]
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First off, it does seem that either (a) your sister doesn't know what she is doing as this is a weak answer to your questions, or (b) there is some sibling jealousy thing here.

Second, sure most of us are going to be beaten by a genetically more gifted person who also works hard. However each of us has a different reason for doing our sport. I enjoy the competition, but am never going to set the world on fire - starting out at 35 after 20 years drinking/smoking has put and end to my world championship/TdF dreams! But I am 'gifted' (hmm) at other things. I can read, write and remember stuff, so I am a researcher/teacher. I DO the sport because I enjoy the process. You have to PLAY to your strengths, and work on your weaknesses. I sometimes think the most fun is in working on the weaknesses and improving on them. Anyway, most folks will earn more in a regular job (using their strengths) than a gifted athlete will by turning pro (the lnace's of this world are the very rare exception). So who really cares if you won't be the next Hunter Kemper, Barb Linquist etc or whoever you admire. Are you having fun?!

my two cents

James
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Re: "Athletes are born not made." [martytram] [ In reply to ]
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Of course, shedding some excess kg's would work wonders on your capacity :-P(BTW are you going to finish that granola cereal on the fridge?). I'm sure you could arrange a deal with your owners to find a way to dispose of excess table scraps. Don't you know there are starving kitties in pittsfield twp?

And doing multiple sports (soccer, tris, biking, hockey) year 'round is bound to make one versatile but limited in performance. A jack of all trades is a master at none, don't you know....
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Re: "Athletes are born not made." [M.E.T.] [ In reply to ]
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I was referring to the past moreso than the present.

I'll have you know that when I was slogging it out circa 92-96 I WAS a specialist (though it was quite impossible for me to do any dedicated training during the school year due to other commitments.

Presently, diversification has allowed me to keep sanity and a freshness in attitude that is lacking in some people I know during certain times of the season. I have come to terms with the fact that palmares may not be forthcoming in this present arrangement.

I have also never weighed less than I have during that aforementioned period either (in season of course). Presently speaking, I found out since abandoning my medication that weight loss is much easier.

You may have the granola on the top of the fridge. AFTER YOU PRY IT FROM MY COLD DEAD HANDS!!!!!
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Re: "Athletes are born not made." [martytram] [ In reply to ]
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Hey, take it from one who knows, no matter how much you shed there's always that last....5....pounds...that you can get rid of.

Whaddya mean "lacking a freshness in attitude" at a "certain time of the year"? bike racers are lower on the ecological chain than pond scum, and life sucks 24/7.
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Re: "Athletes are born not made." [last tri in 83] [ In reply to ]
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Last Tri,

I am back to training and life is a blast.

Some of my best high School swimmers were not natural athletes. They worked harder than anyone else.

The absolute best ones were just super human beings who also trained like wild men.

DougStern
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