Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Ten Years later - August 2

 When I started blogging in August of 2012, as a Lawn bowls coach I was interesting in helping new bowlers find answers to questions which I often hear.

The blog.. Team Head - Skip or No-Skip was my first blog on August 2nd 2012.

The blog title says "Using the Head" and this blog was advice to leads and skips about instructions given by the team skip. 

This first blog said " In some clubs new members are taught to do as the skip instructs. Also, in some clubs in large bowler areas, a skip is approved after many years of Lawn Bowls experience. Likewise, in the game of Bowls you will find good Skips and "Want-a-Be" skips. It is not because you have lead teams to game wins; that you are the Skip." 

This advice is for the new player who is put in the lead position. Yes your skip is probably an experience player with years of skipping a game, but most players are aware of club-game skips. Lets look at how this difference from a "Competition Skip" and his attitude to the game and his teammates.

First, because Club games are usually practice games and for the enjoyment of play; several clubs have rules which control what coaching is done during these games.  Sometime the only individual to correct a lead on his previous delivery is their regular coach.  In my Home Club the many coaches are told "No Coaching" during Evening Games" which was installed so the new member could have fun without continual advice from others.

This week, I was visiting a neighbouring club and bowled a few ends while waiting for a player to arrive to complete the number of players needed.  At one point I put my extended foot next to the opponent`s bowl and the skip on the mat (we were playing pairs) said "I don`t need "Green".  I later explained to him when we measured for the 2nd point that that bowl (my foot was beside) was a measureable second and only different between our bowls was like an inch. In my communication in competition my skip would know I want it tapped back or drawn up to. (Or would have asked "Is that 2nd point ?"

Wnen picking a team member for a competition a "Good Skip will look for different qualities in his "Lead" and Second" or "Mate". The "Second" in "Fours" will be here consider as a "Second Lead". Remember the Team "Skip" will always be on the mat and his "Second" in the head as each end come to the final bowls for that end. 

His "Second" should have his confidence of "Reading the Head" and able to "Communicate with his Skip". Long conversations from "Head to Mat" should always be avoided but if more than one bowl has been displaced by the last delivered bowl; such change in the Head should be  told to the "Skip" on the mat.

 A "No Change" comment or signal is best even if nothing has changed. (A good "No Change" hand signal is the " Same or Equal Distance Signal" - two palms down extended in front and moved left and right parallel to the playing service). 

The "Second" should have had sufficent experience to be able to remember the bowls of their team and the opponent and able to do an "Up-Down" presentation if several bowls have changed or a runner has been thrown.  (A "Up-Down" communication starts with the bowl closest to the jack and defined as Your team bowl (hand moved up to the chest meaning "Ours") or the opponents bowl. (Hand moved away from the body and pointing "Down") Then likewise doing the next closest bowl and not afraid to indicate as a "Measure" if the opponent bowl and yours are so close to a measure that it can not be clearly decided. (The most common "Measure Signal" is an action like you are opening a measuring tape and measuring.)

The earlier blog said, "It is because the rest of the team wants to follow you onto the green and has choosen you as leader; you (should) Skip this game.... Respect is not something which rules of play cannot define.  If as a leader you inspire "Respectful Support" from your team mates; you are becoming a team leader and their Skip. "Self-respect usually generates team respect".

Here, I will tell a story about a Pairs game in which the opponent "Skip" and I had often "Disagreement" on what makes a "Good Skip" and as he was often telling how he played on the Scotland National Team.  As we walked to out game green and joking as were passing the umpire; I said to him. "You know that when you do your runner you are "Foot Faulting" if your foot leaves the mat before your bowl has landed on the green".

In the 2nd or 3rd end he did a "Heavy Runner" and as we started the next end of play the umpire came over and spoke to him saying that he had foot faulted and that was his "Warning".  During that end of play and the next two he complained to me about women umpires and the league should not use women umpires during money games.  Halfways through the game his lead took a minute to talk to me and asked "What is the matter with Steven" and indicated that it was difficult to know what he expected of him as "Lead".

The point here was "respect for his lead" and he would have forgotten the visit from the umpire and communicate more. Instead, the skip got into all kinds of things that were going wrong.. "How the club president had asked a sub to replace him" or "Some people are not considered as having knowledge of Bowls". In all the skip lack of "respect" for his lead and other players changed his whole game.

Also the earlier blog wrote,   "Use your head. Be wise.   Those playing with you are there because they enjoy the game and are doing their best.  A good and honest compliment when one is due, will build team spirit. Also, no matter how good you may be on draws or various types of shoots; you will make a mistake."

Again, the advice of the first blog was,

    ." Giving up a point after a hard fight is not easy; but to make a bad shot and give up several points.  Be graceful, admit your bad judgement or bad performance.  Yelling at players,  Placing Blame, Not expressing satification when a game is going bad but all the team are playing well. The sign will show a good Skip as " the Head of the Team" and also reveal when there is an Ass on the green."

Remember it is only a game... Enjoy it and Learn from it.. 

(I will attempt to redo or modify the blogs of 10 years ago.. slowly.)

Sunday, May 2, 2021

Bowls in NZ strong Wind

 As the end of the 2021 Bowls Season comes to a close we find a lot of Streaming from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. Last week, the New Zealand`s Wellington LBC finished it`s Angus Hotel Summer Series of Lawn Bowls with the "Finals Weekend" live streaming (April 24/25). This weekend (May 8th) Bowls South Africa`s Men`s National Championship will be played (May 8- 16) and online streaming.  With all Northern Hemisphere Countries missing the 2020 Season due to the CoVid Pandemic and the Sport Gathering "Total Shutdown"; it is still in doubt whether we will be even having a "2021 Season of Lawn Bowls" other than some club practices and what we are able to watch streaming.

End 1 - Jack roll
Wellington LBC members and other New Zealand lawn bowlers are no stranger to strong winds during Championships games.
From Youtube`s  Bowls Wellington Finals Day - Men's Pairs Final - 2021 - YouTube and screen capture stop action, we can see from the first Jack roll (photo left) that Lead Scott`s delivery (insert) is directly along the center Line but with the strong cross wind; the jack arrives a good 4 feet down wind. (No the jack does not have a bias)
A great video of playing with a strong wind, even to the point of waiting at the mat for the wind to ease up a bit before rolling the bowl. In a previous blog, where the wind was from back to front it was pointed out that not only does the wind effect the bowl but also affects the balance of the bowler during delivery.
   The previous two blogs discussed the "Percentage of Success" in strategy and decisions. We will see here and in this video that strategy changes as bowlers use the wind for the delivery and make decisions of shot type different from a normal lawn bowl game.
From the photo (right) one can see how the bowls get schattered by a crosswind, as even the best players fight the wind to find the proper line. Some players who have several bowls will choose a heavier bowl on windy days and even a tighter bias.
One will be surprise by how a player may even change their style of delivery to maintain balance in a "Crosswind". (as we see in the photo below) Watching Lawn bowls games streaming, we discover that a good skip will ask for a bias which bowls into the wind and uses the wind to finish the bias into the jack.
So, with a "Strong CrossWind", we find one side of the rink being played in both directions. A "backhand" up the green and "forehand" back down. Unless a block has prevented that side of the green to be used. It is certain that the green speeds will affect how much the wind affects the bowl. Because the wind may seem to have more effect on the bowl during the bowl`s final moments when the bowl seems to never stops.

Game strategy become a "Heavy Bowl" Strategy because you want your bowl to have done it`s work before it begins to slow and is more affected by the wind. In the 3 photos (Below) we see the skip`s decision to bowl downwind of the head and attempt to raise his bowl to  shot. Luck is sometime important in Bowls, and even more on a windy day where many surprises will occure.

In the photo below, as the lead`s bowls of the first end were all bowled "Upwind" and schattered around the head; the skip went to the mat and decided to bowl a "Downwind" to raise his frontal bowl to shot. (Photo #1). In talking about luck and the wind, we see from Photo #2 that the bowl actually bounced of the intended bowl and hit the 2nd bowl creating two shots (Photo #3)

 Why is this a good choice of bowl ?. First, the effect of a wind applies most to the bowl during it final stage of delivery. As the bowl slows and begins it bias so also the effect of the wind applies. This is a good shot because it need a heavy weight delivery which then removes a large part of the wind effect on the bowl.  Without that extra weight the "Raise bowl" would not happen. 

The black bowl in photo #3 is the opponent skip`s first bowl after the previous skip had raised his bowls. Noticing the label location on the black bowl we see that the delivery was up wind and a draw around the front bowl to the jack, but the bowl finished not only short but also quite far "downwind" because of the strong wind. 

This is a great video to learn how to play with a strong wind. Although many New Zealand games may show similar game conditions as part of Lawn Bowls Strategy.

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Playing your "Success Percentage"

As we watch Professional Golf we often see the golfer with his small notebook checking his guided experience from previous games on the same golf course. Strange, that we seldom see a Lawn Bowler taking notes about the playing surface or his opponents.

No, I don t have a book of information about greens or my opponents but I do have a photographic memory. Many bowlers can remember the unique aspects of a green and even remember certain opponents. For example, now 15 years later I remember Claude as a "2 by 2" Skip. He could draw and be exactly on line by 2 bowls width (one bowl error each side of jack) and his weight was always good or missed by "2 feet" (short or over). He never threw a runner although a "3 yard overdraw" was common when as skip he needed a "takeout".  The same for greens. I remember Green 7 had a "Swing" at 3/4 maximun length on the right side (from Clubhouse)

When you are watching a game; do you simply watch and wait to see what happens to the bowl that was just delivered?. Or are you  in the head of the player on the mat as he decides his shot. Myself as a spectator of a club game, I must use Binoculars and see the bowls in the head and analysis the best expected shot. Then I question if the bowler on the mat is attempting a "draw" or "over draw".  

To watch a good game, streaming or at the club; I must get into the game with each bowl delivery. The following Screenshots are capture from the "Australian 2020 Burleigh Heads Clubs Men`s Singles Final" which is till on Youtube. In the 2nd end of the above video a similar type of shot existed ( a wifi missed signal does not show the bowl delivery but you can see the white bowl was move to the right pass the jack) and the bowler, who tried a takeout (tapback a bowl combination) missed and almost gave up 3 shots.  For the above Screenshot , check the video above (9th or 10 end) and see the decision of the photo and the result of yellow (Crawford Linton of Burleigh Head LBC)

In the above photo we see a Red bowl which is "Danger" and four yellow bowl positions which will give a result or a "Successful Percentage" of 4 bowls. The draw of "1" or "2" or "3" will knock up for shot or knock out the shot bowl ("1" as a near miss of right). The "Red bowl is dangerous as the near miss of the white bowl will move it toward the jack and also move the jack for 3 shots of the opponent.  

Most players would see the best shot as a removal of the white bowl. But with a "4" bowl shot "Success" if you try the "takeout Shot" and you just missing the line (full yellow circle) or have a light kiss of the yellow to roll to 

the white; but with the danger of  a miss and moving the jack ("Red" explained above); the actual shot which should be tried is line #"1" or #"2" as a miss on the line means "no damage". Missing the line inside (on the right), changes nothing; and a miss on the outside (left) will remove the white bowl if you know you are a "Two Bowl Success" player.

Are you a "Two Bowl Success" player?  First thing about a decisions which you are making on a delivery shot is just how much a "Chance" do you have to making the shot. If you sometimes miss your delivery weight by "two feet" and your delivery line is sometimes off by "two bowls " at the head. You are a "Two Bowl Success  player" if your bowl can be either one bowl left and/or one bowl right of the tried shot. (one bowl away)

 Above, I suggested the best shot was choice "2" as you attempt to raise your bowl for shot because I am a "two bowl Success" player. (with a 80 percent success). Know your "success percentage" is best done by a practice where you are setting up a shot like in the photo and trying at least 10 bowl. 

The above screenshot photo shows a "Four Bowl Success" with a 2 foot overdraw. This decision to use the bowl #"2" shot; actually removes the danger of giving up 3 points with a bad delivery and leave you with an almost certain raise of one of the yellow bowls to become shot if  your weight is not too heavy. (two feet over). 

Sometimes a successful shot is considered as a "Lucky Shot" when discussed later in the clubhouse. Although you know your thoughts and the value of a "4 Bowl Success" decision; sometimes a "Lucky Shot" does occur.  The above "4 Bowl Success" photo has a "Lucky Shot" possibility. Yes, you would like to remove the white bowl but accept that such an attempt may result in failure and give away 3 points if the jack is moved as the white bowl is send toward the jack.  However, there is another way the white bowl can be removed but would never be tried because it is "1/2 bowl Success". If you were to aim a heavy bowl at the "white bowl" under the diagram number 1, and with the same backhand delivery it is possible to hit the edge of the yellow bowl "#1" and knock the white bowl to the left giving 2 shots as the "shot bowl" is removed (kicked to the left). There is a greater chance of failure than success on this shot and so a "1/2 Success" shot..  However, as a "Lucky Shot" you could miss your attempted "Bowl #2" decided shot attempt and just "Lucky" do such a nick or "near miss" on the far right yellow bowl and perform the suggested removal of the "Shot Bowl". Yes this is a "lucky Shot" as you must miss by at least 3 bowls width.

I remember a game in 2019 (last year I bowl because of Covid) InterClub Pairs and before the skips last (of 4 bowls) bowl was played. I had a bowl setup of a easy "Five Bowl Success" on the green which would result in burning the jack. As we had all the back bowls, such a "respot" of the jack meant that the opponent skip would have to draw to a "respotted" jack. He did but over played his bowl and with it in the ditch we collected 5 shots and the best 3rd game prize money.

The meaning of "5 Bowl Success" is that if I tried the shot I could miss 2 bowls on either side (left or right of the "Bowl" and still get the jack knocked out of play and respotted. As the opponent had 4 shots tight on the jack, a "frontal" runner into the bowls around the jack would not have "Move the jack" much. But, if I was to play a "wick" of the frontal bowls on the right of the head; I would throw the jack out to the left. The shot was successful as we collected 5 of the 8 bowls played. But most important was the shot was a "Five Bowl Success" with about 75 percent success. (If the runner bowl had hit square center on one of the bowls, it would have simply drive it straight back and not rebound toward the head and jack).  Shot was successful and put us into the money at the end of the day. The following week at another club I was approach by the opponent and her husband (a good skip); whom wanted to discuss the shot. There was a standing joke, as I often would explain my shot to the opponent skip when  I was going to play such a shot. (a rebound from frontal bowls 4 feet right of the jack) Think it is easlier to explain before the shot than attempt to explain later why it was not just a "Lucky shot". 

(This blog of 04/25/2010 was edited on Oct 8, 2022 to explain "Lucky Shots" possibility)

Friday, March 19, 2021

Percentage of Success on Bowl Delivery


How often when listening to a skip discuss or evaluate the possibility of making a shot, you hear something which you do not understand. It is probably their way of  indicating the "Percentage of Success" in making the Bowl Delivery or "Shot".

 Skip Aron Sherriff of Australia goes to the mat with the score 14 - 14 in the final end to play and with his last bowl during the 2016 World Bowls 2 bowl Triple Championship.  (still on youtube) and is greeted with the head in the photo on left where England is holding shot which was a toucher by their lead. England also has last bowl.

We can see three possible deliveries. 1) A forehand "lightly over weight" draw to touch and remove the shot bowl or knock the jack back a few inches to Australia`s bowl (yellow) behind.  However, England`s last bowl played by mate was to leave a block quite far up the green against this option.  2) A backhand draw to the jack and /or likewise move the jack back to their yellow. (Aron during most of the play has been favoring his Forehand draw) and 3) A runner bowl to remove the England "Shot bowl". This shot would require a very fine cut (1/4 cut on the bowl). This, the 3rd option, is the choice which Aron Sherriff decided to do and win or lose the game.

 Here, I will explain what I meant by the term "Bowls percentage of Success" as I calculate the "Percentage of Success" The photo to the right is an example of a 1/8 "Bowls of Success" shot. Meaning, to pass the frontal bowl and hit the "shot" allows for only 1/8 to 1/4. Remember that a fast runner does not have a lot of bias since bias applies when the bowl begans to slow. This shot can only be done with a perfect forehand runner. Yes, Aron has made many a "perfect shot".  I would say that the shot has a 1/8 Bowl "Percentage of Success" and only with a Forehand delivery. The percentage can be increased by a slower ("over  weight") delivery.

Once, during a club championship final, I made a 1/8 bowl runner shot like this and my partner said to me "If you can make those Shots, you can make anything." However, my decision to try the shot was base not upon the "Success Percentage" but that the shot had a High level of  "Successful Miss" and of course was not my last end or bowl.  Let me explain the difference. 

As you know, sometimes, we must give up the point or if we do try a shot it is best if not successful that it be a "Miss". In the above example by Aron, his missed shot did not cause  damage to the head. We would say about that shot (above right) the " Percentage of Success" is Low but with a "Miss" there is no danger of removal of the Australian bowl (yellow) which is second. We could say that Aron had a high percentage of "A successful Miss".  However, looking at the same "removal" of the "shot Bowl" (with a Backhand runner right of jack) it become clear that the "Miss" will certainly remove the yellow Australian ( 2nd shot) bowl and give 4 points to the opponents. Strange but many skips can only throw a "Forehand Runner" as a "Backhand Runner requires stepping away from the "Center Line".

The shot which Aron Sherriff tried was the "Forehand Runner" and as we see on the screenshot photo (left)  where his bowl is stopped; the runner (yellow) bowl passed very close to the shot bowl;  Aron just missed by an inch or so. A gutty shot for the Gold Medal of  the 2016 World Bowls. But the better players can and do make these hard and "impossible" shots.

This blog which was started several months ago and now being finished because I was here watching the  2020 Australian NSW Bowls Club Championship Singles Final which in Canada was a early morning  3am as to the Australia`s 6 pm game  time. Watching such great bowls game online is all that we have with the CoVid shutdown of Canadian and Americian Lawn Bowls Clubs.
From March 15 to 19, 2021 we saw the 2020 Australian NSW Bowls Club Championship streaming. was worth the early morning online. ( from March 15 to 19, 2021) Have not missed much of the Australian or New Zealand streaming this year, this 2020  Singles Final  was worth the early morning viewing.

In this game,  Corey Wedlock of Warilla  is trailing at 29 - 30 as he and Ben Twist of St Johns Park go to the mat for the final end of play.  Ben`s first bowl is a toucher and stops 5 or 6 inches in front  of the jack. Corey on his 2nd bowls decides that with the 29 - 30 score, and such nice bowls; the head  needs being opened a bit. His runner takes the toucher and jack to the ditch with a seperation of less than a foot.  (Game over as the toucher stayed with the jack). But I was impressed that Corey threw such a good "Backhand Runner".

The purpose of this blog is not to be an "ArmChair Critic" as often seem to be the reviews of good games. As anyone who has played singles know that a tough part of "Singles" is being alone on the green and at the end game there is a lot of pressure. Was this shot before the last bowl a sign of pressure ??. 

This was a great game,  played yesterday March 19, 2021; and can still be seen on NSW Bowls  . At one point Corey was behind 15 to 26 and came back to a 28 - 28 tie.  So, not to critize but show what is meant by "Bowls Success" or "Precentage of Success" I use this game to comment as in the final end of this game we see clearly the point of "Percentage of Success"as explained as to the number of bowls which the shot can be missed and still be quite an acceptable shot.

From the screenshot (right) we see Corey`s runner bowl (stopped) just prior to contact. It was a "Forehand Runner" which in this case has only one "Bowl of Success" as the contact with the 2nd bowl from this angle offer no level of success. The angle at which the forehand bow arrives in the head is from left to right. Greater "Success" is seen with a "Backhand Runner" which approaches the head right to left. 

On the "Backhand Runner" we see that there are three "Bowls (large) of Success" as even a narrow far right "hit" on the 2nd shot bowl will cause the head to be changed. When putting this in percentage I would say "has a 300 % of success". (No such option on Forehand)
We see that a runner on the backhand causes a difference approach and different results. Above, I mention that some players can only throw a forehand runner. In this case you must know your actual success at throwing the runner. A backhand runner is more difficult.
Even a backhand runner hitting the 2nd bowl square on will bounce a bit left and could move the shot bowl left and finally take shot. However, a runner is not the best decision here. 

Also, as Corey had last bowl; his decision of a runner could have been saved for the last bowl and the other bowls used to prepare for such a runner.  Very probably  the quick decision of Corey was more the Pressure of a really great game which all players feels at the final end-game

About this Blog.  Sorry, at 76 I am not writting much these days. But from the stats here on the right the Blog is still getting an average of 100 viewers a week. Also it is possible to see how 
Blog Stats March 19

many readers from North  Americian; as it was posted on twitter at 9 am the 18th. Now I will wait for my Southern followers (Auzzi, NZ and SA) which will see the twitter today as I just posted 9am their time.

Todate, the blog has had 53,607 Visitors and last month 450 visitors, although I have not done a blog for the last 4 or 5 months.  It is the old blogs which they are being drawn to read.  Meaning that there are a lot whom are seeking information.

Note: The stats list Followers as 8 which are readers who have a blogger account although the blog actual readership is about 300 of the better Lawn Bowlers from South Africa to England and both North and South America.

Sunday, December 6, 2020

Practice makes Perfect.. What type of Practice ?

 How does Ericsson`s 10,000 Hour Rules apply to the expression of "Practice makes perfect" ?, Previous blog looked at the PodCast of "Good Life Project" and how the original research of Anders Ericsson began into the development of expertise.

   Jonathan Field, the founder of GLP in his podcast interview asks Anders Ericsson to explain the two practices " Purposeful practice" and "Deliberate practice".

Field: "Deliberate practice is very difference than just the notion of "practice". "Tell me if I am wrong" Deliberate practice is the type of very precise practice which leads most efficently to ,, growth, to mastery, to expertise" 

Ericsson: "To Clarify, people have been using 

"Deliberate practice" in ways that is a little bit different from what we originally proposed when we looked at musical students". "Musical students were working with individual teachers which actually guided their practice into "Detail Practice" activity which they could go off and do by them self and monitor the outcome". 

       "And we call "purposeful practice" when you have a training task with a goal, and then you have something you can do over with immediate feedback and you have opportunities here to repeat it and  you can reflect and figure out way you can do it differently to reach the goal you set for yourself". 

Field: "So the big difference than.. is one has more external guidance by a teacher"

Ericsson:  "Exactly,  So "Deliberate practice" would be "purposeful practice" which is now supervised or actually guided by a teacher".... "If you actually have a teacher who has worked with a lot of other individuals; they would be able to access"... "Well here is where you`re at and lets first correct your fundamentals first before we start moving into the higher levels". "To adjust what you are doing incorrectly because eventually that is going to be a real limiting factor".

Field: And the big difference between  weather it is purposeful or deliberate ... between those two categories (of practice) and just regular practice" ?

Ericsson: Right, that is a big difference between purposeful practice and .. practice or play" Using playing doubles in tennis as example Ericsson explains that in play you miss a backhand volly but of course play just continues. But if you coach was to define a meaningful list of routines to practice and build your perfection of your back hand volly. After the several different exercises of the coach; you would have a expertise in your back hand volly.

Ericsson: "The idea here is that with that purposeful practice where you are actually help to focus in on a specific aspect; you can probably gain as much in two hours as you would in a couple of years of just playing with friends".

Field: "You get together with friends... but the reason you do it is because it is fun".

Ericsson: If you are working with a teacher, they would be able to set up a

Game play practice
sequence of  different things you should make adjustments and what is important is that the teacher is confidence you are able to make these adjustments with these activities". "And if you run into problems than the teacher is going to diagnose what is needed to fix first before you can achieve the goal".

Professor Ericsson suggest that instead of looking for that gifted ability which may occur magically while you are playing; that  "nobody actually finds the gifted and instead take the view that this is what I would like to do and then figure out what is the path".

Next blog, third of this series; will discuss where one gets that movivation and the value of a mentor and your teacher`s confidence in you and your abilities.

Saturday, December 5, 2020

Anders Ericsson on Expertise


In a 2016 Good Life Project Podcast, founder, JonathanFields interviews K. AndersEricsson, PhD, about his research into the Psychology of developing one`s abilities as it pertains to becoming an expert in your field.  As Professor of Psychology at Florida State University, Amders Ericsson did research which  is probably the start of what is today the science of "Sport Psychology" and the relationship between an athletic`s mind and personal or physical development.

What started as a research project on a question of "How would one develop an ability to receit a long list of numbers; later advanced to a similar  study of violin and piano music students and resulted in what is now known as 10,000 Rule of Expertise"  This suggests that. "To become an expertise one must invest at least 10,000 hours of practice" But the question then arrives as to what type of practice.

"If we take the task of reproducing a list of numbers.. at first a person recites to memory the numbers and can reach about 10... then it is found that a method has to be develop to remember more" Ericsson discovered that "humans have an inability to pay attention to a lot of things at the same time" "and we were interested in how could training really change that". The volunteer whom was being studied had reached a point of 10 numbers when he began a strategy of remembering the 1st three numbers and recalling from memory the remaining numbers and "eventually came up with a system which would allow him to do like 20 of these groups"

First important point is that eventually there was a need to develop a system or strategy to achieve the expertise wanted to be developed.  "But if you were sticking to doing more of the same you would never get beyond (a certain point) "but by shifting the strategy of using long term memory he was able to open up the space or possibilities" "and we studied others of his colleagues which also got to about 100 digits" "And now the current record (in 2016) is over 450 digits"

Secondly, "the amount of time it took to develop the skill to be able to do it". "This was over 400 hours during a couple of years" doing one hour a day. But "that intensity of being able to focus while being tested" "is part of the success of his training". "One of the things we saw here, and with many other experts; is the ability to concentrate during short periods".

"We are making a point between "purposeful practice" and "deliberate Practice". Those who have been able to reach the 450 ditits level are being taught the fundamentals and then like a music studiant work to practice these principles, they can achieve a high level of expertise. "By executing that system they are able to do vasely more than that individual that had to figure out for himself".

"That is a powerful idea.. if you can draw on what teachers have learned over time... about the best way of doing things... and as you get high and higher .. there are going to be few and few things which will allow you to reach one step further" toward your expertise.

Another interesting point is that although similar task or expertise in individuals, it may not be applied to different aspects of similar tasks. For example: The current Guinness World Record for recitual of the digits of π’s (pi)  is held by Lu Chao of China, who, in 2005 recited 67,890 digits of the value of pi. However,  about the same time, "Ericsson and his colleagues gave Lu as well as a group of people of the same age and education level, a test that measured their "digit span". (how well they could remember a sequence of random digits presented at a rate of one digit per second)". (Life Science) .

How did Lu do ? "Lu`s digit span was 8.83, compared with the average of 9.27 for the rest of the group"(published in 2009 in the Journal of Experimental Psychology.) Why ? Lu was using a method  "called the "memory palace"   which has (been) applied since the time of the ancient Greeks and Romans and which involves using spatial visualization (as a mental method) to remember information such as digits, faces or lists of words. ( read how at Life Science) .

Further in the podcast interview Ericsson states " I know of historial examples of people who had to relearn how they were doing things in order to advance to the next level of mastery

  Sometimes an mental ability can be transfer to a similar newly defined ability by translation of that ability but often the individual on reaching his plateau of performance must now find a new mental application to build his future advancements.

Next blog will look at the type of practice and the mental development which this podcast suggest is possible.

Thursday, December 3, 2020

Making yourself a Champion in Bowls

"When someone is very good at a given thing, what is it that actually makes him good?” was the seemingly primordial

question which  Professor Anders Ericsson attempted to answer in his 1993  paper  published in the "Psychological Review". Remember that research in the  field of Human Behavior is difficult because volunteers for research are not willing to commit to several years of trials. 

Ericsson`s most recognized research was what is today called the "10,000-hour rule". Although misinterpreted by many like Malcolm Gladwell it suggests that 10,000 hours of practice is needed to become an expert in a field or sport. 

In his early research, Ericsson by using "violinists at the Academy of Music in Berlin, divided the selected music students into three groups: those who had the chops to be world-class performers, those who were very good and those who planned to become music teachers." 

Professor Ericsson and two colleagues  discovered that what separated the violinists’ skill levels was not natural-born talent but the hours of practice they had logged since childhood. 

The future teachers registered around 4,000 hours, the very good violinists 8,000 and the elite performers more than 10,000 hours. The same study was conducted with pianists, with similar results, thus creating what became known as the "10,000 hour rule".

Using  the next few blogs I will look first at the  Podcast " titled "Anders Ericsson: Dismantling the 10,000 Hour Rule" by  the "Good Life Project founder Jonathan Fields who interviews K. Anders Ericsson, PhD, and discuss his last published book "Peak" on the "Secrets from the New Science of Expertise". (2016).

The first miss interruption of Ericsson work was by Malcolm Gladwell, author of best-selling "Outliers" (2008)

 actually popularized Professor Ericsson’s research;  but to many in the field of  "Human Behavior" research, it was consider to oversimplified  the findings of Ericsson`s 2009 research paper. 

Angela Duckworth, a professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania and the author of

actually popularized Professor Ericsson’s research;  but to many in the field of  "Human Behavior" research, it was consider to oversimplified  the findings of Ericsson`s 2009 research paper. 

Angela Duckworth, a professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania and the author of

As far back as 2006, Stephen J. Dubner and Steven D. Levitt, authors of the book “Freakonomics,” attempted to explained Ericsson research in their NY Times profile of Professor Ericsson and stated that his lifetime work was "on defining what makes an expert in their field."  

Their book “Freakonomics, suggests that data analysis and incentives can explain a lot about human behavior. Using their tools of economics; they attempted to explain real-world phenomena that are not conventionally thought of in terms of "economics". (by Shortform)