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Question for teachers: Why are Dan McLaughlin's (www.thedanplan.com) numbers so low


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Jet, there is a saying.... 'Never wrestle with a pig, you'll just get dirty.'  Sometimes you just have to know when to back away.   3... 2... 1... Before Big Cheese comes back in here and uses Websters, Wikipedia, Youtube, et al to show us why we're totally off base! c2_beer.gif

Or instead how about this chestnut ... **** you Shawn.

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I think you are taking the statement a little out of context.  It says "elite performers engage in roughly 10,000 hours of deliberate practice."  The part it leaves out is that those elite performers

Yes I do.  And you're last sentence goes towards my reasoning.  There are plenty of people who can carry it that far without a coach, just like they are tons who will never be able to

My opinions with nothing to back them up: A lot of the potential for power we have is the fast twitch abilitly we are born with. Since most of us never use all of our natural potential for spee

We can split hairs about it being an aspiration, a goal, or him simply benighted on the true difficulty of golf.  But the point is... Dan's head is in the clouds.

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One of the confusions occurring in this thread is correlating Dan's outcome with the discussion about whether you can be born with innate ability.  Some people clearly feel strongly that innate ability does exist (to the point of mocking opposing viewpoints) but that is only part of the discussion regarding Dan's plan.

I tend to think innate talent doesn't exist, but even so, I do not think Dan will succeed for a few reasons:

-He is too old.  It is much easier to form new neural pathways when you are younger, which biologically makes sense.  Genetics are a very basic road map to how to construct the body and some of our basic instincts like hunger, self-preservation, etc.  Evolution has then equipped us with an adaptable brain to respond to whatever environment we live in and to learn whatever skills we need to survive.  However, it makes sense that this ability to adapt and learn will be much more important at a young age as we first learn how to walk, interact, eat, hunt, etc, whatever skills we need.  Accordingly, learning new skills as you get older requires much more effort.  While it is not impossible, it takes more time.  For Dan to accomplish at age 30 what most people on the PGA tour accomplished in their childhood and at the start of adulthood would take MUCH more effort.  He is already playing at a disadvantage.  If he really wanted to put in the necessary time, I don't think the 10k hour rule would apply, as that is derived mostly from world class performers who put in their 10k hours at a younger age.  It might take 20k or 30k hours.  Or more.  But it definitely will/would take many more than 10k.

-He is condensing his practice in to too short a time.  He is attempting to complete his 10k hours in something like 6 years.  Another, less discussed rule is the 10 year rule, which basically says that even with 10k hours, you still need about 10 years to become world class regardless of how much you practice.  While this is more of an anecdotal rule, a better way to understand this is that the brain can not really handle many more than 3 hours of real practice a day.  After that you brain starts to experience diminishing returns.  Just like exercising a muscle, the time between practice is and important part of the loop when reinforcing neural pathways.  We know this intuitively--practicing 1 hour 6 times a week is much more effective than practicing 6 hours once a week.  Dan, I believe, is averaging something like 6 hours a day of golf practice.  I think after about 3 he isn't gaining anything, so in effect, he is really only half as far along as he believes because he is trying to practice too much at a time.

-I don't think he is practicing/learning the game of golf the right way.  This particular point is a much more in depth discussion.  But suffice it to say I don't think his approach of "learning the game from the hole out" is the most efficient.  While we as conscious beings group all the skills the make up the game of golf into one talent, our unconscious bodies and brains don't really see any relation between something like hitting a drive and something like putting.  There is minimal skill transfer between the two.  As such, it is much more efficient to practice these skills in parallel rather than in series.  Those days at the beginning Dan spent 6 hours or whatever just making 3 foot putts was just really inefficient when he could have spent an hour doing short puts, an hour chipping, and hour pitching, an hour hitting driver, etc.  It is kind of the same principle weight lifters use when they work different muscle groups each day--exercise one group while the other is recovering, etc, rather than doing 2 workouts a week that work EVERY muscle.  Just think how much further along he'd be if he'd been hitting driving for 3 years instead of 1 or however long he has actually been hitting it.  This kind of goes with my previous point about your brain only being able to handle so much practice each day.  A way to work around that is practice different skills in parallel so you can spend more time practicing each day and still making gains.

I have thought most of these from the beginning and while I am rooting for Dan, have always been skeptical.  I am a pretty avid chess player and I know there is a reason GMs and World Champions all tend to be young and fall off when they get older.  Its easy to write off this phenomenon in sports as being deteriorating physical condition, but clearly if the talent is chess, we can see the mind, just like the body, deteriorates with age.  I remember a few months ago my friend and I talking about Tiger Woods and other aging golfers and we were intrigued by the notion that, for the most part, the first part of a game most professional golfers lose is their putting.  It seems completely counter-intuitive to us--wouldn't putting be the thing you should always be able to do?  The swing is the physically demanding part of the game and should be the skill most susceptable to aging.  However, when you understand the decreasing capability of the brain maintain and create neural pathways as it ages, it makes sense.

I am very much against the idea of innate talent, but even so, there are times in any persons life when they are better suited to learning, and there are ways to learn that are better than others.  I think Dan is, unfortunately for him, not on the good side of either one of those possibilites.

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Originally Posted by Birdman10687

One of the confusions occurring in this thread is correlating Dan's outcome with the discussion about whether you can be born with innate ability.  Some people clearly feel strongly that innate ability does exist (to the point of mocking opposing viewpoints) but that is only part of the discussion regarding Dan's plan.

I tend to think innate talent doesn't exist, but even so, I do not think Dan will succeed for a few reasons:

-He is too old.  It is much easier to form new neural pathways when you are younger, which biologically makes sense.  Genetics are a very basic road map to how to construct the body and some of our basic instincts like hunger, self-preservation, etc.  Evolution has then equipped us with an adaptable brain to respond to whatever environment we live in and to learn whatever skills we need to survive.  However, it makes sense that this ability to adapt and learn will be much more important at a young age as we first learn how to walk, interact, eat, hunt, etc, whatever skills we need.  Accordingly, learning new skills as you get older requires much more effort.  While it is not impossible, it takes more time.  For Dan to accomplish at age 30 what most people on the PGA tour accomplished in their childhood and at the start of adulthood would take MUCH more effort.  He is already playing at a disadvantage.  If he really wanted to put in the necessary time, I don't think the 10k hour rule would apply, as that is derived mostly from world class performers who put in their 10k hours at a younger age.  It might take 20k or 30k hours.  Or more.  But it definitely will/would take many more than 10k.

-He is condensing his practice in to too short a time.  He is attempting to complete his 10k hours in something like 6 years.  Another, less discussed rule is the 10 year rule, which basically says that even with 10k hours, you still need about 10 years to become world class regardless of how much you practice.  While this is more of an anecdotal rule, a better way to understand this is that the brain can not really handle many more than 3 hours of real practice a day.  After that you brain starts to experience diminishing returns.  Just like exercising a muscle, the time between practice is and important part of the loop when reinforcing neural pathways.  We know this intuitively--practicing 1 hour 6 times a week is much more effective than practicing 6 hours once a week.  Dan, I believe, is averaging something like 6 hours a day of golf practice.  I think after about 3 he isn't gaining anything, so in effect, he is really only half as far along as he believes because he is trying to practice too much at a time.

-I don't think he is practicing/learning the game of golf the right way.  This particular point is a much more in depth discussion.  But suffice it to say I don't think his approach of "learning the game from the hole out" is the most efficient.  While we as conscious beings group all the skills the make up the game of golf into one talent, our unconscious bodies and brains don't really see any relation between something like hitting a drive and something like putting.  There is minimal skill transfer between the two.  As such, it is much more efficient to practice these skills in parallel rather than in series.  Those days at the beginning Dan spent 6 hours or whatever just making 3 foot putts was just really inefficient when he could have spent an hour doing short puts, an hour chipping, and hour pitching, an hour hitting driver, etc.  It is kind of the same principle weight lifters use when they work different muscle groups each day--exercise one group while the other is recovering, etc, rather than doing 2 workouts a week that work EVERY muscle.  Just think how much further along he'd be if he'd been hitting driving for 3 years instead of 1 or however long he has actually been hitting it.  This kind of goes with my previous point about your brain only being able to handle so much practice each day.  A way to work around that is practice different skills in parallel so you can spend more time practicing each day and still making gains.

I have thought most of these from the beginning and while I am rooting for Dan, have always been skeptical.  I am a pretty avid chess player and I know there is a reason GMs and World Champions all tend to be young and fall off when they get older.  Its easy to write off this phenomenon in sports as being deteriorating physical condition, but clearly if the talent is chess, we can see the mind, just like the body, deteriorates with age.  I remember a few months ago my friend and I talking about Tiger Woods and other aging golfers and we were intrigued by the notion that, for the most part, the first part of a game most professional golfers lose is their putting.  It seems completely counter-intuitive to us--wouldn't putting be the thing you should always be able to do?  The swing is the physically demanding part of the game and should be the skill most susceptable to aging.  However, when you understand the decreasing capability of the brain maintain and create neural pathways as it ages, it makes sense.

I am very much against the idea of innate talent, but even so, there are times in any persons life when they are better suited to learning, and there are ways to learn that are better than others.  I think Dan is, unfortunately for him, not on the good side of either one of those possibilites.

Thanks for the well-thought out post.  I agree strongly with the bold.  Not so much in time committed to different aspects, but in the way that he approaches the game.  In my opinion he suffers from "paralysis by analysis."  He uses all this fancy equipment, he pays a staff of experts to whisper in his ear, etc, etc.  He goes to Titleist Performance Institute.  He gets fitted for each specific club.  He banters over the tiniest wedge fitting problems.  He works out.  He has a chiropractor.  Etc etc.  These are things that PROS do after they turn PRO.  Before all this though, there is one requirement:  you have to be able to swing a golf club.  Dan cannot yet swing a golf club well enough to justify all this $ dropped into tour-level fitting, performance schools, mental game, trackman sessions, etc.

Wish that the time and effort could've been given to a young kid with TALENT, and SPONSORED by Dan, rather than wasting the time and cash on a guy having an early mid life crisis who decided he hates photography and wants to golf like his rich NYC banking daddy & big brother.

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Originally Posted by TJBam

Thanks for the well-thought out post.  I agree strongly with the bold.  Not so much in time committed to different aspects, but in the way that he approaches the game.  In my opinion he suffers from "paralysis by analysis."  He uses all this fancy equipment, he pays a staff of experts to whisper in his ear, etc, etc.  He goes to Titleist Performance Institute.  He gets fitted for each specific club.  He banters over the tiniest wedge fitting problems.  He works out.  He has a chiropractor.  Etc etc.  These are things that PROS do after they turn PRO.  Before all this though, there is one requirement:  you have to be able to swing a golf club.  Dan cannot yet swing a golf club well enough to justify all this $ dropped into tour-level fitting, performance schools, mental game, trackman sessions, etc.

Wish that the time and effort could've been given to a young kid with TALENT, and SPONSORED by Dan, rather than wasting the time and cash on a guy having an early mid life crisis who decided he hates photography and wants to golf like his rich NYC banking daddy & big brother.

The guy lives in Portland...

"Portland is a place where young people go to retire."

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Note: This thread is 2833 days old. We appreciate that you found this thread instead of starting a new one, but if you plan to post here please make sure it's still relevant. If not, please start a new topic. Thank you!

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