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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A great opening, 17 Aug 2012
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This review is from: Bounce: The Myth of Talent and the Power of Practice (Kindle Edition)
Bounce got off to a great start. The author told his story of how he got into table tennis and highly it could easily have been seen as the result of great talent. However he pointed out that talent probably had only a little bit to do with. The truth was that a series of lucky coincidences combined with many many hours of practice I led him to become the champion player that he was. I really enjoyed the parts of the book where he was expanding his thesis about the importance of practice and opportunity and dismissing the importance of talent. I felt there was a message here for everybody.

Unfortunately I felt the book tailed off. For me there was a very little that was new in the second half of the book. It seemed as if the author had a great idea, but that there wasn't quite not there to fill a book. Part two covered paradoxes of the mind, dealing with sports psychological topics such as joking, rituals and the anticlimax of winning. I certainly had read most of this before in a number of sources. The final section had one interesting chapter on the way that the mind processed division in sport. I love the story of the highly trained table tennis player with lightning reflexes trying to apply his reflexes to game of lawn tennis.

The final two chapters are opinion pieces on current sporting debates. One discusses the use of drugs in sport and whether it might be better to just encourage or alive all athletes to use drugs. The final chapter looks at the success of black athletes and the dwells particularly on the success of Kenyan athletes. I find this chapter tantalising but disappointing. I was annoyed that much of it was spent attacking a straw man argument that racial abilities or group abilities should be identifiable mappings of genes. I thought that the notion that human traits could be traced to the action in order to genes had been abandoned as hopelessly optimistic many years ago. Interesting parts of this chapter with the references to lifestyle and altitude in this successful Kenyan subset. The discussion of African-American and Jamaican runners seems determined to find any explanation that wasn't genetic.The author forces a correlation between identifying physical prowess with demeaning the group.

This book is worth reading for the first section. The second section will certainly be interesting if you have not read much about sports psychology. The last section contains interesting arguments and if you like to argue with the book you will probably love it.
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