The 10,000 Hour Rule
As an average surfer, I’m often disappointed by the length of time it takes me to actually improve any aspect of my surfing. I would love to smooth out my style and fine tune my mechanics, but it’s difficult to do given the relatively little amount of time I spend it the water and the number of waves I catch. On the flip side, what am I actually doing to become a better surfer?
How many of us actually surf with the sole purpose of working on one maneuver? Would it help if we made a goal of performing ten backside floaters every session? Of course it would. Repetition, repetition, repetition…which brings us to an important factor in anyone’s quest to master a skill: the number of hours spent performing that skill.
In his 2008 book Outliers, author Malcolm Gladwell published what he calls the “10,000-Hour Rule”. He uses this rule to help explain that success in any field is in part attributed to practicing one specific task for a total of 10,000 hours. Gladwell uses such examples as Bill Gates and The Beatles and explains that 20 hours a week for ten years will bring a person to this exalted number. If nothing else, this tells me that my 8 hours of surfing each week just isn’t doing the job. Even pro surfer Taj Burrow knows this secret when he says in his book “The only difference between me and you is persistence and time in the water”.
What I’m trying to say is you’re not stuck at your current level of surfing. Imagine if you could get as much wave riding time as you get on your snowboard in one day! So make a goal for yourself and decide how many hours you’re going to surf this week. Set the goal, stick to it, have fun and get better. It’s all up to you, amigo.