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  • Writer's picturelewisparnell

Genetic application in sport

We all have genetic gifts. It’s nice if you are referred to as ‘natural’, ‘gifted’ and ‘talented’ however these terms are usually applied to a small percentage of the population. Our tests show that less than 25% of the population apply their gifts in a natural way i.e. it is very easy to apply what you’re good at. The majority of the population are ‘masterful’ in the way they apply their genetic gifts i.e. they have to work at it.

It may appear on the face of it that ‘naturals’ are advantaged and will be the ones to achieve. It’s important to state that ‘masterfuls’, who have not allowed a deficit in any part of their gameplan are just as able to achieve success. The legendary swimming coach Doc Counsilman shows this in his telling of the story of John Kinsella and Mark Spitz. While Spitz was more of a natural athlete and, according to Counsilman, adopted a more "relaxed" attitude to training, Kinsella embraced his drive and ability to outwork Spitz - both of them ended up breaking world records.

So, to find out if you are ‘natural’ or ‘masterful’, answer these:

Do you just turn up and your natural ability prevails or do you generally do well when you work at it?

Do you take it as it comes or do you have a well thought out approach to maximise your performance?

If you just turn up and take it as it comes then you would generally be natural in your genetic application. If you work at it and have a well thought through out approach then you are more likely to be masterful in your genetic application.

If you are Natural then development and progression for you will be easier than most. Agility and co-ordination will come easier to you than most however, because of the ease of past success, you are more likely to fail to plan effectively, utilise all your potential or put in the required base work to maintain your previous achievements. This may lead to inconsistency in performance and some frustration on your part.

If you are Masterful then you are more able than most to apply your genetic gifts in a well thought through way and pay more attention to the complete approach and this is an advantage. You are more likely to plan and strategise for development and this will give you an advantage over others who do not. Your well thought through approach means you are viewed by others as solid and the complete package.

We identify your genetic application in our sportsbehavior reports and detail what this means for you as an athlete - strengths, blind spots, value to and impact on the team, suggestions for development, creating the ideal environment, motivating and engaging. Read more about it in the book 'How Champions Achieve'

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