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"Bounce", by Matthew Syed

EasyStreetLearning Rating for 'Bounce by Matthew Syed': 9/10
We Say: " 'Bounce' has important conclusions about sports success that are very relevant to education "

'Bounce' Asks: Is Talent Or Practice Behind Sports Success?

The Bounce Book: Matthew Syed
This is the question Matthew Syed raises in his engaging book, 'Bounce'. We are reviewing it because it's conclusions have significant implications that extend beyond sport to learning. Syed turns the tables on an idea that's as old as sport itself. The idea in question is that sports stars excel because they've been supremely 'lucky' to be 'gifted' with an overabundance of talent in their chosen sport.

It's easy to see why this idea is so widely held. In 'Bounce', Syed refers to this idea as the 'talent myth' - it's the natural conclusion we come to when observing the likes of Lionel Messi making world class defenders look like school boys, or Caroline Wozniacki creating a winning pass from nothing, or any display of skill by our sporting heroes that appears beyond what we think is possible.

To debunk this idea is a difficult task. Syed does so with thought provoking arguments using fact, accounts from our sporting heroes themselves and even probability. He has been developing these ideas over many years, and it shows in the wide-ranging evidence presented in 'Bounce'.

The Bounce Book: Matthew Syed
Syed is also in a unique position to discuss 'talent', being a triple Commonwealth Champion and a two-time Olympian himself. The book title, 'Bounce', is a reference to his first career as a table tennis champion. He also graduated from Oxford with a first degree in philosophy, politics and economics.

As a sports champion he learnt what it takes to rise to the top. As a student he learnt what it takes to go from a state secondary school to obtaining a place at Oxford. As a journalist he has risen to become one of the most respected sports writers in the UK.

Bounce: Talent 'v' Practice - Practice Wins!

Bounce Book Review
Syed uncovers the truth behind talent in 'Bounce'. Talent is less to do with 'a gift from God' or genes than we thought, and more to do with guidance and 'purposeful practice'.

'Purposeful practice' is practice with clear and challenging aims.

This conclusion, whilst seemingly less romantic, is undeniable in the face of the evidence he presents in 'Bounce'. Syed even verifies his debunking of the 'talent myth' by analysis of his own considerable achievements and concludes that they were largely due to him being in the right place at the right time, rather than his own 'talent'.

The sports community have accepted the findings in 'Bounce'. In 2011, Syed won the Best New Writer for 'Bounce' at the British Sports Book Awards and increasingly more sports stars are endorsing conclusions in 'Bounce' about the 'talent myth'.

Initially, what Syed reveals about talent appears less romantic than the idea that talents are 'God given'. However, we should have even more appreciation for displays of talent knowing that it's taken phenomenal dedication through efforts made by the individual and their parents. Think of Lewis Hamilton and his father, the Williams sisters and their father, Andy Murray and his mother... the list goes on and on.

Syed goes on to quantify how much practice it takes to excel. Based on research findings it takes about 10,000 hours of practice, which is about 2.5 to 3 years intensive practice time.

So what's 'Bounce' got to do with your child's education?

Bounce Book Review

Syed has written much more than a 'sports book'...

There are important lessons to be learnt from 'Bounce', relevant to all parents who want to their children to succeed in their education.

There are real similarities in the talent 'v' practice debate between sports and education since becoming talented at sports is not that different to becoming talented at learning.

Too many parents think that children's success in education (often indicated by good exam results) is achieved simply because they were 'gifted' with abilities like intelligence We'll call this the 'education talent myth', to highlight the similarity to the 'sports talent myth' dealt with in 'Bounce'.

The reality is that it takes years of guidance and facilitating 'practice' by their parents and child to achieve exam success.

This is very good news for us parents, as it means that success in education is a possibility for ALL our children and that as parents are in control of it!

Note that this conclusion supports the fact identified by teachers and researchers, that when parents support their children's learning that's when children succeed best. The parents provide the guidance necessary and facilitate the child's practice.

Syed's message in 'Bounce' is the same as ours... 'guidance' and 'purposeful practice' is the secret formula for talent in learning.

At EasyStreetLearning.com you will find excellent guidance your child and fun active ways to practice mastering Numeracy and Literacy.

Beyond 'Bounce' - Similarities In Sports Training And Learning

Bounce Book Review
In 'Bounce', Syed also dissects the process that sports stars go through that make them talented in their sport.

As well as practice, he observes that those that excel at sport see failure as a necessary aspect of learning their sport.

This finding is also relevant for our children. Fear of failure is a real obstacle to learning - do you remember being reluctant to put your hand up in class in case you got the answer wrong? The lesson is that we should be teaching our children not to fear failure and see it an integral part of the learning process that is a necessary to finding where we need to improve.

In 'Bounce', Syed also shows the importance of determination, dedication, and 'tips and tricks' to succeeding.

for our article 'The 2012 Olympic Legacy for Children's Learning', which describes the simularities between what it takes for an athelete to succeed in sport and a child to succeed in education.

Summary: Bounce by Matthew Syed

A stubborn believer in 'natural talent' might say "my child was not born with a gift for maths" or "I was poor at maths, so it's no surprise my child is too", but they'd be wrong.

When parents think their children can't succeed they don't try and help them improve. Tragically for the child this puts them at a huge disadvantage. The biggest factor for children's learning success - parental involvement, is not available to them.

It's vital to believe your child can master any skill given the right guidance and practice methods for them to succeed.

The secret to success is lots of 'purposeful' practice. By 'purposeful' we mean using appropriate strategies, tips and tricks to help overcome difficulties.

Also, teach you child to see failure as part of learning, something expected and not to be feared. If they stop fearing failure they'll begin to try harder and succeed... it's really like riding a bike!

With this approach they will encounter failure during practice but not be discouraged, they will learn from their mistakes, improve and succeed.

The ideas behind EasyStreetLearning are very much in keeping with the findings of 'Bounce' -

  • We have proven guidance for you and your child including powerful practice methods.
  • We have many fun practical learning strategies that will make practice more like play so more practice can be achieved. Also children learn best when they play!
  • We have many effort saving tips and tricks to help your child overcome difficulties they encounter.

Bounce - Matthew Syed Interview

Matthew Syed interviewed on BBC's 'Meet the Author' talking about 'Bounce' and talent -

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