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What, exactly, is meant by the term "talented" . . .(9 posts)

What, exactly, is meant by the term "talented" . . .cyclinseth
Jun 4, 2002 8:41 AM
in relation to bicycle riding or racing?

I understand what is meant by saying someone is a "talented" musician, basketball player or painter. It infers that the person has a natural propensity for the activity. A quality that is apart from technical proficiency and dedication of training. The movie Amadeus immediately comes to mind to illustrate my point. Salieri (?), the court composer was every bit as technically proficient and equally as dedicated in his training as Mozart, but he didn't have the same level of talent that Mozart had.

The term "talent" doesn't make sense to me when reffering to bicycle riding and racing. When Ullrich is said to be more talented than Armstrong do they mean he can balance a bicycle better (certainly something that takes talent, but could be learned through dedication of training)? Can he carve a turn on a descent faster (would require a higher degree of talent but could also be gotten through more technical profiency)? Can he climb or time-trial faster (don't really see how talent would play a part, not nearly as much as a whole bunch of hard work and the luck of the draw in genetic inheritence)?

It doesn't seem to me like there are many areas in our sport where talent plays much of a role. Certainly not more than technical proficiency, dedication of training and genetic advantages don't over-shadow.

So, can someone explain to me what is meant when Ullrich (or anybody for that matter) is more talented than Armstrong or anybody else?
Isn't talent........Len J
Jun 4, 2002 8:50 AM
the same as genetic advantage.

Your Mozart example, I think proves this, What is different about Mozart is innate, he was born with "it" (Whatever "it" is). Maybe it was the way he heard sounds or the way his mind visualized and anticipated musical connections, what "it" was, I would contend that it was innate, hence genetic.

Ulrich's "talent", IMO, is about his pain threshold, his muscle makeup, his oxygen processing capability, it's the base "Raw Material" that he brings to his training.

I think you are confusing yourself by assuming that Talent and genetic advactage are somehow different. If you think they are, tell me how Mozart's talent differs from his genetic advantage.

My .02

"Doesn't train hard enough." nmMB1
Jun 4, 2002 8:58 AM
Talent vs. skill vs. attitude...lonefrontranger
Jun 4, 2002 9:26 AM
As a former coach I used to break down what I called the "elements" of cycling: 1: talent 2: skill 3: attitude 4: fitness

#1 Talent= your raw proclivity for cycling; something naturally inborn / genetic which cannot be taught, like long femurs, an incredible VO2MAX capacity or featherweight / small build for climbing.

#2 Skill = a skill that is taught / learned through practice, i.e. trackstanding or Salvodelli's phenomenal descending skills.

#3 Attitude = mental fortitude for the intense demands of the sport. This cannot be emphasized enough.

#4 Fitness = the time a rider devotes to developing their physiology to its maximum potential

These elements are further enhanced by:

#5: experience; a subset of skill + fitness

#6: "savvy"; a subset of attitude + experience

Naturally, all riders and racers posess these 4 elements and 2 subelements in varying quantities. Examples include:

Johan Museeuw: a rider long on Elements 2 and 3, off the scale on subelements 5 and 6, and average to mediocre (by his own admission) on Element 1. A "hard worker" or everyman-in-the-trenches sort of rider who's a wily old fox when it gets right down to it.

Jan Ullrich: a rider off the scale on Element 1, fair to middling on #2, and good to excellent at getting to #4 when it matters, but who took quite a while to develop #3. He is still "growing into" #s 5 and 6.

Lance Armstrong: a rider off the scale on Elements 3 and 4, with above average gifts on #1 and who works hard at #2. He struggled at first with subelement #6 but now uses that to his advantage (re: playing "dead" on Stage 10 in last year's Tour).

George Hincapie: a rider off the scale on Elements 1 and 2, above average on #3 and 4 but who reportedly struggles a lot with subelement #6.
As usual, Clear, concise & on point, Thanks. nmLen J
Jun 4, 2002 9:29 AM
Succinct & to the point!AllisonHayes
Jun 4, 2002 9:39 AM
As my Dad, who was an English prof would say to his students when asked how long their paper should be, "Well, it's kind of like a woman's dress: 'It should be long enough to cover the subject but short enough to keep it interesting.'"

i He's a real rascal but also a very engaging & stimulating person who always has a twinkle in his eye and is very quick witted. :)
Excellent!!! (nm)PODIUMBOUNDdotCA
Jun 4, 2002 11:03 AM
Trite answerscyclequip
Jun 5, 2002 4:35 AM
You can break down anything into anything - our propensity to analyse into components might even be a human talent, who knows. Better yet, who cares.

Bottom line is you either DO or you DON'T. That is the sum of your talent. All the rest is trite justification.
reThe ability to be better...jrm
Jun 4, 2002 11:10 AM
is all i can think of.