EP 22 – Dr Jean Côté – Play vs Practice, Sampling vs Specialisation and Transformational Leadership


If you’ve read Outliers by Malcom Gladwell, you’ll know that it takes 10,000 hours of deliberate practice to become an expert.

Unfortunately, it’s not quite that simple.

Jean CoteMore recent research shows that you can reach an expert level in some disciplines with much less practice, while in others you can practice as much as you like and never get there.

And when it comes to sport, it turns out it’s not just about practice. If you want to get to the top, and have a great experience along the way, you also need to play.

My guest on the show today is Dr Jean Côté, a Professor and Tenured Director at the School of Kinesiology and Health Studies, at Queen’s University in Canada.

Jean is fascinated by the complex interaction of children, parents and coaches in the development of talent, and in the achievement of personal excellence, and he’s dedicated his career to meaningful research in the area, including coining the term ‘deliberate play’ and its role in developing expertise.

Show Highlights

  • What deliberate play is and why’s it’s so important for kids to engage in
  • How to engineer sport to promote positive youth experiences
  • The benefits of sampling sports during childhood
  • How transformation leadership by youth sport coaches can empower, inspire and challenge young athletes and enable them to reach their full potential
  • What to focus on to be the best youth coach or parent you can be

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