Not blogged for a little while, work in the way, but I picked up the book Bounce a couple of weeks back. Written by Matthew Syed, former UK table tennis #1 and current Times columnist, it's very good, as the guy that I got the recommendation off said, don't even continue reading this until you've checked it out.
The premise of the book isn't new, it's already covered in Gladwell's Outliers, although it reads better coming from someone who had experience of being very good in his field - it basically surmises that there's no such thing as being born with talent - you simply become elite at whatever you do through LOTS of focussed, motivated practice. It refers to Gladwell's oft-quoted 10,000 hour rule as the amount of time required to become elite at a specific task. Which is a lot of hours, more or less five years as a full-time job.
A lot of the ideas in the book have obvious applications to competitive SC2. Have a look at the current Code S round of 16 competitors - MVP, DRG, MarineKing, Nestea, MC, Supernova, Symbol - what do they all have in common? They all played Brood War competitively - what success or lack of they had in that game isn't too relevant, what is is that they will have played RTS games for thousands of hours, even before they got into a situation where they could become practice partners, go through Courage and eventually become Brood War pros - at which point they will be putting in a lot of very specific practice with the best players in the world at that game. They'll also be carrying on doing hard hours in current SC2 team houses, pushing themselves and the game to its limits.
On the other hand, if we look at the foreign scene, it's pretty easy to see reasons why players may lag behind. They might just simply not put the hours in, be it through school, work, or simple laziness. They may be practising, but not in a focussed way, particularly if they're just playing a lot of ladder games - especially if they're happy to get streaming money. It's easy to become complacent, and get to a level where you can get by with money from streaming, coaching, taking down weekly cups or placing in smaller LAN events. If someone's happy to do that, then that's their choice and it's absolutely fine. But for players who eventually aspire to compete at the highest level, how many of them can say that they're practising as efficiently as even aspiring code A players?
I've barely played SC2 at all this year, and was never any good when I did play, but that doesn't disqualify me from asking the question as to what foreign players and foreign teams are doing in terms of training, and whether it actually allows them to improve their players to the point that they can become the next Naniwa. Are they working to allow players to put in the work required in a practice environment conducive to reach the very highest level? I'd guess there's tweaks that most teams could do to allow players to reach greater heights.
Thanks for reading
p: stats, horang2, free, jangbi z: soulkey, zero, shine, hydra t: leta, hiya, sea - dreaming of a non-terrible sc2 tournament