and last but not least, borrowed from our friends to the north
Scientific research has concluded that it takes a minimum of 10 years and 10,000 hours of training for a talented athlete to reach elite levels. For athlete and coach, this translates into slightly more than 3 hours of training or competition daily for 10 years.
This factor is supported by The Path to Excellence, which provides a comprehensive view of the development of U.S. Olympians who competed between 1984 and 1998. The results reveal that:
• U.S. Olympians begin their sport participation at the average age of 12.0 for males and 11.5 for females.
• Most Olympians reported a 12- to 13-year period of talent development from their sport introduction to making an Olympic team.
• Olympic medalists were younger – 1.3 to 3.6 years – during the first 5 stages of development than non-medalists, suggesting that medalists were receiving motor skill development and training at an earlier age. However, caution must be taken not to fall into the trap of early specialization in late specialization sports.