Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Talent and teaching

There is a Tiziano Ferro song that goes "El que no tiene talento enseña."

Which translates to "He who has no talent teaches."

Which, honestly, the first time I heard it sounded kind of mean. But then I came across a few baseball articles that ran in the same vein. Today I was reminded of it in this otherwise insignificant article about Ryan Sandberg deciding to manage a Cubs minor league baseball team.

The important lines come from Astros manager Phil Garner, who says:

"You're not a very good teacher if you grab the bat and say, 'Watch me take batting practice,'" said Houston's Phil Garner when asked why great players have trouble becoming great managers. "Typically, I have found it is very difficult for extremely talented players because they've never tried to learn to verbalize what they feel.

"That doesn't mean they don't become great coaches, but that's why lesser-talented players become better coaches. It's not an insurmountable task. It's just difficult to learn."

This is a pearl of wisdom and goes back to what Ferro says in his song. The idea is that—and you can see it in action with all the mediocre, unexciting ex-players that manage in pro sports today—those who struggle with learning and executing the intricacies of the game (or whatever it is), have an insight about what it takes to achieve it and therefore give that knowledge to others. Whereas great players, those who have great talents, simply perform. It comes naturally to them. They see a nasty curveball, they hit it hard, and it goes out of the yard. Homerun. Ho hum. A pitcher simply throws his fastball 98 miles per hour and moves on to the next thing.

But for those that really have to learn all these things without the benefit of talent, well, that makes them perfect candidates to teach others because they've had to learn it.

Make sense?

It does to me, and it seems to apply to just about anything in life.


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