The magic number is 10,000 hours, but that amount isn’t the exact measure for everyone.
This shows that quality of practice is just as important quantity, and that’s where talent scouting comes into play.
“If you enter a talent pathway, you’re more likely to receive quality coaching, better access to resources, facilities, all those types of things,” Jonathan says.
Of course, not every NRL player enters a talent pathway at the age of 14, and plenty still make it to the professional level from a later start.
“There are still those who don’t enter that talent pathway until under 17s, under 19s, and they’re still going on to make it to a higher level,” Jonathan says.
“What I’m interested in talking about is some of those practice determinant factors that can help players make it to the highest level.”
One of these factors is diversification of practice, as opposed to specialisation.
There’s an Australian tennis player who has recently won the French Open that shows what a defining factor this concept can be.
“Ash Barty is the perfect example,” Jonathan said. “She’s a great example of someone who took time away from the sport, actually went and joined cricket, was very skilful, and was picked up by Andy Richards, the Queensland females coach at the time.
“You look at her coming back now and performing so well; it’s a great example of how time away from a particular sport can actually rejuvenate your mental state, limit burnout and reduce risk of injury.”