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Thread: Natural talent vs Work Ethic

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    Natural talent vs Work Ethic

    Some of the most naturally gifted skaters aren't always the most discipline. Yet, other skaters who aren't as naturally gifted are more disciplined, so are more consistency. Of course, this isn't always the case. There are definitely skaters who are both disciplined and gifted, like Patrick Chan, Yu-Na Kim etc.

    What are your thoughts?

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    Well, right out of the gate, let's reframe the question: "How far can you get on natural talent alone?" Because most everyone who wins a World or Olympic medal is naturally talented. The Work Ethic is the thing that will separate them (working on the Physical AND Mental aspect. For some, being trained and KNOWING they can do it given them that natural mental fortitude, while others need to work on mental aspects along with the physical training. THe people with the natural mental aspect are usually called "closers," as in they close the door and don't give any chances.)

    You can get pretty far on natural talent... but you're probably NOT going to win anything big without Work Ethic. The biggest example of using Work Ethic to bolster someone who wasn't as naturally talented at the most talents skaters would be Evan. Evan worked for everything he got. I may hate his skating, but no one can accuse him of being lazy. In the same vein, Johnny was SUPREMELY talented, yet we would hear of his "lackluster" discipline and training. However, when Johnny put the work in, he was great.

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    Johnny Weir was definitely naturally talented.

    Kristi Yamaguchi and Evan Lysacek come to mind as being ones that had to work for it a little bit more (at least in the beginning)...

    but I agree that all of the elite skaters are more naturally made for skating than the rest of us lol

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    Quote Originally Posted by zschultz1986 View Post
    Well, right out of the gate, let's reframe the question: "How far can you get on natural talent alone?" Because most everyone who wins a World or Olympic medal is naturally talented. The Work Ethic is the thing that will separate them (working on the Physical AND Mental aspect. For some, being trained and KNOWING they can do it given them that natural mental fortitude, while others need to work on mental aspects along with the physical training. THe people with the natural mental aspect are usually called "closers," as in they close the door and don't give any chances.)

    You can get pretty far on natural talent... but you're probably NOT going to win anything big without Work Ethic. The biggest example of using Work Ethic to bolster someone who wasn't as naturally talented at the most talents skaters would be Evan. Evan worked for everything he got. I may hate his skating, but no one can accuse him of being lazy. In the same vein, Johnny was SUPREMELY talented, yet we would hear of his "lackluster" discipline and training. However, when Johnny put the work in, he was great.
    Two good examples. I am not hugely wowed by Evan's skating, but I love that he gave it his all and didn't coast. I think Frank Carroll admired that aspect of him as well. Another example of a hard worker with maybe less natural pizzazz is Ashley Wagner. And Johnny is definitely the other kind of skater, with wonderful aspects that show up only (to quote the song) when the moon is in the seventh house, and Jupiter aligns with Mars. Wonderful to watch at those times.

    People who have both include both of the current top ice dance teams, I'd say (D/W and V/M), as well as YuNa, Mao (no one can fault her work ethic), Daisuke, and longtime favorites such as Michelle Kwan.

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    Having a healthy dose of natural talent is so important in any endeavor, but work ethic, above anything else, is what will take a person to greatness at whatever they do.

    It's interesting because every great champion we've ever seen clearly has a lot of natural talent, but the only skaters whose natural talent we seem to focus on are young ones, and ones that haven't fulfilled their potential. For the most part if a skater is a champion with longevity we seem to focus on their work ethic.

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    Quote Originally Posted by samson View Post
    Having a healthy dose of natural talent is so important in any endeavor, but work ethic, above anything else, is what will take a person to greatness at whatever they do.

    It's interesting because every great champion we've ever seen clearly has a lot of natural talent, but the only skaters whose natural talent we seem to focus on are young ones, and ones that haven't fulfilled their potential. For the most part if a skater is a champion with longevity we seem to focus on their work ethic.
    What a fascinating thing to say! I never considered that before, and I think you might have something there. Maybe it's because the ones we notice when they're young are the true sparklers, so of course what we see of them is how gifted they are. It's what makes them stand out. As we watch skaters progress, we come to admire their perseverance and steadiness. We know that there's a sense in which we can trust them to deliver and not let us (or themselves) down.

    Though of course in their best programs, we also see the magic that they bring to the feast. After all, wouldn't we be bored with them after five or ten years if they didn't have star quality?

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    Quote Originally Posted by samson View Post
    Having a healthy dose of natural talent is so important in any endeavor, but work ethic, above anything else, is what will take a person to greatness at whatever they do.

    It's interesting because every great champion we've ever seen clearly has a lot of natural talent, but the only skaters whose natural talent we seem to focus on are young ones, and ones that haven't fulfilled their potential. For the most part if a skater is a champion with longevity we seem to focus on their work ethic.
    Talent will get you noticed, but it's hard work that will get someone to--and keep them at--the top.

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    Quote Originally Posted by prettykeys View Post
    Talent will get you noticed, but it's hard work that will get someone to--and keep them at--the top.
    exactly. perfectly stated.

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    The most naturally talented ever, perhaps, and with a dreadful work ethic = Christopher Bowman. Another one with lots of talent but a weak work ethic was Nicole Bobek.

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    And then you have others like Jason Brown that are not only extremely talented but have a good work ethic.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wordsworthgirl View Post
    The most naturally talented ever, perhaps, and with a dreadful work ethic = Christopher Bowman. Another one with lots of talent but a weak work ethic was Nicole Bobek.
    Was Bowman that good technically?
    Bobek was gorgeous and charismatic, would have won at least 2 World titles.

    I think the most naturally gifted skater ever but with the worst work ethic is Tonya. OMG, her lutz jumps are out of this world. This girl could have dominated from 1993-1998 with the right mindset. After Midori retired, no one could/should beat a clean Tonya.

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    Brian Boitano is quoted as saying Bowman was one of the three best skaters ever. Dick Button said he should have been Olympic and World Champion. He trained only about 1/6th of the year and could still perform incredible jumps. His jumps were just astounding in their spring and gorgeous landings.

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    A few more who maximized their talent by sheer hard work and unbelievable dedication would be

    Todd Eldredge
    Rachael Flatt
    Evan Lysacek
    Tara Lipinski


    The Browning fans may hate me for saying this, but it's pretty clear now that Kurt had an inconsistent work ethic and that this may have played a role in his Olympic meltdowns. Sandra Bezic's interview on TSL was very instructive on this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wordsworthgirl View Post
    The Browning fans may hate me for saying this, but it's pretty clear now that Kurt had an inconsistent work ethic and that this may have played a role in his Olympic meltdowns. Sandra Bezic's interview on TSL was very instructive on this.
    I never knew enough to be aware of this, but it certainly sounds feasible. If so, I am sorry to hear it, because my goodness, in some ways he's been the greatest ever, and he could have had two OGMs. (I'll look for Sandra's interview; I forgot that part of her talk.) I do think, however, that Kurt has made up for it in his lengthy, innovative pro career and his decades-long devotion to skating.

    Going back to his competitive years, I think there was a difference in degree between his inconsistency and that of someone like Bowman. Kurt may not have worked himself into the ground like Todd or Evan, but he didn't just blithely throw it away like Chris, either. At that point in Kurt's career, I think he was a bit immature, but not outright self-destructive.

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    Quote Originally Posted by noskates View Post
    And then you have others like Jason Brown that are not only extremely talented but have a good work ethic.
    I think Brown is extremely talented. His level of musicality and showmanship cannot be taught.

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