The Talent Code Trailer – 4 min

Get the Flash Player to see the wordTube Media Player.

Doing this video was fun and memorable and kind of odd.  We shot it in the Homer Public Library and at Bishop’s Beach, about a mile from my house. 

So yes, those are icebergs behind me. (It was early March in Alaska – though I should also point out that there were a few surfers catching waves just out of the camera’s view.)

And yes, I nearly shattered our new library’s expensive windows when I hit that golf ball. I didn’t mean to hit it. The idea was to take a half swing and later add in a sound effect as if I’d hit it. But as you can see, things didn’t quite work out that way.

How long did it take to learn the trick? About three months, practicing a few minutes a day. One day my daughter walked in while I was practicing in my office over the garage. She watched intently for a few seconds. Then she asked,“So is that what you do up here every day?”

Thanks to George Overpeck, who did the filming, editing, and production, to John Whittier, who helped with technical matters, and to Scott Dickerson, who helped figure out the concept. Also to librarian Teresa Sundmark, who was really nice even when there were golf balls zinging past her ear.

Rate This

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (17 votes, average: 4.94 out of 5)

Share This

Bookmark and Share

36 Responses to “Videos”

  1. Betty Dechert says:

    Hi Dan
    Good luck on the book – it sounds like a winner! And welcome (soon) to NE Ohio. Hope we get to see you and Jen and family while you are here.

    Betty and Doug Dechert

  2. Joe Pahl says:


    Very cool. Hope to see you in OH soon.


  3. Thillai Natarajan says:

    Ya, it was a long been argument about Genius made or born ?
    There is a book by Howe “Genius Explained” which talks about
    practices makes genius.
    Quite interesting and interested to read Daniel Coyle’s book.

  4. […] more rapid growth than we normally expect and that forms one part of his genius model. Go to to hear Coyle make his point. This is worth watching all the way through to see Coyle mimic Tiger […]

  5. Adrian Compton says:

    A fascinating reading. Well research and well written, I throughly enjoyed this book, I highly recommend it.

  6. Ruth Howard says:

    Im intending to read your book that was helpful I sped past the bit about slooowing things down…!

  7. Your incredible book has helped us quantify what we have been observing with our newly developed Focus Band. The majority of coaches I have worked with now own The Talent Code

  8. Tony Spamoni says:

    You are spot on.

    Another book worth a look: Bounce; Mozart, Federer, Picasso, Beckham and the Science of Success. By Mathew Syed

  9. Jim Galloway says:

    This book is the summer reading assignment at my son’s high school. If you’re smart, you’ll make it your own required reading!

  10. Tom Martiné says:

    As a teaching pro in tennis for 35 years, I frequently coached people to make changes in technique. I tried all the generally accepted ways of facilitating change about a particular part of a stroke. Sometimes I would be working with someone who was just unable to make a change. He/she just could not make a change while striking a ball. Early on I tripped over a technique that proved remarkably useful. After exhausting every way I could to try to effect change, I would simply tell the student that, in fact, they were starting to do it. I was lying through my teeth, but telling the student that they were beginning to make the change (even though they weren’t) seemed to work. Somehow the student would then begin to make the change only after I had told him that he was already doing it. I cannot explain it, but it worked countless times over the years. I’m sure some psychologists could explain it to me.

    p.s. loved your book and shared copies with my daughter’s volleyball coach and several tennis/golf buddies, and even a parent of a gifted(?) Chicago Youth Orchestra musician.

  11. djcoyle says:

    Hey Tom,
    That is amazing. I have to confess, I’ve never heard of anything quite like it. It would seem to violate most rules of teaching — after all, how could they get better if you were giving them the Exact Wrong Reinforcement — telling them they were doing it right when in fact they weren’t.
    But here’s another way to think about it. Taking a lesson — esp a private lesson — is an intense emotional experience. You desperately want to please the teacher — you don’t want to screw up. And when you screw up, you get tighter and tighter –and the clock is ticking, the lesson will be over soon, every second counts– pretty soon you can’t do anything.
    What if we think of your “false feedback” as a kind of pressure release valve — you’re allowing them to (finally) relax and focus not on the emotional reality (I’M SCREWING UP, DAMMIT!) and on the physical — and that allows them to perform.
    What do you think? Does “false feedback” ever work in other conditions?
    Thanks again for the great comment.

  12. paul says:


  13. djcoyle says:

    Very cool, Paul — thanks very much!

  14. roger says:

    I have made your book mandatory reader for all our coaches and athletes.
    This book really opened my eyes what is I am doing with our junior athletic development programs as well as give our adult athletes better understanding of why it may be difficult to change habits.
    Would enjoy speaking with you personally.

  15. Kirk Mango says:


    I sent you an email personally this morning and would like to talk with you further.

    I have to say that I went through an experience as an athlete that supports all that you suggest. The impossible is achievable with practice, but only with the right kind of practice. Too many athletes, people, go through the motions mindlessly and then wonder why they can’t seem to improve or gain excellence. Focus is minimal, or nonexistent, and the only choice they seem to have is to accept the idea that they can’t because they are not talented enough.

    Funny how self-fulfilling prophecies come true.

    I believe in what you support as the means by which talent is not set in stone but a flexible commodity that adapts to the proper efforts when applied consistently over time. Potential is, pretty much, limitless, however, the belief system that that is true must be in place for it to be so. Nothing is better at teaching a person this fact than a personal experience centering on an impossible task.

    Great work!!!

  16. Daniel,

    Thank you for writing such an interesting and groundbreaking book!

    When is the sequel coming?

    All the best,


  17. djcoyle says:

    Funny you should ask. I’m working on something now — it’s early, but I’d like to deliver it to the publisher in about six months. Fingers crossed…

  18. Started reading your book this morning. I’m excited to apply it to my golf swing, as well as life in general.

  19. Lee says:

    Another talent hotbed that could possibly be investigated. The city of Glasgow in Scotland has produced more head coaches currently working in the English Premier League than the whole of England. The great Sir Alex Ferguson heading that list

  20. djcoyle says:

    Thanks, Lee — the coaching hotbeds are the most interesting ones, I think, given the leverage when it comes to creating talent. There’s a similarly concentrated group in Ohio (about half the NFL coaches, it seems, along with a lot of top college coaches. Hmmmmm.

  21. Steve says:

    Works best on kids who can grow into a skill, whether it be athletic, musical or even academic. Adults with matured bodies must apply a massive amount of effort to “grow” myelin. Adults usually cannot make the commitment because their mature, finalized brains resist change. Devoting 10,000 hours works if you start as a child. If you start as an adult you can easily double it and it’s still doubtful if you can achieve that same level as starting from childhood.

  22. Prasoum says:

    Thanks Dan for writing a great book..I am in the middle of reading it but have question for you. How this new fact can help me in guiding my twins to a better career. Would you suggest adopting “Tiger Mom” like strategy for developing a kid.
    The second question: How a 43yrs old can take advantage of this. We “old” folks already missed the window as per your comments. But can we do something about it. Do you have any suggestion from your studies for late starters in life.


  23. Robert says:

    Deep practice works as well as an adult as a kid.
    brains dont resist change, people do.

  24. Mike says:


    Interesting article people. Directly related to skill acquisition and touches on circuit development.


  25. Aarjit says:

    I’ve just started reading the book and so far it’s simply fascinating to see the amount of research Dan has done to write this book. The art of growing talent as Dan has described is astounding, indeed. Moreover, it’s his style of writing that makes this incredible book fun to read. I’ve enjoyed every single line, every single paragraph and every single description in it.
    I look forward to complete the book by the end of the day!
    It’s simply amazing!

  26. […] Any successful athlete will tell you that having any amount of athleticism is only a small piece of the complicated puzzle to athletic success, no matter what level one is seeking to reach. In fact, there is some evidence out there that suggests one’s talent is something that can actually be developed. You don’t have to take my word for it, check this site out regarding the book the Talent Code. […]

  27. Hi Daniel,

    Thank you for writing such an amazing book!

    I was put onto your work after reading Matthew Syed’s ‘Bounce’ and I have to say that it was fabulous to soak up all the wonderful details, elements and stories that your research uncovered.

    Thank you again for creating such an excellent learning resource.


    Kevin Matthews
    Producer of the Maximise Potential Podcast

  28. Terje Lund says:

    Thank you for a very igniting book – a must-read for parents and grandparents. A very enjoying and illuminating book! I will buy a lot and distribute to the people I care for.

  29. Eric Kramer says:

    Thanks for the book. I heard of the talent code 14 months ago. As a swim coach of 33 year, I had been seeking something new to teach our complicated sport. Well… I started applying the basic concepts. In 12 months, our swimmers swam 30% less mileage but gained in technique. We had the best year ever. This past September, the skills are so much better and the quality is incredible. The kids are stronger and very efficient. Other Clubs have noticed. Thank-You

  30. djcoyle says:

    Hey Eric, Congratulations, and thanks very much for getting in touch. That makes my day. Okay, my week! I’m working on a followup project, and am curious as to what worked best for you. My email is if you’re up for a quick chat. Best, Dan

  31. Once I’d come across the 10,000 hours idea, a lot of what I had experienced as a music teacher made sense. I’d seen beginners who seemed to have natural abilities ultimately fail and other who were all fingers and thumbs flourish. On going back to ask them about their practice regimes, it always came down to practice works, and trying to use my lessons as some sort of weekly nag, didn’t. I was absolutely amazed at how fast a student, who decided to do three hours a day practice, advanced! And the slow paced learning is something I’ve come across in so many writings and my own experience. Thta is all about training the fingers to only make the right moves and never getting it wrong. So keep slowing down until you are palyong so slowly you only play correctly – even if that means you are only playing a note per second. Getting it right then becomes easy and over a week or two speeding it up comes naturally.

    BTW trying to get good at your golf trick would probably involve starting with a huge club head and a bigger ball – there is an intrinsic problem with trying to get gravity to operate at 1/10th speed at the beginning of learning the trick slowly!

  32. paul says:

    Very interesting! As a student of the martial arts, I have found over the years that the trick to mastery lies in getting the training done in the right order. Thus…precise (slow) control first, then power, then speed. I have also found that thinking about training beforehand, especially visualization, makes for a massive improvement (could this be why prep school pupils go on to all the good jobs? And if so, why isn’t the prep method of pupils having a stab at studying the lesson themselves BEFORE the lesson used more in state education?)
    Also, re focus. If the brain can be thought of as a battery of sorts, with a total available voltage, and the process of thinking as controlling the path of neural signals, wouldn’t that mean that focus, or the exclusion of extraneous thoughts, causes more voltage to be channeled down a neural pathway, resulting in more stimulation of the oligodendrocyte cells? Or doesn’t it work that way?

  33. Jackie Wagner says:

    Well it definitely caught my attention. Being a coach and teacher i am constantly looking for different ways to introduce or get across a certain point or skill. Can’t wait to read the book.

  34. Bing Bingham says:

    Dan, thank you for including me in the mailing. As a tennis coach and English teacher I’m always looking for ways to better connect with my students and players. I’ll pick up the book. Good Stuff!

  35. […] Pilates teaches us how to move our bodies properly through repetition of slow and well thought out movements, which is different than moving slowly. Pilates works the body through a system of trail and error so the different exercises can build on themselves to literally transform the body and the mind. To become good at anything we must make mistakes, that is how we become better. Making mistakes in your Pilates Lesson and fitness are good because this is how the muscle increase with strength and develop a faster communication network. The new patterns of movement learned at Pilates help people become increasingly more coordinated with a stronger mind and body communication. Next time your Pilates instruction is frustrating because you feel like you are not getting any of the exercises right,  remember that you are actually priming the body and becoming a better exerciser. […]

  36. steve dixon says:

    what is the name of the vermont ski academy talked about in the talent code?

Comment On This