Occassional thoughts about orienteering

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Some idle speculation


I read about a psychology study where the researchers compared two groups of students. One group was praised for putting in a good effort. The other was praised for being smart. Basically, one group was focused on process and one on outcome. The researchers then gave the groups two other exercises to pick from. One exercise was more challenging and had the potential to push the students. It turned out that the group praised for effort was more likely to pick the more challenging task in the second round. The group praised for being smart was more likely to pick the easier task.

What might this have to do with orienteering? Well, it might be interesting to compare runners who are praised for having "talent" with runners who are praised for "training hard." See which group eventually performed better.

One possibility - if the research described above holds - is that the group praised for being talented might be more likely to race against weaker competition, where they could get good places even if they didn't perform as well. The group praised for training hard might test themselves against tougher competition. It is easy to speculate, but hard to know what would actually happen.

*Unfortunately, I can't remember where I read about the experiment. I can't provide a reference. If I come across it, I'll try to post some more info.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 7:29 PM


I think it's relevent to orienteering in that there are many juniors who do really well without much effort, but they don't tend to continue to do well as seniors and often quit (after school or jwoc). Those juniors who maybe didn't do so well, but had to train hard for their results learn good training habits that pay off later. as a senior it doesn't matter how talented you are, you have to train really hard if you want to get anywhere.
Not so much a response to what people tell them, but more their own direct experience.
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