Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Sports Gene: Inside the Science of Extraordinary Athletic Performance

My dad and his brother played professional baseball for the Dodgers. When they were younger, they and their parents were champion archers; my dad won the national archery title at age 12 before focusing on baseball and basketball.

My brother played college basketball and baseball. Another brother was a volleyball player. My sister and I are both naturally coordinated and athletic.

My 19-year-old son, who is 6’11” plays college basketball, and my 13-year-old niece, who is projected to be 5’10” (soccer, basketball, volleyball) and 11-year-old nephew, who is projected to be 6’5” (basketball, baseball, volleyball) are talented athletes.

So, with all this athleticism in our family, I’ve always been curious…is it nature or nurture? (SPOILER:  It’s both.) When I saw the title of this book, I had to read it. So glad I did. Simply fascinating.

My favorite chapter, because of my son’s height, was The Vitruvian NBA Player, and I found these stats interesting: 
  • “There are likely fewer than twenty thousand men between the ages of twenty and forty who are at least 6’8”.

  • Based on the Census Bureau, and the Centers for Disease Control’s National Center for Health Statistics, there is such a premium on extra height in the NBA that the probability of an American man between the ages of twenty and forty being a current NBA player rises nearly a full order of magnitude with every two-inch increase in height starting at six feet. For a man between six feet and 6’2”, the chance of his currently being in the NBA is five in a million. At 6’2” to 6’4”, that increases to twenty in a million.  For a man between 6’10” and seven feet tall, it rises to thirty-two thousand in a million, or 3.2 percent. 

  • Of American men ages twenty to forty who stand seven feet tall, a startling 17 percent of them are in the NBA right now. Find six honest seven-footers, and one will be in the NBA.”

 Eric, honey, make your momma some money, would ya?!

I would have given this book 5 stars, but there were a couple of chapters that didn’t hold my interest quite as much as the others.  Still, the book was so well written and the research unbelievably thorough. I recommend this to anyone who likes sports science.

RATING:  4.5 / 5 


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