Myelin Growth in Young Shooters
October 25, 2023
Young shooters are easily excited with the rapid learning and skill-building they experience, but they will soon hit the proverbial wall where it takes more effort to move to higher and higher score plateaus. This is described in detail in several different sports in Daniel Coyle’s book “The Talent Code,” where he talks about the protein myelin that wraps neurological circuits. Through repetition, it heavily insulates these circuits, which turns them into lightning-fast skill circuits in our brains.
It seems that myelin growth is really rapid during young adolescent years – say between 15 to 20 years old. In studying this evolution, we need to understand that myelin is a living protein and wraps neural circuits every time the same circuit is fired. And when it is fired often enough, what started out as an overthought attempt at doing something turns into something that can be done at higher and higher levels with no thought. The myelination of the circuits in the brain is where skill is developed, and skill cannot be transferred from one to another; it must be built through repetition, failure, and correction. And there are no shortcuts.
If you can get your athlete to understand the one skill-building principle that you must fail to learn, they are on their way to becoming who they can be – not only in shooting, but in life itself.