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The Sport Psych Show

Dec 5, 2022

This week I’m delighted to speak to Prof Joe Baker. Joe is the Head of the Lifespan Performance Laboratory in the School of Kinesiology and Health Science, at York University, Canada. Previously Joe has held visiting researcher/professor positions in the Carnegie Research Institute at Leeds Metropolitan University UK, Victoria University, Australia, the Australian Institute of Sport and the Institute of Sport Science at Westflische Wilhelms-Universitat Münster in Germany.

Joe’s research focuses on optimal human development, largely to understand how someone gets to, and stays at, the highest levels of performance. His previous research in this area has considered various psychosocial and environmental factors influencing athletic skill development across a range of sports.

Joe is the Past President of the Canadian Society for Psychomotor Learning and Sport Psychology and the author/editor of 5 journal special issues and more than 300 peer reviewed articles, commentaries, position statements and 14 books. And it’s his latest book ‘The Tyranny of Talent: How it compels and limits athletic achievement… and why you should ignore it’ that is the topic of this podcast.

The book explores the elements that affect people's likelihood of success, starting with a thorough discussion of what 'talent' is, why both nature and nurture are critical factors, and why this distinction no longer matters. For many coaches, parents, and athletes, misunderstandings about ‘talent’ continue to constrain how they think about their long-term development and achievement.