A recent study out of Britain suggests that genetics are an important factor in determining who will be champ. Designing the ultimate training program is not enough. This is from the abstract of the study by Ross Tucker and Malcolm Collins, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine:
“The authors conclude that although deliberate training and other environmental factors are critical for elite performance, they cannot by themselves produce an elite athlete. Rather, individual performance thresholds are determined by our genetic make-up, and training can be defined as the process by which genetic potential is realised. Although the specific details are currently unknown, the current scientific literature clearly indicates that both nurture and nature are involved in determining elite athletic performance. In conclusion, elite sporting performance is the result of the interaction between genetic and training factors, with the result that both talent identification and management systems to facilitate optimal training are crucial to sporting success.”
The authors also seem to be suggesting that training practices and volumes might have to be tailored to one’s genetic make-up and potential — which challenges many existing practices featuring standardized training regimens across elite groups.
This is from their conclusion:
“However, future work is required to elucidate the biological processes that may be associated with these potential differences. In conclusion, elite sporting performance is the result of the interaction between genetic and training factors, with the result that both talent identification and management systems to facilitate optimal training are crucial to sporting success. The traditional methods used by coaches for talent identification should be used before any genetic testing, because performance is multifactorial and therefore there is always the possibility that the genetic profile, no matter how detailed, may miss a crucial DNA variant or non-genetic factor that enhances performance.”