Nature vs Nurture
Posted 13-08-2008 at 10:52 PM by RCVoice
Nature vs Nurture
I’d had an easy couple of blog entries over the past month or so, with the timing of the European Championships providing blogs that wrote themselves. But last week I began pondering what the next instalment might be, and which area of RC car racing could be covered next- fortunately the answer came via that most valuable educational and entertainment resource, the TV.
On one of the nights last week, I forget which day it actually was, a fascinating (well I thought it was anyway and for this blogs sake I hope you do too!) programme dedicated to the extremely talented and gorgeous Vanessa Mae was shown on the BBC. Now for those of you who may not know Miss Mae, she is a violinist, perhaps the world’s most famous, who has performed on all the biggest stages and TV shows, regarded as a performer who is controversial and who has broken down the boundaries of classical music to merge it with other genres, playing electric violin and wearing clothes not found amongst the string section in an orchestra.
Anyway, the purpose of the programme was that Vanessa Mae was attempting to identify whether her talent was something natural or whether indeed it came about solely via her immense levels of practice or the opportunities provided for her by her mother. She called on the assistance of professors and other music professionals to try and give her some insight into which was more powerful in terms of talent, nature or nurture.
So I got to thinking, and I don’t know an answer to this and will never research it to the depths that Mae did, in terms of being a successful model car racer, what is more significant- nature or nurture? I would welcome you each to offer your opinions on this as I really am no expert in this field, but I will offer you my views anyway.
I suppose firstly you must ask what is necessary to be successful at RC racing. What are those basic traits that must be present for success and is it possible to identify which of those can be classed as natural and which can only be defined as more nurtured and honed. This is going to be tough, and you may well disagree, so as said, feel free to offer your views in the comments section. Let me begin by offering what I feel is the case for nature...
1. Good co-ordination. Let’s face it, you have to have it... your left and right thumb or your trigger finger and wrist must work in harmony if you are going to be able to maintain a good and accurate control of an RC vehicle. This I think is fair to class as a natural possession, certain people are just naturally better co-ordinated than others and if you are not well co-ordinated, driving an RC car can be a real tough slog.
2. Competitive Instinct. This is racing, if you’re going to get to the top you have to beat people (not physically, however tempting that might be) but you must be willing to be better than everyone else to get to the top. Certainly some people are naturally more competitive than others, and surely it is those who are more competitive who are more successful than those who just go out there to have a good time? My personal view is that becoming competitive minded is not really something that can be gained, it has to come naturally.
3. Good concentration under pressure. This is something that can be honed I would guess, with experience of pressured situations comes different levels of calmness but if you are unable to keep your cool and concentrate when it is most needed then your success will be limited. Having good concentration and focus are what I would class as natural values.
I’m struggling, you can tell that I would guess, categorising these considered necessary traits is quite difficult, let’s consider nurture...
1. Good race craft. By race craft what I refer to is knowing when to push, when to conserve. Knowing when to attempt an overtake and when to hold back. This is something that you can only really gain via competition and experience of being in such a situation where you need to make such a decision. It is more something that is learned rather than being natural.
2. Good technical knowledge. A tricky one this, what I refer to is that the driver, or his mechanic must have some form of knowledge of car tuning or maintenance in order to be successful (to finish 1st, 1st you have to finish and all that) and this is something gained over time. You can’t naturally know how to rebuild a diff successfully and little set up tweaks without some form of education either academic or just via racing experience. Though I do recognise that some people are just naturally more technically minded than others, like I said, tricky one this.
3. Competitive, reliable equipment. Yes, yes I know, “it’s all about the driver...” we’ve all heard it, but remember what Associated told us, “It takes a CAR and a driver to win a world championship”. It doesn’t matter how good you are, if you don’t have the gear you won’t achieve big things. How many people have won races when they’ve dumped after 3 minutes? How many people have won races with a tyco? You see my point... and having good gear, via sponsorship or via a healthy bank balance is achieved through nurture.
I’ve offered just six values there, and divided them equally between the 2 “n” categories. I know you can probably reel off more than just these 6, but what I have attempted to illustrate here is that it is ultimately an equal combination of nature and nurture which leads to success and advances talent, yes talent is possibly most important and is defined as a natural value but without the additional nurtured factors present as highlighted above, talent simply isn’t enough.
You can apply this to all sports, maybe the Olympics will present more fuel to this debate, the British team is going into the games as one of the best funded groups there, but will other more naturally gifted athletes prevail even if from the smallest countries. Who knows.
My view, which is similar to the view determined by Mae, is that it is impossible to determine which is more vital, if it was all natural, why would the successful racers in the sport be the ones who stick at it the longest, and why was the term “practice makes perfect” coined rather than “don’t bother practicing it’s all natural”?
If it was all nurture, why can Neil Cragg win a worlds with a B4 whilst some can’t win a Thursday night club race with the same chassis? As stated, I am no expert on this and welcome your views on this matter, but when you think of it in those terms, it shows why a clear conclusion doesn’t come naturally... or ‘nurterdly!’
‘til the start tone sounds...
Total Comments 16
Posted 13-08-2008 at 11:23 PM by bigred5765
Posted 14-08-2008 at 12:01 PM by c0sie
Posted 15-08-2008 at 09:05 AM by "JQ"
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