THE MAIL

August 12, 2013

David Epstein's story was an amazingly detailed and enlightening piece of sports science and research on what separates elite athletes from regular people, the intricacies of raw talent versus practice, and the overall workings of the human mind and body. Reading this article kept me up way past my normal bedtime, and I now see sports with a much different eye.

Guillaume Rivard, Saint-Nicolas, Quebec

Nature and Nurture

Regarding the excerpt from The Sports Gene, there's no question that the best athletes, musicians and chess players have all logged thousands of hours of intense practice. But their motivation to practice is fueled by early success and the praise that comes with doing something well. It's an error of logic to assume that because high achievers practice more, it's practice that makes them high achievers.

Doug Hughes, Storrs, Conn.

Accomplished musicians also are able to "chunk" passages of music rather than reading individual notes, as do the athletes and chess masters referenced in the article. At that time the mental and physical muscle memory takes over. I intend to highlight the 10,000-hour rule for my students and hang a copy of the article outside my office.

Earl Packard, Alfred, N.Y.

Bragging Rights

While I agree with Steve Rushin's point that people use social media as a platform for vanity (POINT AFTER), he was off base to group Muhammad Ali with Jose Canseco and Terrell Owens. Ali was proud and arrogant, sure, but I believe that much of his showmanship was to make a point: An African-American man in 1960s America didn't have to practice humility to please white society. Also, his boasting was backed up by amazing performances in the ring.

Aaron McKrell, Michigan City, Ind.

Bro Knows Football

I saw the cover photo of Richard Sherman and thought, Another one of those articles about a preening, loudmouthed egomaniac who plays in a league that already has way too many of them (Warning: Don't Take the Bait). Then I read the article and learned something about myself: Don't be so quick to judge.

Patrick Caulfield, Rockville, Md.

Sherman wrote, "I'm not sure what else I can do to prove I'm the top corner in the game, but once you're branded as a fifth-round pick, that sticks." I wonder if sixth-round pick Tom Brady and his three Super Bowl rings have an opinion on what else Sherman can do.

Andrew Tauson, Upton, Mass.

Leaning for Lefty

Take one of the best final rounds in a major in the last few years. Add in the drama of a leader board that had plenty of big names. Don't forget a course (Muirfield) that provided a majestic backdrop for the world's oldest golf championship. Add it all up and ... British Open champion Phil Mickelson doesn't get a cover?

Joe Andrews, Evergreen, Ala.

It's a Sign of the Apocalypse that Richard Sherman is on the cover and not Phil Mickelson.

Terry E. Lumsden Tacoma, Wash.

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SOCIAL MEDIA

Which team can beat AJ McCarron and Alabama?

Brian Williams LSU could beat 'em in Tuscaloosa on Nov. 9, or Georgia if the two teams meet again in the SEC title game.

John Ferguson Ohio State is the only non-SEC team that has a shot. The Buckeyes have the athletes, the talent and the coach.

Dan Hastings Florida. The Gators have the only defense in America the Tide can't push around.

Robert Bruton The only team that can beat Bama is Bama.

TWEET OF THE WEEK

I ain't perfect, I ain't insane but I AM worth it ... if there's one thing I am worth it. People keep hatin but it ain't WORKIN!

Johnny Manziel (@JManziel2)

PHOTOROBERT BECK/SPORTS ILLUSTRATED PHOTOAL TIELEMANS/SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (MCCARRON) PHOTO FIVE ILLUSTRATIONS

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)