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How to Win

Life is a Skill Game

“Even in such technical lines as engineering, about 15% of one’s financial success is due one’s technical knowledge and about 85% is due to skill in human engineering, to personality and the ability to lead people.” — Dale Carnegie 

How much of life is skill and how much is something else?

It’s an important question for everyone, because skill is something you can acquire and develop to a high degree, whereas size, strength and speed can be developed only to a point.

Yesterday the question was put to Monique Riddick, a sophomore at Montclair State University in New Jersey. Riddick, however, is no ordinary sophomore. She recently won the national shotput championship for the second year in a row.

How much is skill and how much is power?

“Eighty-five percent is skill,” Riddick said, sitting in a classroom with her coach, Aubrey Lewis Jr., and teammate Will Brown, who himself won a national championship — in the hurdles.

Lewis chimed in with his opinion of the skill/power question in shotput.

“Eighty percent is skill,” he said.

What great news for everyone!

The shotput weighs 8.9 pounds. It would seem to take an enormous amount of power to throw it even a couple of feet, much less the 47 feet, 2 1/2 inches that Riddicxk did. Yet both she and her coach say that skill accounts for no less than 80 percent of her success.

If throwing a shot is mostly skill, then its hard to imagine a sport that isn’t based in skill.

Baseball, football, hockey, basketball, lacrosse, soccer, they all are skill games. And people can ACQUIRE skill. The book “Talent is Overrated” details how Jerry Rice, not a particularly fast runner, became the greatest wide receiver in football history. How? Because football is a game of skill!

Life itself is a game of skill.

Coach Tully’s Extra Point: Coach Lewis’ father, Aubrey Lewis Sr., was not only a legendary football player at Notre Dame, but also became the first African-American FBI agent.


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