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Aug 8, 2010

Manti Te’o and the 10,000-Hour Rule

Bob Diaco is a thinking man’s defensive coordinator. When describing Manti Te’o on Friday, he told ISD’s Lorenzo Reyes that “some would say there’s a mathematic equation to how much work and hours go into reaching particular slots of achievement.”

I don’t know if Diaco reads Malcolm Gladwell, whose book Outliers: The Story of Success terms this idea the “10,000-Hour Rule.” Like Gladwell, Diaco later used the Beatles as an example.

Diaco, who majored in sociology, loves to reference all sorts of stuff during interviews. Who could forget the St. Thomas Aquinas homage this spring? The Beatles example, though, makes it seem reasonable that Diaco is up on his Outliers, which isn’t a bad thing. It’s a great book, and what ND fan wouldn’t want our coaches to know about The Story of Success?

According to this theory, Bill Gates and others reached super success by putting in 10,000 hours in an area of interest. It doesn’t necessarily apply smoothly to a sport so dependent on innate physical ability when most major college peers are putting in similar hours.

Nonetheless, Manti and teammates log 20 hours each week in the fall and 8 in the spring, not to mention voluntary time throughout the year. But he’s been playing football a long time, based on an early photo that ISD ran in a May 2009 Christian McCollum story that’s no longer available. 10,000 hours is roughly 20 hours per week for a decade, meaning that it would be very tough for a college sophomore to reach that total without unusually rigorous pre-high school football training. But that’s not the point.

Even without 10,000 or a specific hour count, experience will help Te’o fill many ‘slots of achievement’ this season. As Diaco knows, practice quality and quantity this August is key to make the defense a success story worth writing about in the future.


  1. Good catch - I thought he was referencing that book but I've never read it so I wasn't sure.

    And I think Diaco is right, with regard to Te'o anyway. Being a Mormon certainly doesn't hurt his efforts to hit slots of achievement. At university I knew many college athletes who would have been much better were it not for their affinity to partying and the loudmouth sauce, myself included. Te'o doesn't have hangovers taking up his time if he is a practicing Mormon, and it seems from an ISD article (http://www.irishsportsdaily.com/blogs/christians-blog/2918-teo-says-hes-staying) I read the other day that he is indeed practicing. It's exciting to have somebody with so much focus on their goal on the Irish side. Same could be said for the coaching staff.

  2. Good point, Danno. I think the key word to all this is "focus." The vibe I am getting on campus so far is that coaches have players on lock and everyone is focused in on improving every day so they can hit the ground running during camp and not look back. There seems to be a new energy, drive, and "FIGHT" in the Irish this year...


2012 Notre Dame Football Schedule

2012 Notre Dame Football Schedule
DateOpponent / EventLocationTime / Result
09/01/12vs. Navy Dublin, IrelandW, 50-10
09/08/12vs. PurdontNotre Dame, Ind.W, 20-17
09/15/12at SpartyEast Lansing, Mich.W, 20-3
09/22/12vs. SkunkbearsNotre Dame, Ind.W, 13-6
Shamrock Series
10/06/12vs. Da UChicago, Ill.W, 41-3
10/13/12vs. TreesNotre Dame, Ind.W, 20-13 (OT)
10/20/12vs. BYU Notre Dame, Ind.W, 17-14
10/27/12at Oklahoma Norman, Okla.W, 30-13
11/03/12vs. Pittsburgh Notre Dame, Ind.W, 29-26 (3OT)
11/10/12at Backup College Chestnut Hill, Mass.W, 21-6
11/17/12vs. Fake Worest Notre Dame, Ind.W, 38-0
11/24/12at U$C Los Angeles, Calif.W, 22-13
1/7/13vs. AlabamaBCS CHAMPIONSHIP
(Miami, Florida)
L, :(