"'He's talking about developing the concept of tennis mastery,' Chu tells the other three. They're on the floor indian-style, Wayne standing with his back against the door, rotating his head to stretch the neck. 'His point is that progress towards genuine Show-caliber mastery is slow, frustrating. Humbling. A question of less talent than temperament.'
'Is this right Mr. Wayne?'
Chu says '…that because you proceed toward mastery through a series of plateaus, so there's like radical improvement up to a certain plateau and then what looks like a stall, on the plateau, with the only way to get off one of the plateaus and climb up to the next one up ahead is with a whole lot of frustrating mindless repetitive practice and patience and hanging in there.'
'Plateaux,' Wayne says, looking at the celing and pushing the back of his head isometrically against the door. 'With an X. Plateaux.'
The inactive viewer's screen is the color of way out over the Atlantic looking straight down on a cold day. Chu's cross-legged posture is textbook. 'What John's saying is the types who don't hang in there and slog on the patient road toward mastery are basically three. Types. You've got what he calls your Despairing type, who's fine as long as he's in the quick-improvement stage before a plateau, but then he hits a plateau and sees himself seem to stall, not getting better as fast or even seeming to get a little worse, and this type gives in to frustration and despair, because he hasn't got the humbleness and patience to hang in there and slog, and he can't stand the time he has to put in on plateaux, and what happens?'
'Germonimo!' the other kids yell, not quite in sync.
'He bails, right,' Chu says. He refers to index cards. Wayne's head makes the door rattle slightly. Chu says, 'Then you've got your Obsessive type, J.W. says, so eager to plateau-hop he doesn't even know the word patient, much less humble or slog, when he gets stalled at a plateau he tries to like will and force himself off it, by sheer force of work and drill and will and practice, drilling and obsessively honing aPost too long. Click here to view the full text.