Re: Ranking systems in different countries
The 10,000 hour thing is also a bit of an average. Someone who's really talented can "master" something in a shorter time, and some people never "master" something no matter how hard they work, for how long.
I know people who have won Olympic Gold in 7 years, the first 3 of which were in part-time training, the last four years were full-time training - three sessions a day 5 days a week, 2 sessions on the sixth, and one day off. As a coach, a person like that may come along once or twice in a coaching career. It just happened that three of them started training at different locations all in the same year (1985) and won two olympic golds each in 1992. Two of THEM switched disciplines in 1994 and won another gold in 1996 (and a Bronze). I had the honour of coaching one of these people for the first year and a half of her career, helping her learn effective skills early on. (Some believe, as I do, that the skills you learn earliest are the hardest to extinguish, and the more times you practice it the better you get at doing it - whether it's a "good" skill or a "bad" skill - you get very good at doing it..)
The (average) 10,000 hours of practice has to be "deliberate" practice, in which the person practicing has to be fully engaged in what he or she is doing. There has to be a purpose to the practice, rather than (say) putting in bulk mileage. If you're slogging away at something, it's not deliberate practice. If you're paying attention to what you're doing, what your training partner(s) is/are doing, and stay switched on, mentally, the 10,000 hours may be 9,000, or 8,000, or in rare occasions 6,000.