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Practice makes perfect? Practice makes permanent? Probably.

Younger golfers winning major championships. Younger singers winning vocal contests. Younger chess players winning important matches. Younger piano players playing major venues.

A pattern? In the past it seemed it always took someone years of practice to become masterful at something later in life.

What’s different now? The same practice is beginning sooner, and the “later in life” might be rephrased as “later in their teens.”

We’re seeing an increase in the number of very skilled bid callers, at remarkably young ages. At one time, it was interesting to hear a talented 25-year-old bid caller. Today, we’re seeing and hearing very advanced bid calling from 15-year-olds, and even younger.

How can 15-year-olds sound like auctioneers who’ve been practicing for 10 or more years, bid calling 2-3 hours a day? Because they have been.

With the Internet, and the multitude of videos and multimedia available, a 5-year-old could very well be bid calling just as skillfully as an 15-year-old was 20 years ago.

Dr. Anders Ericsson has published on this subject, receiving some further attention in Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Outliers and Geoff Colvin’s book, Talent Is Overrated. What Ericsson proclaimed is that it takes 10,000 hours (20 hours for 50 weeks a year for ten years = 10,000) of deliberate practice to become an expert in almost anything.

While there is not a consensus that this theory holds, I find it valid in regard to bid calling. The 15-year-olds who sound like they have been practicing for years have been — just like those 25-year-olds did 20 years ago.

Further, as I watch and judge auctioneer bid calling contests around the United States, it appears clear that success directly corresponds to the amount of practice that auctioneer has completed. Do 20-year-olds best 50-year-olds in these contests? Years ago? Almost never. Today? Much more frequently.

Want to be a great bid caller? No time like the present to start practicing. Yet, if you are only now beginning to practice your bid calling later in life, don’t be surprised if many men and women half your age have been practicing their bid calling for nearly their entire lives.

Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, CAI, AARE has been an auctioneer and certified appraiser for over 30 years. His company’s auctions are located at: Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, Keller Williams Auctions and Goodwill Columbus Car Auction. His Facebook page is: www.facebook.com/mbauctioneer. He serves as Adjunct Faculty at Columbus State Community College and is Executive Director of The Ohio Auction School.