Is there such a thing as natural talent? Some say yes, I do not think there is?

dquarasr

Registered
Another couple of data points on "natural talent":

1) the music student who has "perfect pitch". Frank Sinatra had it. It is the ability to hear a note, and completely out of context, say "that's A" or "that's C". Related are people (such as myself) who have very keen relative pitch sensing, while we cannot "name" a note, we can indeed discern that a particular note is sharp or flat compared to another note (like, someone in the band playing off-key). I'm sure all of us here know someone who cannot carry a tune to save their life.

Also, I have a very good palette, both oral and olfactory. Once I smelled a packet of mulling spices and I was able to identify 11 of the 20 spices and herbs in the package. My wife could not identify more than three. I have a very good nose and tongue for tasting wine. If I had the ambition, I bet I'd be a very good sommelier.

2) I've instructed well over 100 students at High Performance Driver Education (HPDE) track days, where I'd ride right seat with helmet-to-helmet communications, teaching people how to drive their sports cars on a road race course. I've instructed students with incredibly widely diverse "natural talent".

My worst student was a young lady who was only there because her boyfriend wanted to be there, and she wanted to learn with him. She was nervous, totally flummoxed by the speed, traffic, and sensory overload, having to keep track of her own speed, cars around her, the sensory input from the car (steering and brake pedal feedback, etc.), and learning "the line". It was WAY over her head to process all at once. The only reason we were able to get her reasonably safe out there with other students was because I suggested to the chief instructor that we do a "lead/follow" session showing her the line. She did not get it when she rode with me, nor in any description from the right seat I provided her on where to be on the track.

In stark contrast, my best student was a 747 pilot. Because he showed up with an NSX, and I own one and have tracked it, he was assigned to me. He was relaxed, receptive, and an absolute sponge. Anything I suggested, he was able to internalize and apply seamlessly. He got fast *really quickly*, and learned better and faster, by far, than any other student I had ever instructed. There is a book and movie called "The Right Stuff" that describes people with certain natural "right stuff" talent.

I like to think that in my own history, I took to track driving very quickly. It probably wouldn't happen these days due to current litigation and conservative policies, but I was signed off to drive solo in my first ever track day.

Yes, Virginia, there are people who have natural talent. Based on my instructional experience, there were students who ran the gamut, from totally intimidated, to relaxed and stunningly able to absorb and apply technique.

Pool may be less of a dramatic endeavor than something that can kill you when gotten wrong (I was in an NSX with a 16-year-old student; we crashed at the FIRST braking zone of the FIRST lap of the FIRST hot session of the day), but I'm sure my experience instructing drivers applies to learning pool.
 
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Tin Man

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
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Can someone be talented at life? Like life just comes way easier to that person because they are talented?

I mean, maybe they are talented at basketball, but not at reading. Or maybe they are talented at math but not in art. There are many ways to live a good life, and most of it is attitude, humility, and appreciation.

Pool is such a diverse game. Can a guy be a talented striker but not do well in front of a crowd? Can someone have a super big stroke but have a lot of demons that make it hard to deliver? Can someone jump super well but not kick worth a damn?

If we were measuring just one very, very specific skill I could see talking about talent. Like if pool was just a break speed contest, maybe it might matter. But there are so many different skills that I don't think it matters if you are talented at a few of them or not, what matters is finding what you are talented at, shoring up your weaknesses, and putting together a package that is effective.
 

bbb

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
Tin man I could be wrong so you can correct me but I think that you and some of the posters are actually speaking two languages or comparing apples and oranges
And here is why I say that
if I understand you correctly your premises that whatever God-given skills you’re given your ultimate results will be based on how hard you work at it
In other words perseverance and dedication will or can overcome natural talent or God-given skills
What I think many posters here are saying is there are certain people where skills come to them much easier than others because of God given natural talent
When you blend the two concepts that yes certain people have natural ability which allows them to perform certain tasks more easily than others can
combine that with perseverance and dedication you can make A champion
Jmho
Icbw
 
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Zerksies

Active member
Their is such a thing as natural talent, but not everyone of them becomes world class. Talents can only gets you so far, knowledge needs to be attained.

I once knew a player that could literally pocket anything. He had the shittiest looking fundamentals know to man. Getting shape for this guy was disgusting. If this guy learned cue ball control. He could of possibly be in the 700+ range.
 

straightline

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Another couple of data points on "natural talent":

1) the music student who has "perfect pitch". Frank Sinatra had it. It is the ability to hear a note, and completely out of context, say "that's A" or "that's C". Related are people (such as myself) who have very keen relative pitch sensing, while we cannot "name" a note, we can indeed discern that a particular note is sharp or flat compared to another note (like, someone in the band playing off-key). I'm sure all of us here know someone who cannot carry a tune to save their life.

Also, I have a very good palette, both oral and olfactory. Once I smelled a packet of mulling spices and I was able to identify 11 of the 20 spices and herbs in the package. My wife could not identify more than three. I have a very good nose and tongue for tasting wine. If I had the ambition, I bet I'd be a very good sommelier.

2) I've instructed well over 100 students at High Performance Driver Education (HPDE) track days, where I'd ride right seat with helmet-to-helmet communications, teaching people how to drive their sports cars on a road race course. I've instructed students with incredibly widely diverse "natural talent".

My worst student was a young lady who was only there because her boyfriend wanted to be there, and she wanted to learn with him. She was nervous, totally flummoxed by the speed, traffic, and sensory overload, having to keep track of her own speed, cars around her, the sensory input from the car (steering and brake pedal feedback, etc.), and learning "the line". It was WAY over her head to process all at once. The only reason we were able to get her reasonably safe out there with other students was because I suggested to the chief instructor that we do a "lead/follow" session showing her the line. She did not get it when she rode with me, nor in any description from the right seat I provided her on where to be on the track.

In stark contrast, my best student was a 747 pilot. Because he showed up with an NSX, and I own one and have tracked it, he was assigned to me. He was relaxed, receptive, and an absolute sponge. Anything I suggested, he was able to internalize and apply seamlessly. He got fast *really quickly*, and learned better and faster, by far, than any other student I had ever instructed. There is a book and movie called "The Right Stuff" that describes people with certain natural "right stuff" talent.

I like to think that in my own history, I took to track driving very quickly. It probably wouldn't happen these days due to current litigation and conservative policies, but I was signed off to drive solo in my first ever track day.

Yes, Virginia, there are people who have natural talent. Based on my instructional experience, there were students who ran the gamut, from totally intimidated, to relaxed and stunningly able to absorb and apply technique.

Pool may be less of a dramatic endeavor than something that can kill you when gotten wrong (I was in an NSX with a 16-year-old student; we crashed at the FIRST braking zone of the FIRST lap of the FIRST hot session of the day), but I'm sure my experience instructing drivers applies to learning pool.
Man I wish I could drive. Never had the environment or the affluent upbringing to even consider it. I go out for a few miles I take all the good lines at legal speed. I try for smoothness, using momentum and less throttle and brakes. Not exactly performance driving but it makes point A to point B more enjoyable.
Race driving stands far above pool in mental and physical requirements though. Drunks can play super pool. I doubt they can drive at the racing limit. Even then I still think it's a matter of available time, lifestyle timing, and genuine interest and perseverance.
 

dquarasr

Registered
Man I wish I could drive. Never had the environment or the affluent upbringing to even consider it. I go out for a few miles I take all the good lines at legal speed. I try for smoothness, using momentum and less throttle and brakes. Not exactly performance driving but it makes point A to point B more enjoyable.
Race driving stands far above pool in mental and physical requirements though. Drunks can play super pool. I doubt they can drive at the racing limit. Even then I still think it's a matter of available time, lifestyle timing, and genuine interest and perseverance.
I got into it with my 94 Miata, first autocross then track days. I liked track days so much I bought a former Spec Miata for $3500 with a blown motor. It was fully prepped, cage, suspension, etc. my son prepped it further with new engine and I upgraded the 1.6L brakes to later larger 1.8L brakes. Car was an absolute blast to drive. I don’t think it cost us more than around $8k. Since we were recruited to instruct, we only had to pay for consumables (brakes and tires). I sold the Track Rat Miata last year for $6k.
1657903792578.jpeg

I don’t know how prices look these days with the craziness in the auto market but a useable Spec Miata used to be in the $6-8k range; if you wanted to be at the pointy end of the grid, $15-20k. But an inexpensive car would certainly allow tons of fun at track days. Entry fees for HPDE run $250-350 for four or five hours of track time including instructor. SCCA TNIA (Track Night In America) has events with around 1.5-2 hours of track time for $125-150.

Sorry for the thread hijack. DM me if you have questions. I was involved for over 20 years and I know the ins and outs.
 

boogieman

It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that ping.
Man I wish I could drive. Never had the environment or the affluent upbringing to even consider it. I go out for a few miles I take all the good lines at legal speed. I try for smoothness, using momentum and less throttle and brakes. Not exactly performance driving but it makes point A to point B more enjoyable.
Race driving stands far above pool in mental and physical requirements though. Drunks can play super pool. I doubt they can drive at the racing limit. Even then I still think it's a matter of available time, lifestyle timing, and genuine interest and perseverance.
I have no idea if it would even be an interest to you, but I remember as a teenager I was playing the Gran Turismo games on Playstation. I think the first game came with a great instruction booklet, I forget who, but it was written by someone with a driving school. Famous person but my memory of 97 is a bit foggy. Anyway, that game will legitimately teach you how to follow the lines of a track, use brakes and gas appropriately, etc.

I have no idea about the modern ones (I think 3 was the last one I played seriously) but they are pretty interesting simulation type games. I know it improved my driving as a teenager. I'm lucky I'm not dead from some of the gravel road driving I did back then. Not from lack of driving skill, but the fact it was on an open road instead of a closed track. I was young and dumb.

With wheels, pedals and shifter sets these games can be really addictive. 100s of cars to earn and tune for the track.
 
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