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

jay helfert

Shoot Pool, not people
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I've said it before yes there is natural talent.
We all have seen the players that have played for decades and struggle to run a rack of any game and the player that has been playing a couple years that can run multiple racks.
I see this all the time in the room I go to and for the last 60 years I've been playing.
He knows! Some people (mostly young ones) have more athletic ability than others and can learn a new sport faster, much faster. Maybe one year as opposed to three. That said, NO ONE ever picked up a cue and starting running racks! I've played pool with world class athletes and they were as inept at pool as any other beginner. If there was ever any real money in pool, then some of these young kids who become star baseball or basketball players would become star pool players instead!
 

jay helfert

Shoot Pool, not people
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Silver Member
This right here.. Willie hoppe played with the worst stroke you could hav…. A side arm stroke. No one would teach anyone to play pool like that but his natural god given talent was so great that it didn’t matter. Being great absolutely takes hard work but it also has to be mixed with a god given ability. Either you got it or you don’t.
Tell that to Keith, who drilled the world with his bad form! Not only did have a side arm stroke but he stood all kinds of different ways and hit the ball from funny angles at times. Meanwhile he made unbelievably hard shots look easy. I saw other players make fantastic shots (Rafael Martinez for one) but no one made it look so effortless as Keith.

Louie Roberts was probably the most talented pool player I ever saw. Talk about a natural. Louie was a great athlete who fell in love with pool. He was a champion diver and state pole vault champion as well. He could have played any sport but chose pool. No one before or since hit the balls as cleanly and accurately as he did, PERIOD! Problem was, the rest of his game (safeties, kick shots, etc.) was not as well refined. Sometimes he could shoot his way out of trouble and other times it cost him games, and money! :confused:
 
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tableroll

Rolling Thunder
Silver Member
Natural talent exists in a big way. Whether it's pool or anything else, if two people make the exact same effort to become proficient at something, one will outachieve the other because they have more aptitude in learning that subject. That aptitude is called natural talent.

Yes, one can become proficient at almost anything with sufficient work ethic, but the path to proficiency will be either shortened or lengthened by natural talent.

When great natural talent hooks up with maximum effort, a level is reached that is unattainable for those with less natural talent.
Is it natural talent or is it natural "desire" to put in the work in order to become great at it?
 

trentfromtoledo

8onthebreaktoledo
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If your position on this was correct: Couldn't you just get a world class teacher, practice everyday, become a Professional Pool Player and go out an beat Effren, Earl, Filler, Fedor or Shane? Age should not matter if all it takes is "desire" or "discipline", right?

Naturally talented people are gifted, plain and simple. 6 Pages of answers and all you are trying to do is "simplify" the route to being the best at something and ignore this simple fact: Some people are GIFTED, aka have natural talent. We all have run into these people in life, they seem to always be more skilled, learn faster and have more success in life. Now whether these people use their gifts( aka natural talent) to help the world be a better place, is a completely different topic.

Have a great Saturday!

TFT
 

NevadaP

Active member
Is it natural talent or is it natural "desire" to put in the work in order to become great at it?
It's a combination, but it has to start with an elevated level of 'natural talent' or 'aptitude'. I think when we recognize that we have some level of this natural ability, we are more prone to keep working at it and develop those talents. But most of us don't have enough of the natural ability to reach the upper levels of any activity no matter how much work we put in. Similarly, a person with extraordinary level of natural talent will never attain the very highest level without putting in all the work along the way. At a pro or champion level of anything, it requires starting with that elevated 'floor' of natural ability, then honing and improving with relentless effort and improvement.
 

sjm

Older and Wiser
Silver Member
Is it natural talent or is it natural "desire" to put in the work in order to become great at it?
I think it's both, but you make a great point. Things like willpower, the ability to concentrate and mental stamina, which are quite possibly part of the natural talent package, are among the building blocks for those likely to make the kind of effort that the highest levels of excellence demand.
 

Cameron Smith

is kind of hungry...
Silver Member
I find the discussion about whether talent exists is a little dull. If we put 10 complete beginners in a room for a week with Mark Wilson giving instruction, those 10 people will not be at equal skill levels at the end of the week. So certainly there are people who have an aptitude for the game.

I find it’s more interesting to try to define what talent is in relation to pool. In most discussions, talent is so poorly defined you could replace the word “talent” with “magic” or “super powers” and it won’t change the meaning of anyone’s comments.
 
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Tin Man

AzB Gold Member
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I find the discussion about whether talent exists is a little dull. If we put 10 complete beginners in a room for a week with Mark Wilson giving instruction, those 10 people will not be at equal skill levels at the end of the week. So certainly there are people who have an aptitude for the game.

I find it’s more interesting to try to define what talent is in relation to pool. In most discussions, talent is so poorly defined you could replace the word “talent” with “magic” or “super powers” and it won’t change the meaning of anyone’s comments.
If we took 100 beginners and had them all attempt a spot shot one time, maybe 3-4 of them would somehow make the shot. Are those people the most talented or is this just a ridiculously small sample size and natural variance?

Pool is a long journey. Along the way there will be some areas that come easier to some people. These will result in short term fluctuations. Rarely is there a deficit in one area that can't be overcome with a strength in another. Pool is a very mulit-dimensonal game and there are many ways to get the job done. Nick Varner, Earl Strickland, and Efren Reyes all had different strengths and played the game very differently, but they all got the job done.
 

MitchAlsup

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Ok, that is a lot more primative than I expected. I guess i come from a more modern time...not being an EE probably doesn't help either.

So it basically was a bunch of flip flops that were wired to each other through a 1 bit adder for the first bit and carry logic for the remaining bits which was triggered by dial pulses which also outputted to a decoder/encoder circuit for the lights?
The flip flops and the coupling capacitor WERE the adder.
Was there a decoder for the lights to display numbers or did it just show the binary? Considering the computers back then showed their whole ram contents through banks of lights I suppose that was actually acceptable...
The lights were driven directly from the true side of the flip flop (no decoding.
Definitely a lot simpler than my version....which I will admit is pretty complex for such a simple task.
But simultaneously as expensive as I could get Mom to fund.
 

Cameron Smith

is kind of hungry...
Silver Member
If we took 100 beginners and had them all attempt a spot shot one time, maybe 3-4 of them would somehow make the shot. Are those people the most talented or is this just a ridiculously small sample size and natural variance?

Pool is a long journey. Along the way there will be some areas that come easier to some people. These will result in short term fluctuations. Rarely is there a deficit in one area that can't be overcome with a strength in another. Pool is a very mulit-dimensonal game and there are many ways to get the job done. Nick Varner, Earl Strickland, and Efren Reyes all had different strengths and played the game very differently, but they all got the job done.
I probably wasnt clear. We can observe that people don’t progress at the same pace and some will get better quicker. So we know some people have more of an aptitude for the game. But without defining talent we don’t know what the implications of this aptitude is. Or how much of it is teachable.

I remember listening to a podcast that talked about how kids who were born earlier in the year tend to get more attention and coaching since they are a little older than peers born later in the year and therefore a bit more developed, stronger and faster. And then other kids who have received more opportunities and coaching get mistaken for being more talented than less skilled peers who have had fewer opportunities. So just because someone appears to be struggling, doesn’t mean that it will always be the case. But if we treat them as a lost cause, it may well become true.

There are a lot of variables that go into why someone takes to the game faster than others and distilling them down to “talent” is a boring explanation. As I said in my post, we might as well say Filler has pool super powers, it conveys the same message.
 

fan-tum

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
To become a world class pool player or golfer takes hours and hours of dedicated practice. One can not become great on "natural talent". You have to put in the work.
I'd be surprised if Efren ever had to devote anywhere near the amount of time on stroke fundamentals as anyone else, in other words naturally talented.
 

xradarx

rādär calculator ratio 2:1 is never on autopilot
Silver Member
No that’s dedication.
Playing constantly, requires no practice.
Shoot a handful of balls into the pockets to warm up, then start the games.
Practice is for nonplaying players/beginners.
It’s called being the winner!
It’s the exhilaration of dominance of the pack.
There’s always, one.
The rest are just trying to get there.
Most, will never get that feeling.
 
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Mark V

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
While waiting on me to come in to the exam room, one of my 19 y/o patients, who is on the spectrum did something no human should be able to do.

While standing up, with a regular ball point pen, on printer paper drew a gorgeous, PERFECT lineup, in perfect detail of all the Peanuts characters…. From complete memory. From tallest to shortest, in vertical depth perception… ending with Snoopy sitting down playing his mini piano. His mom said that it took him about 5 minutes, and that he does this sort of stuff all the time.

Even thing down to what shoes and clothes they all wear, and how many laces you can see on Charle Brown’s shoes.

The power of the innate human brain is immense when channeled correctly.

Find me 1 person in 10 million that could even get that test half right.

Tallent is someone’s ability to do what you will never be able to do, regardless of the time and effort invested, regardless of the situation. There are 10 more gears you will just never reach, no matter what.

Gun to my head, I’ll give you a week to do… I’ll buy the ammo for you.
 

Mark V

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Talent hurts your feelings because you want the playing field to be level. It’s not. It’s the 22 yo who picked the game up casually 2 years ago, looks like he’s not even trying, that you can’t beat and plays 2 balls better that you ever have. It messes with your head and hurts your feelings, and you feel deep down that you should be at his level with how long you’ve played, but you aren’t. And never have been, and never will be, and never could of been.

Anyone saying they’ve never run in to ‘that guy’ is lying.

It’s the guy who benched 415 in 9th grade.

It’s the kid solving for x in 3rd grade.

It’s Sammy, my patient with Angleman’s Syndrome, who in 5 minutes standing up with a ball point pen and copy paper did from complete memory what almost everyone else couldn’t do in 1000 tries with the movie on pause.
 
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buckshotshoey

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I started its own thread, but I figured I'd post it here too. Obviously the kid has had some decent training. But none of you are going to tell me he doesn't have natural Talent!

 

Tin Man

AzB Gold Member
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Silver Member
Talent is the 22 yo who picked the game up casually 2 years ago who looks like he’s not even trying, that you can’t beat and plays 2 balls better that you ever have. It messes with your head and hurts your feeling, but none of that matters.

Anyone saying they’ve never seen ‘that guy’ is lying.
No two year player has ever run me over or come close to keeping up with me. I've seen some players who have put in a ton of hours that can strike the balls fairly well, but I've developed my skills far beyond a comfort level pocketing open shots. If you haven't done the same that speaks more to a lack of growth on your end than a super power on the behalf of your opponent.

I am not trying to fight, it's just when someone tries to run me over and I stand my ground it may come across as confrontational. I don't enjoy it, but not agreeing with you doesn't make me a liar.
 

Tin Man

AzB Gold Member
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I started its own thread, but I figured I'd post it here too. Obviously the kid has had some decent training. But none of you are going to tell me he doesn't have natural Talent!

If by talent you mean he started very young and spent a lot of time learning to move his arm in a straight line and pocket open balls then yes, he is talented.

Along the pool journey to the top there will be many, many other hurdles both mental and physical, and both on the table and off in career and life management. What if he's not talented in his ability to manage his emotions? Pool is multi-dimensional and developing an ability in one area of the game isn't enough to get to the highest levels. Eventually people come face to face with adversity that forces them to face their deepest weaknesses and only a few find a way through.
 
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