There was no fancy dance in my first reply. :wink:
Almost every shot is a shot that can and has been missed, even by the best players out there.
There really isn't a single "secret" that explains how a simple straight in shot can be missed. Lack of practice fits most players. But for those who have already developed excellent ball pocketing skills, those who've already put in the practice time needed to develop and tune those skills, it could be a combination of one or more other "secrets" as to why they might miss an easy shot.
I'm talking about focus, confidence, emotional control, stress, etc... I don't care who it is, if the player doesn't have a solid handle on these things, it's likely they'll find themselves missing that occasional easy shot every once in a while, or stringing a bunch of misses together. I've been there. If the mind isn't right, pool is extra tough.
So lack of practice isn't why a good player might miss an easy straight in. That little secret is for less experienced players that haven't quite developed consistent mechanics and aiming skills yet. More often than not, and this is no secret, the reason better players miss easy shots sometimes has more to do with what's cluttering their mind than it has to do with mechanics or specific aiming/ball-pocketing abilities. This game requires focus on every shot, regardless of difficulty. So if there is any secret at all...that's it.
You are right!
Skinner understood the function of "shaping." Our humanity becomes the obvious explanation for failing at anything. One doesn't need to be a wordsmith to grasp the concept of failure.
When Skinner talked about creating an environment where he could "reward successive approximations of the desired behavior," he wasn't talking about rewarding just the target. So, how do we, as both the teacher and the student, first learn how to reward that which we know to be good, and then learn to receive the blessing of the reward and use the reinforcement to continually improve. Hit a million balls...be Tiger Woods...be Beethoven...commit to excellence? Or just allow nature to take its course?
What if the act of missing a simple shot is more complicated than the myriad excuses we use to explain it. "We are not robots" is a good excuse. I'm talking about reverse engineering failure to reduce frequency. It's a straight in shot.