What does it take to play like a pro, and can anybody become a pro with enough work?

The main things top players have in common are:

  • they have great vision and visual perception (i.e., they can clearly and consistently “see” the “angle of the shot” and the required line of aim).
  • they have excellent “feel” for shot speed, spin, and position play.
  • they are able to consistently and accurately deliver the cue along the desired line with the tip contact point and speed needed for the shot (even if their mechanics aren’t always “textbook”).
  • they have tremendous focus and intensity and have a strong drive to improve and win

And the biggest thing they have in common is: they have put in many more hours practicing and playing than most of us have. That’s how they have developed all of the things on the list above. (A little “natural talent” in all of these areas can help also.)

Concerning “nature” (genetics and natural talent) vs. “nurture” (hard work and dedication), see the book: “The Sports Gene.” Both nature and nurture are extremely important to reach excellence in anything. For certain sports (e.g., anything involving jumping or speed like some track and field events), “natural talent” (nature) can be much more important than nurture effort. If you don’t have the right muscle physiology (enough fast-twitch fibers), no amount of hard work and dedication can transform you into a world-class athlete in those sports. Also, someone with good eye-hand coordination (e.g., from genetics and/or previous experience with other activities and sports) will have an advantage in many sports over someone who is not very coordinated.

People who have poor eye-hand coordination (part nurture, part nature), and don’t have good fine-control motor skills (part nurture, part nature), and have difficulty mentally focusing and concentrating (part nurture, part nature), and don’t have excellent vision and visual perception (mostly nature) would be at an extreme disadvantage concerning becoming a top pool player. For them, you could easily say that nature is more important than nurture. However, for the majority of people, training, hard work, dedication, and focus can lead to excellence in pool. However, not all people will have the ability, desire, or time to do what it takes to reach excellence.

Bottom line: Some people could never excel at pool, but many could if they had the desire, focus and time (and if they worked hard at it).

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