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Old 15th January 2014, 10:54 AM
simona simona is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Lowestoft
Posts: 177

Hi Jack

The most important thing you can have is enthusiasm. This currency can be traded for improvement.

I happen to agree about what you say about talent. It’s nonsense. Mathew Syad’s book ‘Bounce’ makes a particularly compelling argument against the existence of talent. One example is that of a writer who made a bet that both of his (yet to be born) children would be chess grand masters. They were. In another example he explains that 20-odd years ago almost all of the England table tennis team came from the Reading area. This was because there was a great club there with good coaches, one of whom worked at a local school. Nothing to do with talent. Perhaps most convincing was a study on musicians at a very large Chinese conservatory. Whether players ended up as soloists, players or teachers depended absolutely on how much they had practised. Those who had played the most were, of course, regarded as the most talented.

Talent is a word that gets used to describe skill. Skill is hard won, the outside observer doesn’t see the work, they see the skill, which can have a magical quality, and the skill is then called talent.

Ronnie O’Sullivan is continually called ‘’naturally talented’’. What absolute rubbish. He’s devastated when he misses a ball after back to back centuries. He’s almost literally mad for it. He is still trying to improve, he used to practise so hard that he would play all night. To say he’s naturally talented is to short change the effort he’s made over the last 30-odd years. He’s driven and sets his own standards. He’s un naturally talented. His real gift is in his love for the sport and his insatiable desire to play a perfect game. He wasn’t born with that skill. We all get to enjoy the fruits of his labours when we watch him tear it up, marvellous.

For our little hobby I’d say try to find a place where you can shoot indoors at 25 plus yards and develop a baseline position from which you can shoot very tight groups. The perfect conditions will filter out other influences and allow you to concentrate on the arrangement of your limbs and the adjustment of your gun. Concentrate on finding effortless stability. Take this position outside.

Once you get outside you can never be certain of the right place to aim or the precise range of the target. What you can do is utterly commit to a (uncertain) choice. So far shooting outside is just like marriage as some factors (ladies) are unknowable but you have to commit and try your best.

Compounding an uncertain choice with a lacklustre shot will not help. Absolutely commit to going right edge/50 yards (or whatever) even if you are far from certain whether that’s the right thing to do. Even if you miss (be it high, low, left or right) you will have a crystal clear notion of what you did, something to work backwards from; just having a vague punt when uncertain will seldom improve your chances on the next shot. And when you do take the shot shut out the uncertainty over your choices; just execute.

The positions are another kettle of fish. Perhaps be content just to shoot a lot of easy targets at very close range. This may allow you to develop a feel for each stance rather than just busting your backside all the time.

Keep trying and keep thinking.
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