Talent vs Skill

We have all heard in our lifetime “You have talent!” But what does that mean? Only a few people understand that talent does not necessarily mean you have the ability to succeed. This is not just in golf, but in most areas of life. Talent is only the base in which we must work with, which researchers call innate ability. Our genetic makeup has a lot to do with talent but beware of early successes, and do not underestimate the need for skill development. 

There are many athletes that have had early success which in most cases, can be misleading. Like curious students in the classroom, some tend to jump way ahead and mysteriously get lost in the shuffle by the time they reach higher level schooling. Talent can do this, skills will not!

What high performance researchers have seen, as well as over our 20+ years of experience with junior golfers, is that talent is overrated and skill development is misunderstood!  This can be related to nature vs nurture; what are you born with and how does your environment affect it? If the most “talented” humans in the world were born into a place that does not provide the opportunity of skill building, they will simply not be the best.

Young golfers and old golfers alike possess talent, but without in-depth skill development, they will find it extremely challenging to be the best. We see young players with wildly different talent levels and skill levels, to realize the benefits of talent you must possess a plan to acquire the appropriate skills necessary to succeed at the game.  In golf there are “hard” skills, this is the ability to control the golf ball at your highest level and there are “soft” skills, this is the ability to play the game, golf IQ, course management and mind management.  We have seen golf athletes that possess lower levels of athletic ability achieve higher levels of success at the sport due to their discipline to acquire skills at a deeper capacity than the more talented athletes.  There are many examples of this at the highest levels of the game, including the PGA and LPGA Tours.  We typically call these athletes late bloomers.  It takes them longer to acquire skills necessary due to later physical and mental development, oft times forcing them to stick with developing a certain skill longer therefore making those skills so good that when they hit their growth spurt or maturity they begin exceling, in many cases they will be under the radar and become the “overnight” success story.  To use a line from a recent read on high performance from a Stoic philosopher, “soldiers are born, warriors spend countless hours mastering skills to defeat all incumbents, most importantly the skills of the mind.”

In conclusion, if you want to take your talent to the next level, create a plan to develop the skills necessary to succeed at the level you aspire to!  Download the JuniorGolfHub.com app take the self- assessment or call to set up your coach guided PDI Assessment here at the Golf Performance Center.  Find out where you are on your journey today!

Enjoy your Journey!

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