Talent vs Skill

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The most common definition for ‘Talent vs Skill’ is as follows:

Talent refers to the natural aptitude or ability to do something. On the other hand, skill refers to the ability which is acquired by training and practicing. Only a limited number of people are bestowed with talent, however, anyone with the right potential and will is eligible for learning a skill.

Often this definition becomes the tool that we employ when we measure a person’s success to the amount of work they display. A portrayal of successful players in most 1 vs 1 games would lead one to believe that their successes and abilities come more from talent, and less from built skill. I believe there is a specific reason for this as it pertains to the story lines built around each individual player in this field.

Lets think about team based eSports. Team eSports have more variables and requirements for success. One extraordinary player on a team cannot guarantee victory. Team chemistry, communication, strategy all has to be practiced. Since this is common knowledge, their need to practice is implicit. The story lines created from these teams is largely comprised of the specific teams success. However, if the team does not succeed, there is still plenty of content that can be derived from them. Player personalities, gaming houses, and organizational news all create compelling story lines.

Compare that to individual eSports games and it’s professional players. Outside of playing in tournaments and winning, it has been shown that they are encouraged to tell their own stories through streaming, content creation, and social media. This leads most of these players to focus more on entertainment to fill a content need and interact with their audience. They make much less of an effort to actually show skill development. This can make it much harder for a viewer to measure that player’s success to the amount of time they spend practicing.  I am not condemning them by any means for this; often times this is how they make a living.

When looking at how the story lines develop for the players across eSports one thing is certain. Practice, despite it’s immense importance, is hardly displayed. I think it’s important to make this a reminder for those aspiring to become professionals. Talent is only sustainable with coaching and persistence. The success of your favorite players has not come from luck, it has come from skill building, hard work, and analysis. Even those who emerged at the height of a games popularity spent hours perfecting their abilities.

  • If we are capable of demystifying talent as the source for success, is it possible to create better players?
  • Is it possible to make practice entertaining?
  • Would you like to see your favorite player practicing? Have a chance to see what has built their success?

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