The ability to tune out distractions is a must among professional athletes. And local billiards pro Shane Van Boening, thanks in part to a hearing impairment and a whole lot of talent, has managed to ascend to the top of his sport.
At the age of 23, Shane Van Boening is approaching the pinnacle of billiards. A month ago, Van Boening captured the World 10-Ball championship, and is currently ranked number one by the top authority among billiards publications.
"I'm playing real good right now," Shane Van Boening said, "and I'm just starting to win each tournament. I'm getting to the finals in every major tournament right now."
Chuck Moss, Shane's mentor, manager, and friend added, "The sky's the limit for the potential as far as what he has. There's a lot of eyes on him throughout the nation. It's very fun, very interesting to travel with him and see all the attention he gets."
With success comes distractions. But at the table Shane is able to shut out any unwanted noise, as he's 98-percent hearing impaired, which creates a whole new level of concentration.
Shane said, "When I play pool, if I have a real important match, I just turn off my hearing aid and it keeps me from getting distracted with noises in the background and you know it really helps, it gets you more focused in the game."
Chuck said, "Shane's a perfect example of someone turning a, perception-wise, a negative into a positive. He's able to shut things off when he gets into pressure situations. He can just tune everything out, so I really think he has an advantage with that, it really helps him."
Impairment aside, Shane is rapidly becoming one of the most intimidating players in the world.
Shane said, "The top pool players in the world...they're pretty much afraid of me right now. I'm playing real great right now. I competed in the last three tournaments and got into the finals. They know that I'm going to be one of the best pool players in the world right now."
A native of Rapid City, Shane recently finished second at the EnjoyPool.com Open in Las Vegas. The championship match will air this Sunday on ESPN.
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