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What is the Best Billiard Training DVD?


What is the Best Billiard Training DVD?

What is the best billiards training DVD for an amateur pool player to take his game to next level?

I recently bought a pool table for my apartment and I would like to watch some billiard training videos and get some coaching so that I can improve my pool game.

What is the Best Billiard Training DVD?

Replies & Comments

  1. BadylFenwick on 7/14/2009 8:10:13 AM

    In my opinion, to taking your pool game to the next level requires sound fundamentals and a lot of practice first. Also, improper pool playing technique is something that is hard to see on your own. I did a video of myself shooting pool just so that I could review it looking for flaws and I could not spot them all on my own. I needed help.

    @quickshot has several pool playing DVD's and perhaps he can point out a few good ones.

    What area in your game do you need help with and what pool game or games do you play?

  2. BadylMitch Alsup on 7/14/2009 11:44:27 AM

    In my opinion, the particular billiard training DVD is not nearly as important as having a good mental attitude during practice. You need to approach each and every shot as if the whole rest of your pool life is made or broken on this very shot. Banging balls around the table is good for APA 2-3 players; but not good for players who have a basic grasp of the physics and shot possibilities (e.g. bank shots, kick shots, stop shots, dead-ball-roll, position play, and safety play).

    This is where routine comes in. DVDs will contain a number of routines (which can also be found on the internet). Routines can become boring and a good way to fight this boredom is to have enough routines to practice that you can cycle them around and break up the boredom.

    A good way to build your own set of routines is to keep notes of shots that you missed while playing (someone else). Then bring this shot back into your practice session and set it up and make the shot 50 times every practice session for a week (7 times). Then put it on the end of your routine list and do it again when its time comes around.

    The diamonds created an almost infinite potential for routines. Put the cue ball on the crossing of any diamond from the end rail and any diamond on the long rails. Do the same for the OB. Make this shot 10 times and pick two different diamond cross points. The long straight drills are simply degenerate settings of these diamond cross point drills. You can also set up these shots as before, and then play a bank of kick shot at the object ball. Once you have potted 10 object balls in a row from every CB*OB positions on the cross points, there won't be much wrong with your shot making capabilities. Add the rails to the diamond cross points and you get a full repertoire of shot-making drills.

    There are about 6 ways to stroke the cue ball and control the object ball impact {slow roll, follow, draw, stop, kill, drag}. So for every alignment from the above paragraph, shoot the shot with one of these strokes. Stay down on the shot so you can watch the cue ball as it rolls down table on the slow roll shots. You can use these observation skills (later) to read table roll from foreign tables. Watch the speed come off the cue ball on draw and drag shots, especially watch the cue ball as the draw releases and the cue ball goes from spinning backwards to spinning forwards. The careful observer will see that during this short time when the cue ball is changing speed direction, the object ball will bounce differently off the cue ball than before or after. Learn to use this to your advantage. The converse is to watch follow shots and see where the cue ball reverts to table speed. Don't use follow if it is gone by the time the cue ball reaches the object ball (or rail depending). These speed and spin drills teach you about your stroke. Your power to observe then will teach you how to gain control over them.

    For position play, set up 2 object balls and the cue ball on the diamond cross points. Make one of the object balls and achieve position on the second object balls. Only accept the position you decided before stroking the cue ball. That is, if you play for a side shot on the 2 object balls and get a corner shot on the 2 object balls, its a miss.

    For enhanced position play I like to set up all 15 balls within 1.5 to 2 balls width from each other near the center of the table. Give yourself Ball In Hand and run them out. This teaches fine position control and delicacy in position. Spread them out to 2-2.5 ball width and play 8-ball against your alter ego; include playing safeties against your alter ego (and vice versa).

    Finally, go see the stuff on billiards.colostate.edu/high_speed_videos/ - and use each principle being taught as a setup for a drill.

    The above will get you up to an APA 6-ish level. To go farther, you have to learn the mental game. Watch the pros on TV with an objective eye, as if they were your opponent at the table. Predict their shot, the line, the position for the next shot, which side of the pocket they will cheat. Then watch you actual playing partner/opponent and do similarly. Watch to see if they don't like certain shots or don't understand certain shots. Then when you are on a tricky shot which might miss, choose to execute that shot so as to minimize you opponents chance of getting a good shot. Here, you need to be playing players at least as good as you, 2 grades better is actually better. Expect to loose to these players, but use the opportunity to observe their game, their mental model, the way they approach the shots.

  3. BadylBadyl on 7/15/2009 2:55:14 AM

    Thanks for all the training advice, I will l try all the things you suggested. I also need help with my draw shot, but as I mentioned in another thread in the pool cue forum, I think my pool cue might be the issue with that one.

  4. Badylquickshot on 7/15/2009 1:12:59 PM

    The very first thing you have to do is make damn sure the table is level. That is a must. If it is not level you may as well go to your local bowling alley and forget about pool. I'm not being sarcastic here. It is to impress you of the importance of your equipment. You also mentioned your cue sticks. If they are warped you may just as well get rid of them. Roll them on the table or any flat surface and if they do not roll flat with no warble get rid of them because you have already expressed problems with the tips and ferrules lack and lack of smooth movement when in use.

    If they are not warped, I would take them to your local pool hall and see if they can be restored to a serviceable condition. If they can't be prepared to buy a couple of new cue sticks for a reasonable price. I get the feeling you are jumping into the and not knowing how to swim. Get all your equipment in the condition it has to be and then look for out side help. Mitch has made some good points and I have acouple of dvd s I feel is very good.

    Good luck with your venture.

  5. BadylMitch Alsup on 7/15/2009 1:23:30 PM

    As to the cue: I answered that in your other thread.

    Regarding your issue with your draw shot... Draw is 90% of the time the shot makers fault, 5% of the time the shape of the tip, and the other 5% its a fault of the chalking method. It is virtually impossible for the cue to be the main problem. In order to draw, the cue ball must be struck below the equator, with an accelerating tip, and the cue stick must follow through at least 4-6 inches after the cue ball is struck. On my home table I can draw at least 9 diamonds from a cue ball 3 diamonds away, and draw back 6 diamonds from a corner to cross-corner shot.

    While practicing, watch the tip at impact (instead of the object ball) or use a video camera to record the strokes. If you have a cue ball with 6 red dots on it, its easy to see the spin on the cue ball as it moves down the table. Very worth the $30 it costs, especially for beginners who an't see the subtle nuances that more experienced players can see.

  6. Badyldkrager on 7/19/2009 1:15:48 PM

    I’ll take a stab at answering the original question as to what is the best DVD to learn how to play pool.

    There really isn't any one "best" pool training DVD out there since most cover different aspects of the game but I can think of 2 titles that complement each other well.

    The first is the Monk 101 disk 1: Bring your game to its highest level.

    This title covers the PSR, timing, rhythm, positive attitude and the psychology behind disciplined practice and burning in new behaviors to your subconscious by repetition and doing exactly the same thing every time which is the key to consistency. He also walks you through his own PSR and gives you a baseline to work with so you can develop your own PSR. There is also a brief introduction to SPF. (Although he does not call it that.)

    He tends to come off a little Zen and like an infomercial promoting his other DVD's but if you filter out the noise there is some really good information to be had there. BTW I would not recommend the rest of the Monk 101 series IMHO they are very thin on any useful information and not worth the price.

    The second title is Play better pool: Mastering the basics volume 1.

    In this particular title Scott Lee and Randy G who are well respected BCA certified instructors give you an an in depth nuts and bolts introduction to SPF and how to incorporate the various elements to suit your particular body type as well as stance, alignment. Perceiving a straight line, home position, the tangent line, speed control and so on.

    BTW there is really nothing special about SPF (set, pause, finish) and it is not a system or anything like that. SPF is just a buzzword for a collection of best practice tips from a number of sources that have become popular in recent years like pausing on your backstroke, eye patterns and such which is an excellent framework to start with in developing your own consistent repeatable stroke. (The foundation of your entire game.) It also makes it very easy to self diagnose yourself and gives you something to fall back on when things aren’t exactly clicking out there on the felt.

    The thing is though, no DVD or even personal instruction for that matter is going to do any good unless you apply the knowledge learned and honestly put the practice time in on the tables to incorporate the subject matter of the lesson into your game which I suspect is where most people in this thread are coming from. The reason for this is that practice is not just simple practice.

    I know this all sounds a bit weird and some people have a hard time getting their head around the idea but what you are actually doing is building muscle memory and programming a catalog of "snapshots" of various shots in your head with the ultimate goal of eventually turning everything over to the subconscious which controls fine motor skills better than the little voice in our heads that is constantly chattering and trying to talk us out of shots which is why some folks say to concentrate and exaggerate in practice but freewheel in competition. I guess you could describe it as self brain washing for lack of a better term.

    Perhaps other folks will have some recommendations on decent billiard DVD titles since I am simply going by what I have in my personal collection. But its not a bad place to start.

    Enjoy the new pool table.

  7. BadylMitch Alsup on 7/19/2009 6:52:46 PM

    I will second what @quickshot said:

    The very first thing you have to do is make damn sure the table is level.

    Just to show you how important having a level table is...

    I dead roll the cue ball up the table both ways every day. The CB gets struck near the end rail and dies before touching the other end rail. Stay down on the shot and make sure the cue ball does not wander even a (fraction of a) millimeter as it comes to a stop on the cloth.

    When my table gets off, I shim it with (squares cut from) single sheets of typing paper. This is about as accurate as you can get*. If you have a good eye, you can see undulations in the slates (and cloth) as small as 0.002" based on how gravity affects the cue ball as it rolls. It is sensitive enough to see that those cue balls with 6 red dots are high on the red dot parts. It takes a 4 digit micrometer to verify that they are indeed (on my cue ball) 0.0003 wider (dot to dot) than the white to white. I can also see the seem between the slates on my table even though I can't feel it with my fingers.

    (*) a single piece of typing paper under both feet on one side will eliminate about 1/3rd to 1/2 a mm of sideways movement as the ball dead rolls to a stop on my 8 foot table with simonis 760 (fast) cloth. It is HARDER to shim a slow table than a fast table, but maters less.

    When the table is dead level, your aim is true and you don't have to compensate for anything (other than your own inabilities.) At this point you can stop blaming the table, your cue, the cue ball, and luck. A bad shot is your fault! and you can use this knowledge to make your game better.

    Similarly, as your game progresses, you will find that your table may be out of square on the rails. An end rail may not bounce perpendicularly. You may not be able to slow roll an object ball in front of a side pocket. you may get different angles on banks and kicks from side to side and end to end. The advanced player will be driven nuts. The clever advanced player will tune up the table and get it back to square. All it takes is a wrench and a rubber mallet and lots of time. Get these rails right, right enough so that when you are on a strange table, you can read how far off it is and make compensations during the game. Its almost like adopting that table as you home table.

    If you don't have a table of your own, attempt to play on the same table each time you play, and learn it well.

  8. Badylquickshot on 7/19/2009 7:28:03 PM

    Okay you have a lot of good info. Just be sure you level the table inside the rails...not on top of the rails.

    As far as a good DVD training product...

    I have Nick Varner's Pro Skill Drills Volume 1. It has 54 practice session drills and you can also get the book that follows the drills so you can always look them up or use them as reference when you practice. The other one I like is from the same set, and is titled Nick Varner Safety Drills Volume 5. It has 55 practice safety drills that covers 8,9, 14.1. It also comes with a reference book. You can also just buy the books and save some money. Each and every drill is laid out very clearly and easy to understand. They are presented by Dominic Esposito a.k.a The Drill Instructor.

    If you like this series you can get the whole 8-Book / 8-Volume set on amazon.com.

    Also, is Dr. Dave's disk and the book that goes with it. I believe Mitch mentioned the web site in his post. Dr. Dave is the author of the timeless book The Illustrated Principles of Pool and Billiards.

    There are others on the market and some are pretty good... and some pretty bad. I happen to like these.

    You may also want to take a look at Bert Kinister's "The 60 Minute Workout." A good introductory CD to learn how to play pool.

    Good luck in your endeavor.

  9. BadylDrOZ on 8/5/2009 7:04:38 AM

    By far the best Pool Billiard training DVD's are from the Billiard Sanctuary Academy of the Cueing Arts. I purchased all 10 a few years ago to add to my collection. To be totally honest, the others are good, but when compared to the Billiard Sanctuary the others seem just moderate.

    I have watched them over a dozen times and still have those "ah-ha" moments as I learn new aspects. The quality is phenomenal. The graphics during each segment clarify each section very poignantly. You feel as if you are sitting in at the Academy in class.

    Absolutely, the most passionate and excellent teacher of the sport I have ever seen. I installed a TV with a DVD player in my billiard room so I can have them on as I develop the skills. I highly recommend them.

    Dr O.

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What is the Best Billiard Training DVD?

  • Title: What is the Best Billiard Training DVD?
  • Author:
  • Published: 7/14/2009 4:59:59 AM