Happy 2009 to all of the forum members and readers. I wanted to do a quick survey about billiard goals and 2009.
My personal goal is to become better skilled in thinking ahead during a game. You know, most professionals and instructors recommend that players learn to think strategically during an inning, meaning that you focus not only on the current shot at hand, but also about what the next 2 or 3 shots may be. I embarrassingly admit that I tend to get wrapped up in the current shot and tend to forget about the "what next" scenarios.
Wondering what, if anything, other players are looking to improve? Also, please let me know of anything that you worked on in 2008 that you found to help your game.
- quickshot on 1/1/2009 9:28:21 PM
I joined an 8 ball league in the APA. My team came in tied for first, but we ended up second because to break the tie they went back to the last time we played and who won the match. Could have gone either way if we had won. Fair is fair I guess.
The stroke...the Holy Grail of billiards and pool. I have been working on it for 6 months. It is a very delicate movement that can easily get side tracked by a variety of things... the main one being lack of focus at any given moment which will cause a fault in the application of the shot. The following is an excerpt from my blog:
Last Monday at the league night I did not play due to the match-ups. That in turn gave me time to analyse some of the strokes of the various players that played. It was like watching a movie. There were level cues, some slightly below level with the tip facing north of the equator, some with the butt raised various degrees, upright stances, side way stances, elbows flared out, wrist bent outward and inward,tight grips, forward grips and rear grips. And then there were a few miscues because some players forget what the chalk is for. The most entertaining was those who used body language. They are the ones you do not want to stand too close to less your eyeball becomes a cue ball.
In my quest for the perfect stroke I have become a student of the mechanics with more success than as a learner of the process. But, I am getting there. I even resorted to putting a piece of black electrical tape on the butt so that my grip hand is always in the same place. Except, if I have to move it for a reason. It is a matter of building a muscle memory that will become so automatic that I will not even thing about it. Thus far the improvement in my stroke has made a big difference in my game. It has also given me a more confident level during a match.
I've also been working on the nuances of the game like draw, position and english. In time, they too will fall into place because they are the result of an improved stroke. So what will be new for 2009? More of the same...
PRACTICE... PRACTICE... PRACTICE. If you do not have a good stroke your practice is a waste of time. As the cue ball goes... so goes the game.
Oh yeah... I'm going to work on my golf game also.
- quickshot on 1/1/2009 9:43:53 PM
@billiardsforum - I can give you a drill that can help you overcome the first shot focus. It is something I worked on because I had the same problem and to a degree still do. I throw 6 or 7 balls on the table at random and then I pick out what I want to play, solid or stripes. Before I make my first shot I have a picture in my mind of how I will make the next two. Sometimes if I miss the second shot I will reset it and take it again until I make it. Then I go on to the third shot.
Practicing this none pressure drill will become embedded in your mind, and in a match just think of the shots as a sequence of events instead of pressure shots.
- billiardsforum on 1/3/2009 5:23:45 PM
Awesome, thanks for the drill...it's totally a mental thing for me. I know that thinking several plays ahead has been proven to be effective, but every time I play, my focus is controlled by the immediate shot.
I tried the drill a few times out at my dad's place and I'll admit, it was an effort to think that way. I agree with you though about how practice should be solitary and repetitive at first. I find that skills have a way of developing between practices. (even though it's probably muscle memory and muscle development)
On another note, I wonder how you like the APA league? How is the organization? Is it more competitive or more friendly?
- quickshot on 1/3/2009 6:42:54 PM
Don't look at it as a drill so much but rather as a simple game you play for fun. Don't do stripes or solids either at this point. Just look at the table and pick out 3 balls you want to play in sequence and play them. If you do this often enough, when you do play a real game you will pick out 3 balls automatically with out thinking about it. believe me, I had the same problem as you until I started doing this practice drill. An analogy to the drill is: If you go to the store and buy apples and you drop three of them, you will look at all of them and in your mind you will decide what sequence you will pick them up and everything else at the moment will be insignificant. On the table do not let it be a mental thing because it's not. It is an observation thing.
I do not have any problems with the APA league. It is pretty well run and is fair and balanced as far as I can determine. I would think that all the leagues are the same because they are set up and run by a defined template of organization. When you get down to the trenches where the teams are interacting on a personal basis, human nature being what it is, there will always be some minor differences. Most of which are settled by the bylaws of the league. Over all, I have no complaints.
- dlabout on 1/4/2009 3:42:19 PM
My goal for 2009 is to make it to the US Amateur Championships. I want to take my game to the next level. I have put aside my other hobbies and am focused on pool. I am spending more time on the big tables and working on competing in big table tournaments. I have also been working with several of our pro's around town to hone my game.
I will let you know at the end of the year how it goes.
- quickshot on 1/4/2009 5:33:35 PM
Good luck to you , Doug. You set a goal and I hope you make it.
- Fenwick on 1/4/2009 7:28:01 PM
One of my goals is to play the vertical axis or center of the cue ball more often. I was pleasantly surprised where it is taking me!
- quickshot on 1/4/2009 7:42:56 PM
Why am I not surprised that a light bulb went on.
- Justanotherevolutionary on 1/16/2009 3:40:23 PM
Goals eh? Mine is very basic, get better at everything.
A fun one, which you may already do is play 1-15 in order just like 9 ball. If that doesn't make you think at least 3 shots ahead, try thinking 5 shots ahead. If you can do that, 3 shots becomes routine. Better yet. Think 9 balls ahead if playing 9 ball. See the whole table, and categorize your balls. Trouble balls, out balls, etc etc. The angle needed to get to the third ball, from the second.
I play 9 ball almost exclusively so this is more relevant to that than 8. Finding the right time for safeties is crucial, remember you are an individual team, defense and offense win games not one or the other. I guess if I had to pick one thing it would be better table speed sense and win more lags. That's a hard one though as all tables are different. I have a fast 7 foot table at home, but play on slow 8 footers in league, this can be devastating. So there's my goal, better table speed and winning the opening break.
Good luck all, I hope we all achieve our goals this year!
- AusPool on 1/19/2009 7:52:40 AM
Well considering I have only played in 2 tournaments, because I'm new to competition pool, my goal is to compete as much as I can and learn more and more each time I play. Basic I know, but hey, what can ya do ay!