I am curious about how you all practice to keep your game sharp. I used to do specific drills but have gotten away from them. The way my game is going I might need to go back to doing them. Since we play APA 8 ball I do a lot of playing myself. I guess that is kinda like playing the ghost except I am shooting for the ghost. I have read where the top ranked players practice several hours a day but never just what they do.
Do you have a regular routine of daily drills? Do you just get on the table and run balls? Do you play the ghost? Do you use a combination of these 3.? Do you prefer to play a live match for practice? How you folks feel about the best way to keep you game at it's best level?
- billiardsforum on 8/3/2008 10:09:52 AM
I practice regularly with a diversified repertoire or drills - nothing specific, just drills that touch on a bit of everything.
I also made a discovery that drinking coffee before playing is a disaster. Coffee tends to make me tense and shaky. You get the picture.
The other thing I can tell you that has helped me progress is regularly playing with those who are WAY better than I. You would not believe the effect that has on taking your game to the next level. I think this holds true in whatever you do, be it sports or business or whatever, but it does work well in billiards too.
- quickshot on 8/3/2008 9:18:15 PM
Thanks for the comment on the article. As for practice, I practice what I preached. I use to shoot racks but got tired it. I now 85% of the time I practice shots one after another until I feel comfortable with the shot. I do rail shots a lot trying to avoid scratching in the opposite pockets. I also practice off the rail shots next (about 2 inches) and shoot from different angles and distance. I find that I have a problem with the off rail shots. So I keep working on them. I also practice long cut shots from different angles into the corners. If I miss a shot I will reset it and shoot the same shot until I realize what is making me miss. Most of the times I find the fault some where in the stroke, which incidently, I am working on improving. It also becomes apparent that I'm lifting up, not staying down on the shot and jerking the shot instead of following through. Sometimes I will just throw 1/2 dozen balls on the table and then throw the CB on the table and practice shots and position.
I would like to play competitive practice, but I do not know enough people who want to invest the time. Two or three times a week I meet up with an 8 rated 6 and play with him. (I'm a four). And I mange to beat him sometimes based on what he has taught me. Racks, drills, shots, it is a never ending process if you want to improve.
- Fenwick on 8/4/2008 8:43:34 PM
Yes, I practice. Doing drills although no fun do help! I guess my best practice tip would be work on 1 thing at a time. I spend time on my grip and stroke separately and then hopefully if they come together I work on making balls. If they don't become one I go home. The house pro always seems to have his students do line drills before moving on to other things. In the words of a Great Instructor; "Developing an accurate, repeatable stroke is step one."
"Do you prefer to play a live match for practice? " Yes, with the best player in the house if he's willing.
- quickshot on 8/5/2008 12:04:29 AM
The "stroke" is the key to the Kingdom. No ifs, no ands, and no buts. It is the main move. But the following has to go on first,
- motown8 on 9/21/2008 10:22:34 PM
I agree that in billiards the most important thing to work on and keep consistent is your stroke. I tend to start off by just shooting some easy shots to get in that mental state of "I'm going to make every shot". I then shoot one rack of normal straight pool, followed by the next rack where every shot must be difficult (bank, kick, thght row, etc) for me.
This has forced me to focus more on tangents, english, and stroke while learning to be comfortable making shots I normally (used to) would not have attempted. I follow this with normal drills twice per week and even my friends have commented on my improvement ;). Just my humble suggestion, its worked for me so far!
I also recently bought an aramith pro cup cue ball which I have to say has really opened my eyes to the quality of my stroke. I was pleasantly surprised that the red dots were much more help than annoyance, I can now see even small errors in my stroke and its definitely helped me hone it.
- quickshot on 9/21/2008 10:41:33 PM
I find that interesting about the Aramith ball. Can you give us some examples of how it has improved your technique and shot making? I was thinking about getting one but I do not know anyone who has. Now I do. I do a lot of practice about 15-20 hours a week. If the ball will help I may buy one.
- motown8 on 9/22/2008 9:18:32 AM
I can honestly say it did a lot more than I thought it would. One example is when working on your stroke. Hitting the ball even slightly off center produces a visual that shows how off you hit. You will notice it much more after you are used to using it. At first all you can see is the red dots spinning, but after a few days you will notice instantly after your hit if you were off. The ball will also show you how much draw or follow you are getting and if its actually catching the felt after it makes contact with the object ball.
- quickshot on 9/22/2008 9:39:50 AM
Thank you for the bit of information. Maybe I will check it out again with a more open mind. Or whats left of it.
- Mitch Alsup on 9/22/2008 3:07:12 PM
Practice and play should never be confused. Playing yourself 8-ball (or any other game) is not practice, it is simply play with more strokes.
Practice has specific goals; make balls, make positions, try out different english, different speeds, throw, test for cling, reading clusters,... Without specific goals, parctice does not happen, and you may stay as good as you currently are, but it is unlikely you will get better.
Practice contains elements that will bore you to tears--like making the same shot 50 times in a row--or setting up the table this way or that and making every ball on the table in a particular order. But when it comes time during real play to make that same shot: you can do it with your eyes closed. But you gotta do it.
Never confuse practice and play. Play for fun, practice to get good.
- quickshot on 9/22/2008 9:31:08 PM
Playing to get good is the goal. And playing competitively with a much better player is also great practice. The guy I sometimes play with is very quick to point out my mistakes and give me advice. He will also call time out if he thinks I'm taking the wrong shot. Practice is what one feels comfortable with at any given time. Sometimes alone and sometimes with another player. Specifically, to ones own self be true.
- user1506357401 on 9/25/2017 12:36:21 PM
Once you've achieved a reasonable level of quality (say 5 or 6 ranking in APA) there is really only one best way to practice - assuming you have your own table. And that is to shoot as many balls as possible. Sitting and watching someone else shoot will not make you better. Drills can improve a shot you are having problems with. But the mechanics have got to be perfected then reinforced with many thousands of repetitions. You must also be able to identify and acquire the correct SPOT on the object ball every time. The only way to do that is to shoot constantly and with dedication and focus making every shot count. Even the simplest shots can help reinforce stroke, and position. Here is the best way to practice: spread out the 15 balls on the table, place the QB in the middle and try to run them all with perfect delivery, spotting, and position. Then repeat a hundred times. It should take less then 5 minutes a rack. The shots you will be attempting are shots you will encounter in a typical 8 ball game. But you must have the drive and passion to do this 4 to 8 hours every day. You will improve significantly using this approach. Using this approach I am now pocketing over 90% of my shots. If you play someone who is way better then you, you are spending at best 30% of your time shooting - very bad IMHO.