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How do Top Players get there?

How do Top Players get there?

What does it take to be one of the best?

Anyone know how the great pool players got to be where they are. How they learned to be so good. Did they have coaching did they play every day for hours and hours I'm just wondering what's the best way to learn this game. I've played for years and still consider myself average. I used to have a pool table and now I don't and it costs a fortune to play every day.

How do Top Players get there?

Replies & Comments

  1. thesharkbilliardsforum on 5/17/2009 10:20:26 AM

    You are going to get two types of responses - some will say "hours of practice" and some will say "you are born with the ability"

    I believe the true legendary players have a combination of both.

    I'd say the legends of billiards and snooker were born with the innate and natural ability of athletics, precision, balance, hand-eye co-ordination, and most importantly, overall motor skills. If you are not one who is naturally graced with exceptional ability in these areas, there are lots of billiard practice drills and routines to help you develop each one.

    Next, the legends who are born with these abilities go from "very good" (which they are without even trying) to "great" by practicing regularly.

    There are a hundred ways to look at it, but I think one must consider their "bottleneck" - that is, what is the single biggest skill flaw that affects your game, or tournament performance RIGHT NOW.

    That is the one thing you should work on. Once you become proficient in that one area, start the assessment over again, and pick your new biggest bottleneck to performing well.

    When I was a kid, I was a competitive skateboarder, competing as an amateur at the national level. I was not born with any ability. I had to practice 3 hours for every 1 hour of practice of some of the "naturals".

    After all these years and looking back, I can see that the one thing that most affected my skateboarding abilities, was my physical health and the lack of strength in my legs.

    I was relatively out of shape, and my legs were not as strong as they could have been. If i had just spent a year in the gym working on my leg strength, it would have been a game changer for me.

    Sometimes its the things you wouldn't think of. (like working out in a gym, and eating health would be the last think on the mind of a skateboarder trying to improve.) I think the same is true for Billiards.

  2. thesharkMitch Alsup on 5/17/2009 10:44:47 AM

    I have a friend who is semi-pro. We make jokes of his abilities with the cue ball. He can arrive at the pool hal after a 12 hour drive, tired and ragged out, walk up to the table and display skill behind the stick most of can only see on TV. Kenny is warmed up at the moment his eyes open at the start of a new day--{friggen amasing}

    To rise into the top echelon of pool players is going to take natural tallent, a through understanding of the physics of pool*, and the desire to win, which fuels the metal vigor to go out and practice 4-6 hours a day. Not "banging balls around" practice, "setting up difficult shots and making them 10 times in a row before moving on" practice.

    Dilligent practice will got get it done--but is an absolute necessity to get into playing shape. The desire to win will not get it done--unless it is used to fuel the mind Natural ability will not get it done--unless coupled with the above And then you have to start playing in competition to get the mental game in order

    Wive's, family, friends are expendible if you really want to get to the top

    (*) physics as to how bals inteact in collisions with and without various forms of spin--not the icky looking equations that drive scientists mad.

  3. thesharkquickshot on 5/17/2009 11:17:02 AM


  4. thesharktheshark on 5/17/2009 1:04:11 PM

    I believe the best players have natural ability. I also believe there are too many really good players to all be born with amazing natural ability. I'd like to think that with the right practice average players can become great but most just practice by playing games over and over either with friends or alone pocketing random balls.

    I would think that by talking to, watching and playing better players your skill will improve. Also by playing in tournaments etc.. to help with the mental aspect.

    How can I learn about up and coming tournaments. How can I get advise from great players or play great players ?

    @billiardsforum: I think your advise of selecting your biggest "flaw" to work on is a great idea.

    I think mine at the moment is plain and simple "accuracy". I have trouble just aiming a simple cut shot.

    Also there are times I can walk up to a table and be so confident I can have amazing runs. Other times I'm chasing the same ball around the table endlessly it's so frustrating.

  5. thesharkquickshot on 5/17/2009 4:13:18 PM

    I hit the wrong key before. As @billiardsforum mentioned there are various things that influence our level of play. I say practice relentlessly, but if you are practicing the wrong thing or taking the wrong approach to practice you are wasting your time. If you really want to get into the upper levels there are seminars out there such as Tom Simpson's 3 day school. Do not expect to get all the good info for nothing. You want to play professional pool it is simple. It is no different than getting a college degree. You have to take lessons from the pros, maybe more than one, Play and practice what you learn and you will get there. There are no short cuts. And there will always be someone better than you. The natural talent is developed after the knowledge is gained simply because the confidence level climbs.There are no free lunches.

  6. thesharkJustanotherevolutionary on 5/18/2009 6:55:44 AM

    I agree with everything stated. I would just like to add that a strong defensive game is an essential skill to develop. In 8 or 9. And to accompany that with good decision making. When to pass up a hard shot, and when to go offensive. You said you have trouble making difficult cuts. By no means should you quit trying them or practicing them, but you may want to choose to play defensively if possible. A good way to develop a defensive game is playing safeties against yourself and then trying to get out of them, but don't just try to "get out of it." Try to make the ball or play a defense again. Every shot should have a planned approach and end result, not just a "hit." Also don't forget to look to the banks or kicks, rather than a difficult cut.

    And don't let the thought of a defensive shot being unsportsmanlike get to you. It is perfectly legal, and 50% of the game. It's just another shot.

  7. thesharktheshark on 5/18/2009 3:10:32 PM

    I would like to learn which are the best top players to learn from. I'd like to be on the path to reaching the upper level of the game since I enjoy it very much.

    Justan I unless the shot is difficult to very difficult I usually don't play a safety but I have no trouble going for one.

    Think my biggest issue is just being accurate and confident with typical cut shots or easy banks. I'm not sure if my aim is off or if I'm moving my arm incorrectly not hitting where I'm aiming consistently. I really need to do some drills.

    Any advise on inexpensive ways to practice as I don't own a table. Best price I found there's a place by me charges 10bucks from 6pm til midnight or from noon til 6pm all the pool you can shoot. I don't really need to shoot that much I'd like to go somewhere for 30 minutes or so every couple days.

  8. thesharkJustanotherevolutionary on 5/18/2009 8:28:33 PM

    You could try applying english, for shot control and shape. But maybe you do. I simply don't know how you shoot so I can't really give you solid advice. I'll just say english is feared by most and used by the best. You might always hear "center ball," in my opinion that is complete BS and a shameful tip. Good luck to ya.

  9. thesharkquickshot on 5/18/2009 9:37:56 PM

    I gave you the name of one of the top instructors in the business. There are others also if you will take the time to find them.

    Think my biggest issue is just being accurate and confident with typical cut shots or easy banks. I'm not sure if my aim is off or if I'm moving my arm incorrectly not hitting where I'm aiming consistently. I really need to do some drills.

    I'm afraid my friend, that your biggest issue is DENIAL. You just posted 7 reasons why your game is not good. I said this before and i will say it again. If you want to make the upper level of the game you have to take lessons from those who are qualified to teach them. Only then will you be able to move up one level at a time and in about ten years, if you are lucky and become good enough, you may play with the pros. There is nothing wrong with setting your sights high as as long as you are willing to pay the price to get there.

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How do Top Players get there?

  • Title: How do Top Players get there?
  • Author: (Mark Snyder)
  • Published: 5/17/2009 10:10:45 AM