I am looking for lessons for beginner pool players.
When it comes to playing pool, I'm a total newbie. I barely know how to hold a stick properly. Some of my friends play 8-ball regularly at a local bar, but they don't want me to play with them anymore unless I get better soon. I know it makes no sense as it's hard to learn without practice, but I already tried to explain that to them... Never mind. The thing is I simply can't shoot accurately. I can rarely even hit the cue ball properly. What kind of sticks am I supposed to use and how should I hold my hand when shooting? Is there a "most effective" way? My point is that I would like to get a book that starts from the beginning and assumes that I know nothing about the game.
I just find the stuff described on some pro pool pages just seems to hard and complicated for me so I've been searching on the web for additional pool information for the last couple of days. I found this guide in another thread. I know it speaks about unofficial rules but I read them and they appear to be quite similar to the way my friends play. After all, I'm not planning to go pro for quite some time. I've posted the link below so if you have time, I'd like you to check it out and tell me if it's any good.
Thank you in advance! I'm looking forward to your answers.
- Fenwick on 7/26/2012 12:18:08 AM
I'm a old sailor not a bold sailor. Find a Mentor. F what your so called friends say. I would teach you. It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog.
Find new friends!
- JackBlack23 on 7/26/2012 5:25:36 AM
I'll certainly try. But for now, is the guide good?
- Zeke on 7/26/2012 7:59:30 AM
I urge you to get a book. The one I like is directed to newbies. The title: "Simply Pool" The author: Joe Hardesty. (link goes to amazon.com) It not only shows you what to do, it suggests how you should think.
There are hundreds of books out there. This one however worked for me!
You already have a leg up: You're here asking questions. Great start!
- JackBlack23 on 7/26/2012 1:06:24 PM
Thanks for the advice. I may find someone to teach me how to shoot... but what about the thinking, tactics, strategy and that kind of stuff? Is it described well in the guide in your opinion? I'd like to get a book, but I don't really want to spend cash right now :/
- Zeke on 7/26/2012 3:08:14 PM
Jack, if 15-bucks for a book that'll explain it - is too steep, who's paying for your table time?
OK, look in your library and take the book out for free ;-)
Once you have the knowledge, you own it forever!
Here's a link: http://www.amazon.com/Simply-Pool-Course-Better-Billiards/dp/1580800610
- Fenwick on 8/11/2012 1:04:41 PM
I have a copy of, How to Play Pool Right by Jerry Briesath. You want it I'll send it to you free of charge. It's not a boot leg copy.
- Mitch Alsup on 8/13/2012 9:50:47 AM
Body position: pool version: Here the body is 45 degrees to the line of the shot, the stance is moderately wide with both feet pointing 90 degrees from each other.
Body position: snooker version: Here the body is almost 'normal' to the line of the shot--that is 85 degrees from the line the cue ball will roll down. The feet are almost parallel.
In both cases, the head is over the cue, with the dominant eye over the center line of the cue. The Thorax is bent at the waist and the shooting arm is bent at 90 degrees, the forearm is straight down while the upper arm is level with the floor.
Holding the pool cue: The hand of the shooting arm is relaxed allowing the fingers to cup inwards and allowing the thumb to cradle the cue. For most shots one does not have to hold onto the cue as gravity will provide all the force necessary to hold the cue in your hand. If the gravity in your corner of the world does not provide such a force, you are shooting too hard.
The Bridge hand: The bridge hand is placed on the table. Most players put the palm of their hand on the table for added stability. The hand is rotated (somewhat uncomfortably at first) into the cue so that the index finger becomes the surface over which the cue shaft rides. The Pointing finger loops over the shaft, while the thumb supports the shaft from underneath. By and large, the thumb is used to control how high on the cue ball the tip hits while the pointing finger is used to control the shaft during the stroke. Many people have the end of the thumb and the end of the pointing finger touch and become a loop through which the shaft moves. The index finger is the fulcrum, the pointer and thumb the adjustments. The shooting hand can be used in addition to the bridge hand to control the angle of the cue into the cue ball. For now, try to get the cue stick as level to the table as possible.
The stroke: The stroke consists of a back swing and a forward swing, some people put a slight pause between the back swing and the fore swing. The important thing here is that the swing be smooth, without tension, the back swing should take at least 1 full second, and the fore swing about 0.7 seconds. This is fast enough to roll the cue ball down table and back up table. The tip of the cue must not move up or down, or right or left during this process. One way to develop a good stroke is to place an EMPTY coke bottle on the pool table and set up as if the mouth of the bottle were the cue ball. Then stroke through the mouth and all the way to the back of the bottle without touching the sides of the mouth. When you can do this 50 times in a row, it is time to hit the cue ball.
Hitting the Cue Ball: You want to hit the cue ball just above the exact middle of the cue ball (about 60%) this gets the cue ball rolling. So place the cue ball at the head spot and aim at the center diamond at the other end of the table. Take a nice slow stroke and make contact, sending the cue ball down table hitting the rail at the center diamond and bringing the cue ball back up table to where your still extended cue tip remains. If you don't hit the center diamond, something is wrong with your stroke. If you hit the center diamond but the cue ball does not roll straight back, then you are not hitting on the center line of the cue ball (that is you are putting side spin on the cue ball. When you can roll the cue ball up table bounce it off the rail and have it return to your cue tip, you are ready to start practicing shoots. BUT NOT UNTIL.
Making shots: Google up the Ghost Ball system. This system will explain where you need to make contact with the object ball to send it towards the pocket in an intuitive geometrical way. From straight in to about 45 degree cut angles, it works just fine, as you add more difficult cut angles, a touch of outside english is required to compensate for contact induced throw. So, for the first week of practice, just set up shots that are less than 45 degrees and shoot the shot (over and over and over) until you can do it reliably.
Practice: Practice is the kind of thing one does on the pool table when any missed shots will have the table returned to the previous position, and the shot repeated. I recommend that when you will a shot, that you shot it 10 to 50 times making each one of them before moving on.
Observation: Once the cue ball has left the tip of the cue, it is your DUTY to remain motionless and watch the cue ball roll towards the object ball, make contact with the object ball, and then watch the object ball roll towards the pocket. If you move your head you will not be able to see the subtle movements due to spin or table irregularities. You MUST watch the shot play out in order to understand what you may have done wrong, or what you have finally gotten right!
Play: it is what you do AFTER you can do the above.
- JackBlack23 on 8/13/2012 12:19:32 PM
I am sorry for not replying for a while. in the meantime I practised shooting a lot (although I still have troubles with AGS and I'm not even thinking about swerve xD). I still need some advice though.
First off, in the breaking move, which one is more effective: a pulse shot or a swing shot? ramming is a little tricky...
However, my biggest problem now is choosing a good playing strategy. I won't be capable for successive offensive or AD for at least a year of playing. So, should I stick with all-out offensive or is simple defensive better? I tried playing some opponents with SD and it didn't go very well... I read AOO is better for beginners. What's your opinion?
- Mitch Alsup on 8/20/2012 11:59:18 AM
The break shot is performed in your normal stance, and the only thing different is that you swing your arm faster. Do not move your body, do not lead with your head/shoulder/hips this only leads to poor contact with the CB. Until you get some time on the table, break softly, and leave the more experienced player to deal with the cluster of balls that used to be a rack.
As a beginner, you should simply try to make a ball and get position on the next ball. Then see what happens. As you get better and start making position, this becomes AOO but it is not, just yet. Try only to connect three dots, right now. These dots are 1) where the CB is, 2) where the OB is now, 3) where the pocket is now. Shoot the shot, and see where the CB ends up, and repeat until your inning is over.
Also, as a beginner, you should attempt to shoot as SOFTLY as you can, (not as hard as you can--like many beginners). Practice hitting the OB and having it run up to the pocket, hang on the edge for just a second, then drop. Use no more force than necessary. This makes it easier to swing, to keep the body in line and motion free, easier to watch the CB roll down the line, and easier to watch the contact with the OB.
- fcacciola on 2/25/2013 2:25:02 PM
I'm also a newie (though I frequently played for fun with friends since I was a kid, from far too many years ago :), and I found your post fantastic. As I'm waiting for my pool table I've been thinking how should I practice all that I read so far, and you just gave me the exact recipe!
@Jack: I strongly advise you to take it easy. Do not at all bother to win the game just yet. Or, like I always do when I play, consider each shot it's own game and aim to "win yourself" by trying not to fail it. I'm sure at some point I (we) will be able to pocket each ball at will whenever there is a clear shot, and only then I'll begin to worry about strategy, etc... but at this point, I'm way more than happy each time I manage to pocket, and that is (again, only at this point) totally independent of what the opponent does :)
- DsmithBFL on 3/25/2013 11:38:25 PM
Pool or billiards, whichever you play, play with enthusiasm. I won't go into detailed discussion about how to play the game but what I would like to suggest is that always try to use good pool cues. You will enjoy a game only when you play it properly.
- allanpsand on 3/31/2013 9:10:05 AM
The game gets a lot easier if you start off with a stable stance.
On google, search for "pool stance video"
Capture several of the videos onto your smart phone or tablet.
Try to imitate the stance and stroke.
Get down on the shot, check all your basics (feet, hands, head). Then stroke a few shots. Stand up and then repeat.
Have a buddy capture your action on the phone.
Compare those with the videos and make appropriate adjustments.
After about a hundred times, you start automating your body movements. When your fundamentals are stable, you can work on the stroke, aiming, CB speed, spin and all those other things.
Be patient - it does take time to make some of this a routine. Basically, you want to get your feet, arms, and head into position, so you can think about the shot.
- Zeke on 4/2/2013 8:19:48 AM
I thought this on point for us all, but especially a new BTen Pool Cue Buying Mistakes
by Samm Diep-Vidal
Ten Cue Buying Mistakes That Could Leave You with Buyer's Remorse
Depending on how serious you've gotten with your pool game, the next step may be to purchase a pool cue. Your very first cue will be one that you'll always remember and who knows? It could be the one you win your first tournament with. Depending on your pool goals, buying that new cue could be a major commitment. Whether you're tired of that unpredictable "wall"abushka or loaner cue, or you've graduated from your entry-level starter cue, there's a new pool cue out there with your name on it.
As a professional instructor and a player that has gone through a variety of equipment changes herself, I've always tried to steer my peers in the right direction when looking for a new cue that they'll be using for the next few years, ideally. Besides, the more you enjoy your new cue, the more you'll want to use it.
Here are ten common mistakes that may cause you to think twice about that cue you you're considering:
- Not setting a budget. Unless money is not an object for you, always start your search with a budget in mind. Arbitrarily shopping around for cues without deciding on a price point could lead to disappointment once you finally determine how much the cue costs and how much you're prepared to spend.
- Not doing your homework. The more knowledge you have on the various brands and options on the market, the more confident you'll feel that you're making the right decision. With all the technology these days behind the various cues and shafts, it's important to understand what the difference is and ask as many questions as necessary to make the best choice for yourself.
- Choosing the same cue your friend has. It's one thing to consider a recommendation from a friend, but do your own research and narrow your search down to a few options before making a selection. Don't just buy a cue because it's the one your teammate swears by. What's right for him may not be what's right for you.
- Not trying it out first. Obviously, when you're purchasing a cue online, you won't be able to try it first but make sure you're buying from a reputable dealer who has a good return policy and stands behind their products. Whenever possible, if you know someone with the same cue you're looking into, ask them if you can try it out.
- Buying for looks. When you choose fashion over function, you may look good at the table, but that doesn't guarantee you'll be happy with the hit of the cue. Again, remember to do your homework and know all you need to know before making your purchase.
- Being impatient. The best decisions are made with planning and consideration. A pool cue is not something you want to buy in a hurry, especially if you're looking for one you want to hang on to for a while. The best cues come to those who wait.
- Choosing the wrong weight. If you don't know what weight you should pick, 18 or 19 ounces are the most popular. Playing with a cue that is too light or two heavy may cause you to have to work harder than necessary for certain shots. Many times the weight can be adjusted but a cue that is too heavy in the back may cause your follow through to veer off and up in the air due to the extra weight in the butt.
- Not trying different wraps. One of the most important parts of the pool cue is the wrap and how it feels in your hand. If you have never tried out different types of wraps (Irish linen, leather, or wrapless), then you may be in for a surprise if you don't even think about it. If you generally have clammy hands, then you want to make sure you choose a linen or leather wrap to help absorb the moisture.
- Choosing a cue just because it's free or sponsored. If you're lucky enough to have a cue donated to you or are given one by a sponsor, don't just shoot with it because it's free. If your goal is to improve, you'll want to make sure you're happy with your equipment, even if you have to turn down a free cue and buy one for yourself.
- Not buying at all. Buying a cue is making an investment in your game. There are many benefits to owning your own cue. Owning a cue that you picked out for yourself not only increases your confidence and interest in the game but it will also lead to more accuracy and success due to the predictability of using the same equipment each week.
- RotaryPowered on 6/2/2013 8:39:58 AM
I'm sorry to hear about your "Friends".
Though there has to be one of them that you can play with & learn from, if not than you need to just play your ghost at 8 ball. Make it the norm to play everyday; as many games as you can afford or handle.
Just get into it and enjoy it. Make sure to get as low as possible to line up your stick with every shot, I'd personally ignore hitting the ball anywhere but the dead center for now, WATCH WHAT THE CUE BALL DOES i.e. where it ends up or goes.
Also, watch how hard you hit the cue ball, try to hit it as soft as possible contacting the object ball just enough to NOT make it in the pocket but just to get it in the vicinity. If you are playing on shitty tables you will have a hard time with this, you will see the cue ball move to a lower part of the table because the slate has not been planed in a while if ever. They are aggravating for most everyone though can be learned.
Don't let your emotions get the best of you they will always win, every shot is experience whether it goes how you want or not. Remember billiards takes years to get good at and one will always learn something new so cue sports almost can never be mastered, almost.
After you get the hang of the simple stuff, play 8 and 9 ball with pro rules never cut yourself slack and when you reach the last ball whether that be 8 or 9 make sure to bank the cue make contact with the object & sink the shot.
At this point cue ball control will be vital though with a house stick might be harder than necessary, thought I will say playing with a shitty stick will get you ready for when the sticks not the issue it then becomes operator error.
A simple $50 dollar stick with a Kamui black hard or med tip will get you where you need for a while take care of your stick and the only thing you will need will be chalk & a new tip when time comes. The Kamui chalk its expensive though I can say its worth the price. But I'm rambling.
Enjoy yourself just have fun.
- Zeke on 6/2/2013 5:05:38 PM
I urge you to "practice" with the same intensity and focus as when you're playing for bragging rights (or, usually something more substantial like; table time, beer, $$$, etc.)
Casual practice is a waste of time. Casual practice is where bad habits are spawned. This is not to suggest there's no fun in practice. The fun comes from playing well - while practicing - or, as a result of it.