Practice does indeed make, maybe not perfect, but at least better. In the past few months I had been winning with relative ease on APA League. Not practicing, just playing on Sunday nights and winning, figured it was all good. I even made best of the best. We made playoffs in both 8 and 9 ball. Giving us a few weeks between matches. Tonight in the first match of the new session I got my ass handed to me. A 5rank (him) vs me a 4rank, 4 games to none. I did perform very well in 9ball however and won my game decisively. But everything was difficult, my shots were not seen and hit. They were seen, thought about, looked over, and then hit. A true struggle.
In short, I'm just saying if you are good, or looking to be good. Never, ever, get complacent. The game isn't taking time off, it remains the same always. If you want to become better or maintain a level, you have to work for it. I don't just mean hit a few balls a day, or a few games. I'm talking work. Work sucks, I know...but it is the only way to better pool, as I have learned the hard way. I'm not sure when my best of the best tournament is, but I do know 9ball City Cup Championship's are next Saturday. I will be playing at least 4 hours a day until then after tonight's stress test. I would rather work to have fun, than have fun to work, (does that make sense?) especially when it really counts. I once became arrogant and over confident too, had the same results. I became my own worst enemy.
Practice Practice Practice, best advice I can give.
- quickshot on 6/1/2009 10:46:10 AM
I agree 100% just so long as one is practicing the right thing. Something many beginners do not do.Sometimes getting ones butt kicked is good for the soul. Makes one stop and think.
- Mitch Alsup on 6/1/2009 11:20:13 AM
Never (ever) confuse practice with play. Practice is the drugery that makes the play fun.
Practice should begin by making sure your stroke is pure. This consist of 10 long shots of the CB to the end rail back to the tip of the cue stick. I then progress to placing a OB on center spot, CB on head spot, and playing a stop shot on the OB, bouncing it off the end rail, contacting the CB and hopefully bringing the CB back to the tip. If you can do this, the stroke is pure. Once the stroke is pure, work on standard drills.
Everyday practice should include making 100 long straight corner to corner shots (note: not shooting, making), 50 side to corner kicks, corner to side kicks, corner to corner kicks; 50 side to corner banks, corner to side banks, corner to corner banks; 50 medium cuts, 50 80-85 degree cuts; 50 OB frzen to rail shots, and 10-20 racks of some kind of drill where CB control is the object (diagnosing and solving broken racks). This takes me about 1:30 every day.
Then I start playing for another 1:30+. When by myself; this generally consists of 2 drills. Take all 15 balls and place them in the center of the table about 1.5-2 balls widths apart. Give yourself BIH and run the rack. Then take all the balls and place them in an open pattern on the table, give yourself BIH and run the rack. the first drill helps yo solve tight clusters, the second CB positioin to run open racks. Count your strokes (and fouls). I generally average 18 strokes per rack (what I call down 3).
- Justanotherevolutionary on 6/1/2009 6:34:05 PM
Good tips Mitch, I'll take those to heart and try them myself.
Quickshot, I got my butt kicked good last night. Hurt for a while. But I thought about it today and decided, just like you said, I needed it. It has given me more vigor and commitment, something I was beginning to lack.
Thank you both.
- bobkat1203 on 6/17/2009 12:09:41 PM
I commend you for your humility! It's nothing worst than an arrogant player that brings an "A" every now and then and thinks he's # 1 ranked in the world. I'm sure others think the same way you do, except you had the "balls" enough (no pun intended) to put it out on the forum. Advice well taken.
Keep your head in the game and get'em next time!
- billiardsforum on 6/18/2009 3:26:19 AM
Mitch - I loved your post (as well as those of the others in the thread) but not sure I agree with you on the quoted part above. Well, actually I do agree with it. Play is so much more fun when you are "well practiced" but the part I disagree with is the implied notion that practice is not fun.
It sometimes isn't - like doing eight-zillion drills just to find out the next session you probably need to do eight zillion more to make that shot consistently. But then the other times (about half-the-time for me) I find practice incredibly fun, and un-stressing after a busy day in the office.
For me, the most "productive practice" is when I practice against someone who is so much better than I. The better they are, the more I get out of the practice. Even if they aren't formally teaching you, just watching how they plan shots, execute them, and just the "way" they play basically teaches me so much its unreal.
Then the next time I practice, I almost try to picture that other play just making every shot, and picture the "way" they played. I don't know if I'm explaining it right, but I'm sure some of you will know what I'm talking about.
- billiardsforum on 6/18/2009 3:36:01 AM
@Justanotherevolutionary - great advice, and I'd add that it's quality, not quantity that makes the practice practice practice really pay off.
What do you guys do to make sure your practice is effective? For me, as I noted above, it's making sure that I practice with someone who is considerably and consistently better than I am. If I do this for even 25% of my practice time, I find I get more out of 15 minutes of playing with an advanced player than I would if I practiced alone for a whole hour. Start your hour with a set or two with someone who can beat you senseless, and your remaining 75% of the time will be much more progressive, in my opinion.
- Mitch Alsup on 6/18/2009 9:16:40 AM
@billiardsforum - I might have slightly overstated the case of drudgery during practice - but it is this contrast that sets practice against play. What you call productive practice (playing another much your superior) I would not call practice, but it surely is a learning experience!
The bane of many in practice is that they get bored to the point that they do not concentrate on actually making the shot at hand, but just bang balls around the table. If you are an APA-4 (maybe even 3) or better this kind of practice is actually hurting your game rather than helping it.
- Justanotherevolutionary on 6/21/2009 9:23:32 PM
So I said I was going to practice more and commit more. Well I've been working 12 hour days with barely enough time to eat, can't get any golf in, and pool is almost non existent in my life anymore, except on Sundays. I really got it taken to me tonight in both 8 and 9. Yes, that's right, I'm whining. But this goes further to prove my point. No practice, no good. I've pretty much lost everything. My english is off, my stroke is off, my decision making is awful. I used to excel in kick shots, now I can barely even get a hit. Banks were always a bit hard for me, but getting a lot better, now they are almost impossible again. Maybe it was partly "just one of those nights", but I know for a fact, lack of practice is just killing my game. What took me months to learn and get kinda good at, has taken A month to lose and get bad at.
All I'm saying is, if you are a developing player that is getting noticeably better to yourself and others, don't let it go. It takes a long time to develop a good game and a short time to lose it. I'm so upset with my losses tonight that I don't really care anymore, I'll work 12 hours, and play 3 a day. That leaves me enough time to eat food and complain about stuff to you fellas =)
Great addition there. Hitting 50 committed and concentrated shots is better than smacking around 500 balls with no real intent or desire.
- Nursey1313 on 6/23/2009 6:29:00 AM
@Justanotherrevolutionary - I hear where you're coming from. I know when I don't play for a while that my game is off too, it is like riding a bike, it comes back to you.
- Justanotherevolutionary on 6/23/2009 4:37:46 PM
This is kinda off topic I guess, but I just gotta say that is a great avatar nursey. Hilarious. That cat has a better shooting posture than me! lol
- Nursey1313 on 6/24/2009 3:01:57 PM
@Justanotherrevolutionary - Thanks, I like your avatar too. I got it off this site. From now on, I am going to call you "J" LOL. That is just too long a screen name.
@billiardsforum - have you ever thought about finding out how to post your link on the APA site. I think it would be cool for members to have a place to chat. People that don't know that there is billiards forums out there. I don't think that there is anything like that on there already, is there?
- jerandichat on 6/24/2009 10:29:48 PM
ohhh... ill take it like billiard is one of the talent.. if you got the talent you can play the 9ball. And with the practice it will surely help you on gaming. but if you are not one of this talent maybe its time to explore yourself :D
Moderator note - nice try. No free advertising buddy.
- Justanotherevolutionary on 6/28/2009 10:00:03 PM
Maybe I misinterpret this, but are you saying if a player doesn't have a natural "talent" for the game, he/she should reconsider whether or not to continue playing? And that practice is basically only so good for so much? I could not disagree more. I've been playing for almost 1 year now and can at times be a top player in our entire district. My father was a great player, my brother is as well, but without practice I'm just another player. I believe the word here is "passion."
Tiger Woods didn't become the GOAT because he was born good. He works his ass off every day, every year, every tournament. You are not born any better or worse than anyone else, we're all the same, some just find a niche, and want it more than others. " If you got the talent you can play the 9ball " yeah ok dude. And if you got the brains you can write better statements than this.
Oh, and leave the moderating to @billiardsforum... He has a "talent" for it.
- Justanotherevolutionary on 7/14/2009 12:40:05 PM
Well, been practicing a lot more lately. It showed up in the last tournament for sure. It began open table as the opponent scratched on the break. I proceeded to accidentally run into the 8 and knock it in, first shot! Boy was this upsetting. He's a 6 and I'm a 4. So I just made him a 5 basically, handing him 1 game. I got out on the next game only to miss the 8 and have him run it out and win the 2nd game. So now I'm not too happy =) This is never good for my opponent, I bury my eyes into the table and win 3 in a row to take the match. And it all came back to my practice. When I practice, I'm in my own world, nothing else matters, so I applied it to my game and the rest was history.
This kinda bothers me though. I like to joke around and BS with my opponent but I always suck when I do. I can't get any rhythm and just don't care. I guess it comes down to, being in it for the fun and social enjoyment, or being in it to win. I'm there for the pool, not the people, so to me it's all about winning or at least throwing my best game. I suppose I'm more of a Jasmine Ouschan type (I do NOT look happy when I'm playing) than an Alex Pagulayan. I guess people can just deal with it and hopefully understand I'm not a jerk, just a serious, and determined player.
- Fenwick on 7/25/2009 7:10:12 AM
This could be titled, "Never (ever) confuse practice with play. Practice is the drudgery that makes the play fun."
I am back to getting lessons at least once or twice a week but I can only practice for a 1/2 hour at a time at most. Not because I hate it, I do, but someone always wants to play.
What I do is during the first match, (14-1), is work on my stroke, grip and perhaps 1 or 2 things I was taught during my last lesson. I also observe my mistakes and try to correct my flaws during this first game to 100 points. These games are friendly compaction. I know you shouldn't mix practice and play but I'm forced to. I don't care if I win or lose game one but I do care that by the end of the first match I'm in stroke. Sometimes I'll catch a gear before the first match is over and go on auto pilot. So I stop thinking practice and switch to just playing my game. Some times I'll manage to win the first match.
On league night I'll get a table alone 1 or 2 hours before match time and try to work on problem shots but my coach is usually there so it turns in to his critiquing my progress. We play. He's careful to remind me to forget everything but the game during my matches.
Once the lights come on and the match starts it all game. My coach will take a chair away from the action and watch! After a few minutes I don't even know he's there. In fact I can't even hear the music blasting in the background. I don't over think, I try to just play my game. Where I have a problem some nights is, focusing on the job at hand, not the results! Last week for example I was more worried about my standings in the league then the game at hand. Total disaster.
Justanotherevolutionary, I'm the same way. During my matches I don't want to talk and I'm a very social person. It takes me out of my game and I have told my partner during the match I don't want to talk. He's very understanding.
- bowlerhatman on 1/16/2010 10:42:23 PM
I've been playing and practicing a lot recently, on average about 2 hours a day, where before I only had time for about 4 a week, always on a friday afternoon. However, I've noticed that although my good games are much better than they were, I don't play mu best pool for a higher percentage of games, even though I'm thinking just as much about the game. I'm wondering if there is such a thing as too much practice. Has anybody else experienced this sort of thing?
- quickshot on 1/17/2010 6:21:24 AM
@bowlerhatman - When you say practice what kind do you do? Drills, games and what kind?
- Fenwick on 1/17/2010 6:32:51 PM
@bowlerhatman - I believe you can practice wrong too much. I know I have in the past. There are lots of instructors out there who have DVD's but IMO, Play Better Pool: Mastering the Basics by Scott Lee is the one that helped me the most but it didn't happen over night. It took me 4 months to completely change my game for the better. Quickshot or Mitch may offer a few other instructors that should help your game.
- quickshot on 1/17/2010 7:42:19 PM
Fenwick has mentioned a good dvd to consider and if he recommends it, it will be worth while. There are a few others out there but I would rather not muddie the waters with overkill. Fours hours a week does not seem like a lot of time for practice and playing, but if that is your timetable it must suffice. One can raise to a certain level and run into a road block because in order to keep moving up new ideas and practice patterns must be developed. There are no magic bullets. Not really knowing what you are pursuing, or how, leaves a lot of questions. If you have them let us know and we will try to answer them
- bowlerhatman on 1/18/2010 3:25:48 AM
My practice mostly consists of game after game, but I've recently started doing some basic drills too, like long straights, with the CB returning to the tip of the cue, and cut shots where the OB is frozen to the foot rail. But given that it's been 35+ degrees celcius here recently, I've been lacking enthusiasm for drills. And everything else.
Yeah, being at school last year made it difficult to practice or play much, and Uni this year will do much the same I imagine.
Thanks for the DVD reference, I'll try and get my hands on a copy. Thanks for your help guys, if any more questions arise I'll surely post them for your consideration.
- bowlerhatman on 1/27/2010 12:07:14 AM
I was just playing a couple of solo games today, and stumbled across something that greatly improved my game, I stopped focussing on the balls, and started focussing on the pockets. I found this worked really well for me.
- steve1 on 2/4/2010 10:05:04 AM
@Mitch Alsup - When you place balls in an open table do you run them in any specific order, or do you drop the solids then the stripes then the eight ball?
And, when you guys practice do you play the balls in any order, or do you just throw them up on the table and shoot them down?
I sometimes take turns like I was playing somebody and shoot solids till I miss then shoot stripes till I miss, then the eight. And on occasion I just shoot any ball in any order and do my best to get position on my next ball.