Pool Playing vs Practice, or Why-Don’t-I-Improve
By Reg Hardy
Casual billiards players often voice the opinion they are doing something wrong because playing once a week hasn’t gotten them a consistently good game.
Yes, they get spurts of gold, a few 3-4-5 ball runs, and yes they somehow get into position for a second shot, but they aren’t advancing on their own personal “King-of-the-Hill” the way they would like and seriously are expecting.
Too many of us get locked into the routine of working a 40–hour week and stopping by the old 8-Spot for a night out with the boys which includes about 4 hours of pool. The nights we lose, we tend to slough off as well at least I got in some good practice. Nope.
Chances are you were playing on a coin op bar box with a group of five-six players so your table time was actually less than half the time you were at the 8-Spot. Then take into account the number of games you sit out because you lost.
Your summary of the night: I find the lack of table time and the lack of just practicing affects my game to where my stroke is not consistent and my position player is off. Am I expecting too much of myself without really getting down and practicing? I think that I should be able to play and remember things that I have achieved before, am I wrong? Oh, if only it were that easy, we’d all be slotted for the IPT million dollar tournaments.
When you move from the billiards practice table to the real thing, you need to keep a couple of things in mind. In your practice session you are in learning mode. When you head to the poolroom for a game, league play, or a tournament, your mode must shift to one of competition.
Practice is really nothing more than a systematic form of training coupled with repetition. Bear in mind that your practice not only enables you to become a better player, but you can’t help but become a better person. Consistent practice should be a growth issue. You are constantly stretching your performance to constantly heighten your ability.
During your practice sessions, pay close attention to yourself. You must know who you are training and what you are trying to learn. You need to find your weaknesses and maximize your strengths. Practice is a very personal thing, depending on your lifestyle. If you are working 40 hours a day, maintaining a family and playing billiards matches 2-3 times a week, your practice time is most likely where the pinch will occur.
To be meaningful, you must make the most of every session you get. Whether you have the freedom to practice 3 hours a day, seven days a week, or whether you can barely squeak in 3 hours a week, it must be priority time. Your use of this time is your personal choice. You are working on eliminating your weaknesses so you need to develop a plan that will increase your strengths.
One more thing, make your practice effective by making it progressive. To maintain your interest in weekly practice, it must be challenging. Each drill you adopt needs to grow harder as you improve. When you can consistently run 4-5 balls, up the ante to 10. When you are very effective at half-table cut shots, move on to 3/4 table spot shots. Only as your drills grow in difficulty, will you begin to master the easy ones.
Reg Hardy writes mostly on billiards topics, primarily for
http://www.billiardscrossing.com Where Good Players Get Better.
His Billiards Crossing website features over 200 billiards resources.
A 7-day Trial Membership is $4.95