Archive for October, 2008

Pool Playing vs Practice, or Why-Don’t-I-Improve

Wednesday, October 29th, 2008

Pool Playing vs Practice, or Why-Don’t-I-Improve

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.

Be sure to visit my websites…
Pool For Beginners
Pool and Pocket Billiards Resource

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 Where Good Players Get Better.

His Billiards Crossing website features over 200 billiards resources.
A 7-day Trial Membership is $4.95


Article Source:,-or-Why-Dont-I-Improve&id=145709

17 Deadly Mistakes That Keep You Losing At Billiards

Monday, October 20th, 2008

17 Deadly Mistakes That Keep You Losing At Billiards

17 Deadly Mistakes That Keep You Losing At Billiards
By Reg Hardy

Chances are, this is where you live in Billiards. You are just beginning and have found you enjoy the game. There is more to it than that. This is a game you can come to love, but if you don’t get out of these 17 deadly mistakes…well I wouldn’t recommend you buy your own cue.

These 17 deadly mistakes show up in four major areas: Vision, Preparation, Execution and Bad Habits. That’s right, pull the sheet away and let’s take a look at them, better still, one by one, eliminate them from your game.

Be sure to visit my websites…
Pool For Beginners
Pool and Pocket Billiards Resource


Deadly Mistake #1

Thinking like a player and not like a contender.

This is not just a game like Canasta or Monopoly.

The day of the social pool player is fading. It is being supplanted by the idea of becoming a steadily learning and improving contender. This is a concept many miss completely when starting out.

You can’t be absorbed with the idea if you win, you will hurt your friend who you happen to be beating. Settle on one objective, I CAME TO WIN!! This will help you focus on a single goal.

Deadly Mistake #2

You have not made a commitment to mastering the Basics of Billiards.

Let’s go back to Canasta a moment: We all know how to shuffle, (well most of us do) cards; we can deal the whole deck; and we can count a hand well enough to decide how we’ll play the game. We don’t have to re-learn these basic every time we sit down to play.

Billiards is and should be the same when it comes to building your foundational skills.

The rock solid basics are stance, grip, bridge, stroke and aiming–we’ll get into the right way in another article, right now we are trying to slip free of deadly mistakes.

Deadly Mistake #3

You are not dedicated to lifelong learning—Billiards is not a game of instant success. You will find steady improvement only comes over a period of years and much practice.


Deadly Mistake #4

You don’t have a game winning strategy and don’t know where to find one. Strategy is your overall approach to the game whether you play in weekly matches, leagues or tournaments. A good strategy consists of several tactics such as Safety Play, Break and Run, and pattern play.

Deadly Mistake #5

You have not taken the time to find your unique game–Look at things not instrumental to your game, positioning of your grip hand, to cup or not cup the grip wrist, maybe a new twist to the bridge. Be an early adopter of new technology like specialized eyewear. How about the new cue extensions?
Practice to perfect right or left hand cue use. In fact, all attempts at becoming unique will involve a lot of practice to make it a habit.

Deadly Mistake #6

You have no confidence in your skill set—You lack consistency and find it difficult to maintain a game plan for more than two or three shots.

Deadly Mistake #7

You focus on any pocket-hugging ball on the table as the target of choice without regard to its higher purpose.

Deadly Mistake #8

You don’t prepare yourself by knowing your opponent’s game. Study your opponent from the chair or from the sidelines, even when you are not playing him or her.

Deadly mistake #9

You don’t persist in developing a pre-shot routine that employs all the basics. This is a must for your game. It is the starting point for every shot. If you don’t have one, eventually you will falter.

Deadly mistake #10

You fear rejection—The closer you get to a win, the greater your anxiety, you don’t want to cause disappointment in others. If you think this isn’t true, how come you have a hard time playing someone who isn’t even close to your skill level?

Deadly mistake #11

You do not make runs because you have no rhythm because you have no routine because you are too easily distracted. Watch a billiards pro. You can almost set a metronome to his or her game.


Deadly mistake #12

You shoot poorly because you are trying to remember a dozen different stroke shot techniques instead of one: sinking the ball in front of you.

Deadly mistake #13

You leave the table before the balls stop rolling and have no idea why you missed.

Deadly Mistake #14

You set up your bridge over a ball with wobbly fingers and then go through an aiming routine that has your cue swinging like a searchlight.

Deadly Mistake #15

You pass on a simple rail shot in favor of a table length cut shot.


Deadly Mistake #16

You resort to the mechanical bridge when a little stretching across the table would give you a more solid base for the shot.

Deadly Mistake #17

You exhibit a negative pessimistic attitude as opposed to a positive, optimistic outlook for your game.

Reg Hardy is chief cook and bottle washer at Billiards Crossing, the web’s only exclusive members only site devoted to the fine art of billiards improvement. This site now featues over 120 articles, e-books and other resources specifically for casual pool players who want to better their game. Check out the trail membership, log onto the Headspot forum and book a session in the Cross Talk chat room. Stop by, Where Good Players Get Better!

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Custom Pool Cue – Do You Have One?

Tuesday, October 14th, 2008

Custom Pool Cue – Do You Have One?

Custom Pool Cue – Do You Have One?
By Geoff Arnold

What is a Custom Pool Cue?

If you don’t know, or think that you do, then read on.

Many people are going to already know what it is. More importantly, they know what it is not!

It is not a cue that you bought in Sport Mart from a rack of another 100 identical cues. It is not a cue which has the signature of the most recent World Champion up the side…and it is not a cue that you chopped the end off because it was too long to play with in your little games room at home, although this is actually closer to being a Custom Pool Cue than the others.

Be sure to visit my websites…
Pool For Beginners
Pool and Pocket Billiards Resource

Custom Pool Cues are built by Master Tradesmen who learned their trade, like a musician or sculptor, creating works of art they can be proud of. The cues are built one at a time, not on a production line. Custom pool cues are of the highest quality. The cues are cut from exotic woods, ivory and other inlay materials are used, making a truly beautiful object to hold and to use while you master your game. Any faults found during production or after completion will cause the cue to be discarded and will never make it out of the workshop.

When should you get a Custom Pool Cue?

If you play at the pool hall and are:

  • tired of using a different cue every time you play.
  • tired of using cues that when you roll them along the table, the tip nods up and down like those little dogs in the car.
  • your technique doesn’t seem to improve any more.

You know when the time has come for you to get your own cue, just be sure the cue you are getting, the cue that you will be using from now on suits your needs. Test out as many as possible to be sure that the cue is going to suit your dimensions, your technique, your strengths and your weaknesses…well these should start to diminish. This of course is advice for those of you that are going to buy a cue of your own from the shelf.

Now for those of you who are going to get a Custom Pool Cue. Well you also should know which dimensions suit you best, which type of tip you like, how heavy your cue should be. Your cue is going to be special. Your cue will be made to your specifications (length, width and weight) and if you want, even with your own artistic design, making it a true Custom Pool Cue.

Your Custom Pool Cue will be one of a kind. Totally original and possibly collectible making not only an improvement to your game, but a real investment for the future.

Geoff Arnold

For More information on Custom Pool Cues and Custom Pool Cue Makers, then follow the link:

The Custom Pool Cue Blog.

Article Source:—Do-You-Have-One?&id=1463681

Humor: Playing Pool

Saturday, October 4th, 2008

Here’s a funny story that I found on Thanks to Leigh Goessl for letting us post it here.

Playing Pool

by Leigh Goessl

Playing pool is a lot of fun, especially when you aren’t very good at it.

A few years back a friend of mine and I went to a local billiards hall, had a drink and then ventured off to hit the tables. Each of us showed an aura of confidence in our abilities to play pool; I know strutted right up to that pool table with an air of feeling like I knew what I was doing. Hah!

After all, I’d played pool lots of times when I was younger and never seemed to have a problem whacking, I mean tapping, the ball and getting it to go in the proverbial pocket. My brothers and I used to play at my grandparents all the time, and I have some pretty fond memories of being able to aim and tap that ball in the direction it was supposed to go and right into the pocket.
Read more…

Make That Cue Ball Dance!

Wednesday, October 1st, 2008

When I go to a pool hall or bar to play some occasional pool, I usually don’t bother to bring my cue stick. Sometimes I forget it and other times I just don’t want to be bothered with carrying it around. I don’t like to leave the stick in my car and expose it to theft or temperature extremes.

On these occasions I just take a stick off the rack to shoot with. You can usually find a fairly straight cue stick if you look around. Most places will have a half decent selection of them available.

One thing I notice about these sticks though, is the cue tips are often slick and shiny. Many racks are broken, games are played, and no one maintains the cue tips. It’s not really anyone’s fault, it’s just the way it is.

Be sure to visit my websites…
Pool For Beginners
Pool and Pocket Billiards Resource

A smooth, slick tip, however, is not conducive to good cue control and the successful use of english. When I try to apply some draw to a shot with one of these sticks, I either get hardly any draw at all or I end up jumping the cue ball up in the air.

Attempting to get some effective side spin on the cue ball just doesn’t work when the cue tip won’t grab the ball enough to really get it spinning. I have a little more luck with follow or top spin, but you can’t shoot a quality game with top spin alone.

Miscues are another consequence of having a cue tip that is too smooth. You can’t get the needed friction on the ball without a little texture on the tip to enable it to hold on to some tip chalk.

Since I don’t have any fancy cue tip tools to roughen up the tip like a tip pick tool or a cue cube scuffer, I took along a small piece of medium grit sand paper to my Friday night pool session. I selected a stick off the rack and ran the sandpaper over the tip a little bit to roughen it up. Once the tip was rough I applied a liberal dose of tip chalk and broke the rack.

WOW! What a difference! Just that small degree of roughness on that cue tip made all the difference in the world to my ability to control that cue ball. With the pits and hollows of the leather allowing places for the chalk to hang on to, I got much more friction on the ball and that tip grabbed that cue ball like it had glue on it.

I started getting exceptional draw on the cue compared to what I was getting earlier. When I put some side english on the shot, the cue ball was spinning around like it was in a pinball game. My cue ball was literally dancing around the table.

I was getting so much action on the cue ball that I had to start toning down my spin. The cue was traveling way beyond where it would normally go with an unroughened tip. It actually made the playing more fun from watching that cue ball dancing and spinning around.

Once I toned it down and got the feel for the new action a game or two later, my cue ball positioning really improved immensely. I won a lot of games that night and had a hell of a good time doing it.

That little piece of sandpaper has a new home in my car now. Hot or cold weather won’t adversely affect it, and I want to make sure I have it available to roughen up my tips from now on. It really made that much of a difference in my playing.

If you play with bar cues, or even if you have your own cue and don’t roughen the tip occasionally, I suggest you try this little trick before your next games of pool. It only takes less than a minute, but makes for a whole night of much-improved pool playing.

Roughen that cue tip, chalk it up good, and make YOUR cue ball dance!