Posts Tagged ‘Pocket Billiards’

Is Playing Billiards an Addiction?

Thursday, June 2nd, 2011

Is Playing Billiards an Addiction?

By Chad Sylvia

Playing Billiards Can Be As Addictive As Drugs

When you go to your local billiards parlor and shoot some pool for the evening, do you happen to see those “regulars” who just look like they spend way too much time in that place? Well, these types of pool players are the focus of this article.

While they might appear to spend too much of their lives in a pool hall, and I’m sure their selective husband/wife or boyfriend/girlfriend feel the same, they are quite addicted to spending the majority of their time on some cloth and slate. This is because these players are entranced with the lure of the game and they are psychologically addicted to billiards like a junkie on the corner.

For more info, visit my websites…
Pool For Beginners
Pool and Pocket Billiards Resource

Let’s be realistic about billiards, if you’ve ever played this game at a decent level you know two things: one, you need to spend hours a day on the table to refine your fundamentals of the game; secondly, you fall into the ambient zone of playing and, what appears to be focusing on the match to you, others may see as engaging in delinquent behavior.

This stems from the gambling Aura which permeates the billiards arena, and what I like to call an inevitable undertaking to grow your horns within the ranks. Many might believe the small and/or sometimes large monetary transactions which occur during pool matches hurt the ideology of the game; personally, I think it strengthens someone’s fervor to stride to be the best. However, there’s a slippery when wet slope here to watch out for.

Billiards Play Can Totally Drive or Run Your Lifestyle

The idea of playing billiards as a hobby is a tough understatement to swallow for any top player in today’s billiards industry. These players have given their entire lives up and have willingly given them to the game. Is this a bad thing? Well, all things considered it depends heavily on how successful of a player you turn out to be.

If you fail to elevate your level of play to what is considered to be “A” player, then you’ll most likely have trouble with most other aspects of life. Not that their is a concrete correlation between the two, it just appears to be the case with most people. Think about it, how many people do you know of that are such high level or aspiring to be play at such a level that have great full time jobs?

There are the select few who’ve already secured careers which allow them the luxury of spending hours a day within the pool hall. This time or persistence to be good may be looked upon as being addicted to the game.

The Junkie Mentality Just Resonates Within Pool Halls

Growing up in a pool hall I can tell you straight here it’s not the best place you’d probably want to provide for a child rearing environment. Most inner city billiards parlors or pool halls are either one or the other when it comes to style: they are presented for the purpose of drawing out the youth for food, music, and fun; or they’re laid out to provide ample income for sustaining itself from table time with family play all while allowing for a sectioned off advanced playing environment.

At the latter, you’ll find many weekly and monthly tournaments, as well as a constant stream of “local” money players engaging in their addictive roles. I say to each their own; And I’m not downing anyone here, I’ve spent 20 years inside the walls of a billiards hall and have engaged in plenty of, for the sake of this article, what we’d refer to as addictive trait behaviors. But I’ve also seen a lot of young lives sucked into this abyss and lives ruined because they lacked the moral boundaries that comes with risk.

Prognosis: Billiards Is A Controllable Addiction

In closing, I’d like to think for the sake of the game that billiards is a controllable addiction. The addictive aspects of the game are nothing different than any other sport in our lives. To join the upper-echelon of athletes, you must dedicate your life to the game. While billiards is unique do to it’s ability because it offers anyone the potential to become elite regardless of their physical condition, it runs a unique risk as well among the player interactions and normal game practices within the billiards industry.

Is this unlike any other professional sport? No, baseball has the lure of steroids, as does football. Then there’s price fixing, and a whole basket of politics I don’t care to embark upon. My point is this. While playing billiards for more than a infrequent recreation can come with lifestyle altering risks, the game is non abrasive to human nature and should be viewed as a legitimate hobby or sport. For some it may be an addiction, for others nothing other than a good time. Crack a Nine!

I’m an avid billiard player for more than 20 years. All my writings on the topic of billiards are to help add insight to up-and-coming players. There is so much to learn in in the game of billiards, and many fail to receive the right information they need to keep them engaged. To me it’s more than a hobby, an obsession according my girl, but the game of billiards is a wonderful experience for young minds. For more information on types of billiard equipment, please check out these Pool Sticks

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Do You Play Pool With Intuition?

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

Do You Play Pool With Intuition?

By Ernie Reynolds

How many times have you just missed a shot and said to yourself “I should have aimed where I started to instead of moving my aim a little”? How often have you questioned the choice of shot you took when you became stuck without a leave?

Do you ever get this little urge in the back of your mind that says “shoot this ball” when your conscious mind thinks that might not be the right shot to take? How about when you make that near-miraculous shot that looked almost impossible because you could just “see it” and felt you might make it?

I believe all these things are your built-in intuition working for you.

For more info, visit my websites…
Pool For Beginners
Pool and Pocket Billiards Resource

In my studies of mental philosophies and the workings of the mind, I have often seen the phrase “quiet the mind”. This basically means to take a mental step back and internally observe the thousands of thoughts that run through our minds constantly. This mental “watcher” can then observe a moment of quiet and solitude while the conscious mind continues to rattle on with random thoughts.

When we become aware of this quiet state we can filter out some of the extraneous, non-helpful thoughts and pick out the thoughts and ideas that can do us some real good. It is my belief that it is these helpful thoughts that make up at least a part of our intuition.

I find that when I am really in the zone and concentrating on the pool game at hand, my intuition sends the ideas much more readily to my conscious mind. It’s not like someone is talking in my ear loud and clear, but it just seems like I am more aware of the urges to shoot a certain shot or put some english on the cue ball in such a way as to have a better leave for my next ball.

It’s a subtle thing, but definitely there if you watch for it.

I feel it most strongly just after breaking a rack. As I am studying the layout of the balls and trying to decide how best to play them, I often get the urge to shoot a certain ball to start the run.

This ball may not be the one I would consciously choose to start with, but I find that if I go with my gut feeling, things often work out on the table. My second, third, or even fourth shot may not be readily apparent at first, but as the game progresses, the shots often keep coming and I can either run or nearly run the table.

A habit I picked up years ago, which I still use today, is to take a deep breath or two and mentally tell myself to “relax”. Especially if you are playing a tough opponent or are behind in a match, the few seconds it takes to do this can pay huge dividends.

I sometimes use the phrase “relax and win” with a deep breath or two. It’s amazing how often I have seen opponents miss easy shots after doing this.

By taking a deep breath and mentally relaxing, you are helping reduce any nervousness you may be feeling. This also helps to quiet the mind and open the way for your intuition to send you some advantageous thoughts and ideas for gaining the advantage and winning the game.

So, I challenge you to become aware and play pool with intuition the next few times you play. Take the plunge and follow the urges when and if they come. You may be pleasantly surprised.

A Solid Bridge Is Indispensable In Pool

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

A Solid Bridge Is Indispensable In Pool

By Ernie Reynolds

I’m always looking for ways to consistently shoot pool well. As I play, I take note of any shots I miss and analyze if I am doing something wrong. I noticed something recently.

I missed a couple easy shots that I would normally make without much effort. The thing was, my shots were way off – I missed the pocket completely with the object ball.

On my next shot after one of these misses, I began my usual practice of going over the basics when I am missing – checking my stance, stroke, how I was hitting the cue ball, if I was bending over enough, etc. It was then that noticed that my bridge was kind of loose and sloppy.

For more info, visit my websites…
Pool For Beginners
Pool and Pocket Billiards Resource

I mostly use the closed bridge when possible, as I feel that it provides the most secure grasp of the pool shaft. The index finger and thumb wrap around the shaft to hold it in place firmly but still allow it to slide for the stroke.

The problem was I wasn’t closing the index finger around the shaft tight enough, and the shaft had some sideways play during the stroke. As a result, when I took the shot, the cue tip was contacting the cue ball somewhere other than the center of the ball, causing the shot to veer off course.

Subsequently, on my next shots I paid attention to this little detail and grasped the shaft more firmly. Problem solved. I sometimes slide my middle finger up against the shaft while using this bridge to help firm up the grasp on the pool shaft.

The fingers of the bridge hand need to have a solid hold on the pool shaft to avoid this problem of the shaft floating around. The bridge MUST remain absolutely still so that the end of the shaft doesn’t move around and affect the tip hit on the cue ball.

I use hand chalk so I can get a firm grip, while still allowing the shaft to slide easily for the pool stroke. Some people prefer using a pool glove for the same reason.

Another aspect of the bridge I might mention is the support for the bridge. The three fingers that support the bridge should be splayed as far apart as possible to provide a rock-solid base. If your cue tip is wavering around because of a weak bridge it is almost impossible to hit the cue ball correctly and consistently, resulting in a lot of missed shots.

I observe many beginner pool players forming a shaky bridge. Their fingers are often not spread out enough to provide a solid base for the bridge, and they don’t grip the cue shaft firmly enough to prevent the tip from moving around.

This is a major stumbling block to their successful shot making. I try, whenever possible, to take the thirty seconds necessary to show them how to form a solid, strong bridge.

If you are not sure of what a solid bridge looks like, take a look at this page on my Pool For site. The pictures there can show much more easily than can be explained the proper way to form a good bridge.

Funny Don’ts and Do’s With Pool Sticks

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011


Funny Don’ts and Do’s With Pool Sticks

By Susan Herrmann

Pool sticks were made for just that… shooting pool. And that means using pool sticks to correctly hit billiard balls on a pool table, not for javelin-throwing in the swimming pool. I have to admit that as a kid, I occasionally used my pool stick for things other than the intended use. Even though using it as a limbo stick wasn’t necessarily harmful to the stick, using it as a sword was. Take some tips from a long-time billiard player who has learned some important do’s & don’ts the hard way, and learn some important tips along the way.

For more info, visit my websites…
Pool For Beginners
Pool and Pocket Billiards Resource

Even though you can make nice chalk designs on the ceiling, don’t. The tip of a pool stick is made of leather and is attached to the shaft of the stick with a ferrule. These are tender spots on a cue stick and should not be used to come in contact with anything other than chalk or a billiard ball. If the rounded leather tip loses its shape or is transformed into the all too common “mushroom”, your shots will be less consistent and it will severely affect your play.

I know of a pool stick that was left outside for a day or two after an exhausting duel. This is really bad. Your pool stick should be stored indoors, upright in a case. Exposure of the elements (sun & moisture) can be fatal. Both the shaft and butt of a billiard cue are made of wood and can warp. If that happens, it cannot be fixed and you may as well use it as firewood where it will serve you better.

If your cue stick is wrapped, don’t peel the wrapping like you would a Budweiser label. Wraps are put there for a reason. They give you a firm, comfortable grip on your cue stick and prevent your hand from slipping when you strike a billiard ball.

Lastly, don’t bounce your cue stick to the beat of the music (or off your competitor’s forehead). The rubber piece on the end of the butt is called a bumper. The bumper is put there to protect the cue stick when it accidentally bumps a wall or the table, or when it rests on the ground. The bumper adds to the precise weight of the billiard cue and should not become loosened. Repetitive impacts to the bumper can also cause the butt to eventually crack.

Take my advice and value your pool stick. If you do, it will perform for you every time. Don’t twirl it like a baton, use it to poke a bear, or use it to pick your nose. There are other instruments for those things. Your cue stick’s health and maintenance are vital in playing your best game.

Susan Herrmann is an avid pool player. Her website is a great resource for collegiate pool table ball sets & pool sticks. Visit today for a huge selection! While you are there, take a look at the pool table covers, pool cue balls & eight balls.

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Mirror Banking

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

Mirror Banking

By Ernie Reynolds

Pool is a great game – especially when you are winning. It’s still awesome even when you are not, but it is all that much sweeter when you win. I played the other night and it seemed like the pool gods were shining down on me.

I was making great cut shots and my position play was better than normal. What I was particularly happy with was the bank shots that were going in. I was dropping some banks that had my opponents shaking their heads.

For more info, visit my websites…
Pool For Beginners
Pool and Pocket Billiards Resource

In one game, I made three table-length bank shots in a row – that really got them muttering. LOL. I wasn’t doing anything special, it seemed like I just had “the eye” working well and the stroke was coming through for me.

I was using my usual mirror banking method to make the bank shots. This is where you basically shoot the same angle going into the bank as the one leaving it. As I mention in the article that is linked to above, there are several methods to play a bank shot, but mirror banking works the best for me.

You really don’t need to use the diamonds on the pool table to use this method, although they can help to visualize the angles sometimes. The diagrams below illustrate a basic bank shot using the mirror method.

bank shot       bank shot

As seen in the Bank 2 diagram, we want to bank the purple ball cross-corner into pocket X. The Bank 3 diagram graphically shows the concept of mirror banking this shot. Using your cue stick to sight in the necessary ball path, move the stick around until you come up with the “bank point” where the object ball needs to bounce off the rail to send it to the pocket.

Once you come up with the correct bank point, your object is to make a cut shot on the object ball to make it contact the rail at the bank point so it will rebound into the pocket. Sometimes the bank angle will be right on the money and all you have to do is hit the object ball straight on, but in this case some angle was needed to correct the trajectory of the object ball.

This method can be used pretty much wherever the object ball is located on the table; however it is probably easiest to visualize the angles when the object ball is fairly close to a rail.

Visualizing the correct mirror angles to make the bank shot is one aspect of this form of banking. Another tricky item is to hit the object ball at exactly the right spot. I call this right spot the “aim spot”.

bank shot

In the diagram Bank 5 above, the aim spot to make the shot shown is pointed out. This aim spot is determined in the same way for a bank as it is for a cut shot – draw an imaginary line through the object ball in the direction you want the ball to take and the point where the line enters the ball is the aim point. If you can make the cue ball contact the object ball at exactly this spot, the shot will go in.

So that’s a quick and dirty explanation of the mirror banking method. To see more, go to my Pool For Beginners site. Of course we are only dealing with one-bank shots here. Multiple-bank shots are a whole different thing and are much more difficult.

As with any other pool shot, practice makes perfect always applies. Spend some quality time visualizing and practicing bank shots and your pool playing will take a step up, as will your number of games won. Good luck!