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View Full Version : What's your beef against slow play?



DoomCue
02-05-2004, 11:22 AM
I'm not sure I understand why so many people detest slow players. Guys like Luc Salvas and Lou Butera are talked about with awe simply because they can run a rack in the blink of an eye. I've heard many complaints about Archer, JJ, Souquet, etc., being slow players and how their slow play somehow detracts from the experience of watching them or playing against them. So I guess what I'm asking is this: why are slow players viewed negatively? Is their pool-playing somehow diminished because they take their time? What's your beef?

BTW, for the record, I'm not a slow player.

-djb

UWPoolGod
02-05-2004, 11:34 AM
I am not a slow player either...but I bet if I did take more time on each shot I would be better and get out more often. I am going to start making a purpose to walk around the table one time before shooting. Hell a shot clock of 30 seconds is actually a long time. Figure most players take 15-20 to shoot if they are running out. I think the beef is with players who sit there for 1-2 minutes to shoot EVERY shot. 9ball was meant to be a fast paced game but when it takes 20 minutes to play one rack we might as well be playing 8ball or 1P.

Tom_In_Cincy
02-05-2004, 11:40 AM
When Charlie Williams chalks his cue 27 times and walks around the table 12 times, prior to a shot... exactly what part of this pre-shot routine is wrong?

Slow play by really bad players is even more 'negative'. But when you see the Pros play slow, and after all that 'slow play' time, they still don't get out.....

What are they thinking? After all these years of playing at their high level, what is keeping them from shooting? Can they really see those little specs of (whatever it is they pickup with two fingers and flick into the air).

What is it that makes them re-chalk a chalked cue 27 times? why is this so important to them?

Slow play doesn't bother me any more.. I would just like to get some answers to the above questions.

Popcorn
02-05-2004, 11:52 AM
I think it should just take a given time to do certain things. When someone ponders a simple shot or layout for no apparent reason, you don't really know what to think. Are they doing it on purpose or what is the problem. There has to be limits within reason.

UWPoolGod
02-05-2004, 11:52 AM
Yeah it is like Sergio Garcia waggling his club 24 times before hitting as well. Its like they are trying to shake out the nervousness by chalking that much or walking around the table.
Like someone said about a JJ/Archer match...maybe tey take so long because they make each other sit in the chair so long they are trying to get blood circulating in their legs/@$$ again. Walk it off big guy... LOL

cheesemouse
02-05-2004, 12:02 PM
Doom,

Slow playing by experienced players is unnecessary. Like Tom just said, and I paraphrase, "what the sam hell are they thinking of?" If they are in line on the run out and virtually everyone watching knows which shot is going to be next, why don't they know, and why can't they just play along at a reasonable pace.


The worst book there is on an experienced player is he slow plays. They get no respect and they rarely get repeat action. Players that play along don't want to draw a 'snail' in a tournament match and they sure don't seek out a known slow player for a pleasure game....LOL.....these players should be shot on sight...LOL... /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif


Can you tell I play fast??? /ccboard/images/graemlins/tongue.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/laugh.gif

eg8r
02-05-2004, 12:12 PM
I have nothing against a players ability just because they play slow. My problem is that I get so bored to death that I cannot physically stand to sit there and watch them agonize over a pretty straight forward shot. Sure, it makes sense to take a little extra time on a tough shot, but to get down and get up 5 times on a simple routine shot bores me to death.

I have the utmost respect for the women pros, but when they are on ESPN, I almost always fast forward up till the point that they actually shoot (I love tivo). I cannot stand to watch them walk around the table after each shot.

I am not asking for the matches to be over in 10 minutes but it would be nice if the players did not have to go into such depth of thought before every single shot. They are pros and have seen most of these shots a million times before. Just get up and shoot it. /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif

eg8r <~~~~Watches pool whether it is played slow or fast

Singlemalt
02-05-2004, 12:14 PM
Well, I myself am not a slow player, but my game is also no where even close to what an Archer/JJ has, nor will ever be.

IMO, I have watched Archer and JJ plenty and while they are not the fastest players in the world, I personally do not consider them slow. Now, Charlie Williams, different story and very frustrating to watch. I think the time Archer takes before a shot is very appropriate and shows his focus on each and every shot. IMO, it shows he does not take any shots for granted.

Also, after having seen Archer play different times over the years, it seems to me he has actually picked up the pace some and I have seen him run some racks in a fairly quick amount of time.

woody_968
02-05-2004, 12:20 PM
For me it all depends on the reason they are playing slow. If they are methodical, but always moving in the direction of shooting it really doesnt bother me much. But if they are just taking 467 practice strokes to simply keep you in your chair then I find it anoying. We play a snooker game here that many times will have 6 or 7 players in the game. You have to wait a long time to shoot no matter what, but if one or two guys start to play slow then you will have to dust off your cue before you get to shoot again. Makes it hard to stay in anything resembling a stroke.

Rich R.
02-05-2004, 12:47 PM
In addition to what Tom said, what bothers me is the constant practice of getting down on a shot and then back up, down and up, down and up, etc. It drives me crazy. They are professionals, they should be making all of their decisions before they get down and not have to get back up.

BTW, I have seen Archer and Williams play a number of times, both with and without shot clocks. They both take amazingly long periods of time to shoot, when there is no shot clock.
When there is a shot clock, they both play just as good, if not better. CW actually plays fairly fast, when under the clock.
I have no idea why they can't do it all of the time. /ccboard/images/graemlins/confused.gif

Wally_in_Cincy
02-05-2004, 12:55 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote DoomCue:</font><hr> I'm not sure I understand why so many people detest slow players....<hr /></blockquote>

I only have a limited number of hours in my life and I want to spend as few as possible watching my opponent stare at the balls hoping they will move on their own.

Wally_in_Cincy
02-05-2004, 12:57 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Singlemalt:</font><hr>
....Also, after having seen Archer play different times over the years, it seems to me he has actually picked up the pace some and I have seen him run some racks in a fairly quick amount of time. <hr /></blockquote>

According to this month's BD his pregnant wife told him to speed it up because she was uncomfortable sitting there for so long.

Seriously.

And since then he has played great.

Wally_in_Cincy
02-05-2004, 12:59 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote woody_968:</font><hr> For me it all depends on the reason they are playing slow. If they are methodical, but always moving in the direction of shooting it really doesnt bother me much....<hr /></blockquote>

Ralf Soquet would fit in this category. He thinks before he shoots. But at least he doesn't get back up after he makes his decision.

daviddjmp
02-05-2004, 01:07 PM
Agree with Cheesemouse. The balls are not going to change positions, there are only so many options with each shot, and and experienced player should be able to calculate them in a minute or so-

randyg
02-05-2004, 01:10 PM
Maybe a lesson could be learned here. We name five of our top players and call them slow. Compared to whom? Slow is a subjective word. Reality is that these guys are champions. Just my thoughts....randyg

Wally_in_Cincy
02-05-2004, 01:16 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote randyg:</font><hr> Maybe a lesson could be learned here. We name five of our top players and call them slow. Compared to whom?

<font color="blue">Compared to 95% of all the other players, amateur or pro. </font color>

Slow is a subjective word.

<font color="blue">Everything is relative but I know slow when I see it. </font color>

Reality is that these guys are champions.

<font color="blue">Maybe Ralf is a champion because he is deliberate. Charlie Williams might be even better if he would just shoot the damn ball. </font color>

Just my thoughts....randyg

<font color="blue">Just my thoughts ...Wally in cincy </font color>

<hr /></blockquote>

bluewolf
02-05-2004, 02:27 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote randyg:</font><hr> Maybe a lesson could be learned here. We name five of our top players and call them slow. Compared to whom? Slow is a subjective word. Reality is that these guys are champions. Just my thoughts....randyg <hr /></blockquote>

Disagree to a point. There is slow and then there is slooooooowwwww..
Someone who thinks, takes their time and does not rush the shot is one case. But, without mentioning any names pro or non-pro, we have all seen extremely slow play used as a type of mental warefare to get the opponent to get so bored, they lose their focus etc.

This does not affect me so much because I try to use time in between turns at the table to do meditative thoughts,breathing etc, so I will stay relaxed and focused, but I do not think that extremely slow play geared to toast your opponent's concentration is good sportsmanship and it also makes the tournaments last too long, when those types of players are entered.

JMO

Laura

cycopath
02-05-2004, 03:24 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Wally_in_Cincy:</font><hr> <blockquote><font class="small">Quote woody_968:</font><hr> For me it all depends on the reason they are playing slow. If they are methodical, but always moving in the direction of shooting it really doesnt bother me much....<hr /></blockquote>

Ralf Soquet would fit in this category. He thinks before he shoots. But at least he doesn't get back up after he makes his decision. <hr /></blockquote>

I totally agree with that statement. Souquet takes his time and weighs his options but once he has made his mind up he pulls the trigger. Versus people like Archer that can't make their mind up and keep getting up and down on the shot.

Rod
02-05-2004, 04:01 PM
As long as I'm not playing someone real slow then I could care less. Even then I have patience so it doesn't bother me to much. I'm not exactly a speedy player myself, but I'm don't hold up tournaments, I blend.


Rod

DoomCue
02-05-2004, 04:05 PM
I think it's safe to say that a large part of any sport is mental preparation. I won't go so far as to say that pool is 90% mental, but I do think that mental preparation is the key to good play.

Many of us have been taught that if you feel uncomfortable or unsure when down on a shot to stand up and reset. Part of mental preparation is total commitment to the shot, with no stray thought to distract from the task at hand. I know I've gotten down on a shot before, and felt like I was going to have a problem with it, but shot anyway. My instant reaction would be, "I shot it too quick (wonder if Luc has ever said that?)," or "I should have stood back up," or "I knew I was going to miss it." In those cases, I wish I could rewind time and take those extra moments to fully commit to the shot, but I can't.

In tournament play, EVERY shot is important. Even the most minor mistake can lead to elimination. As a relatively fast player (but I wouldn't consider myself FAST), I try just to react to the table layout without overthinking. However, I know that other people don't think or act the way I do (thank God! how boring this world would be if they did! /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif), so I don't begrudge them the time it takes them to prepare themselves, whether it's long or short. All players are doing the best they can to prepare for the shot - to make sure they don't make a mistake.

My feeling is that those who are deemed "slow players" simply take more time to mentally prepare themselves. The techniques they use are unique to them, just as mine is unique to me. For some, it may be to stare at the layout. For some, it may be to keep their hands moving, like a player who likes to chalk his cue 27 times /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif. I wouldn't like to see a player take an "easy" shot for granted and miss it (who among us hasn't done that?) simply because he felt that he was taking to long to mentally prepare. I would hate to see a player fail after not giving his best effort, and if his best effort requires a little extra time to mentally prepare, then so be it. I can't spend my time thinking about what he's doing if he's my opponent, my only concern should be me.

I don't think any of the players mentioned in this thread are trying to shark anybody, or interfere in their opponent's rhythm. Besides, I believe you can't be sharked unless you let yourself be sharked.

-djb

Popcorn
02-05-2004, 05:13 PM
Not so subjective. I reasonable person that plays knows when someone is taking to long. In many cases it is not due to indecision, they stand there or walk round and around for no apparent reason. In tournament play, if they are truly professionals they need to play like one. You can't just do what ever you want and say,"Well, that is what I have to do to play my best game". Some players just won't shoot for some reason, that is not acceptable. They should not be playing in tournaments if that is the case. Every sport has rules of conduct. You can't play a half a round of golf and tell the official, "I'm tired I will finish my round in the morning". Pool players just don't act professional many times to the detriment of the spectating public. Common sense should prevail for what is best for all. I have played in enough tournaments and have played a match at 2 am in the morning to get the board caught up, to know my rights as a player are not being watched out for. It has to be fair to everybody. Like you say, they are champions, they should act and play like champions, it is not subjective. Standing and staring at a 9 ball getting up and down like they are scared to death to shoot, is not the way a champion should play. In my opinion.

Bob_Jewett
02-05-2004, 06:39 PM
I have no problem if my opponent takes a long time to shoot from a complicated position. If I'm playing one pocket, I know I've played a good shot if he has to scratch his head for three minutes.

If it's a straight in with a stop shot for position, and it's pretty much the only shot to shoot, and my opponent takes three minutes to shoot it, I'll have to find another opponent.

I think Archer must have developed some kind of mental block about shooting. You don't have to pick lint and move balls three times on every shot to play well -- it just gets you thought of as a jerk. I hope he figures out what the hitch is and gets rid of it.

If we're paying table time, is it reasonable to ask my slow opponent to pay for the 3/4 of the time that he hogs?

Mosconi prided himself on his speedy play -- see the story in "Willie's Game."

Walter Lindrum intentionally played very quickly on advice from a backer to the effect, "If you and your opponent are at the table for about the same length of time, and you play twice as quickly as he does, you'll score twice as many points." Of course, Lindrum, who was arguably a much better player than Mosconi, played a game in which he would often be at the table for over an hour.

My point is, you don't have to be slow to be good. I think most "rushed shots" are missed not because the shooter didn't take enough time, but rather he failed to decide on what to shoot by the time he got down on the shot. And most decisions -- like the straight in stop shot, or the vast majority of shots at nine ball -- can be made in a second or two.

randyg
02-06-2004, 08:41 AM
Thanks Bob. Great to hear from you....randyg

SPetty
02-06-2004, 09:37 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Bob_Jewett:</font><hr> If we're paying table time, is it reasonable to ask my slow opponent to pay for the 3/4 of the time that he hogs?<hr /></blockquote>HAHAHAHA! /ccboard/images/graemlins/laugh.gif

spanky
02-06-2004, 10:07 AM
they can't play slow if they never get to the table /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif

DoomCue
02-06-2004, 10:17 AM
I don't disagree that most decisions can be made in just a couple of seconds. I live by that in 9 ball and that's the way I play. Then again, I'm not a World or US Open Champ either. I'd imagine that most pros know what they want to do within a couple of seconds after the CB stops moving. Making a decision, though, is just the first step in preparing to shoot the next shot. What happens after that is unique to each player, so why the animosity toward slow players? Is the mindset, "I'm fast, so everybody else has to be fast?" Why is it ok for Mosconi to be proud of the fact that he was a quick player, but not for a Jeremy Jones to be proud of the fact that he gets the job done, it just takes him a little longer than others? The end result is the same - they're both great players regardless of how speedy they are/were.

I also agree with your point that you don't have to be slow to be good. On the flip side of that coin, you don't have to be fast, either. However, it seems that a lot of people think that being fast and good is somehow more acceptable than being slow and good, which is what I don't understand. After JJ played a great Open, most people weren't talking about his skill at the table, they were talking about his habits BEFORE his shots. How does slow play detract from his ability?

As far as table time, I see no problem with asking your slow opponent to pay extra. We live in a capitalistic society, and market correction would dictate that the slow player should speed up his play in order to save some money. /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif

-djb

Keith Talent
02-06-2004, 11:07 AM
Quick question ... would you play this one (on a 9-footer) fast or slow?


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sandgnat
02-06-2004, 11:20 AM
I used to play chess... a lot of chess. I frequently played games with opponents that took forever (10-20 minutes before they made a move). I wasn't speedy either, but both myself and my opponent AGREED that it did not matter how long either of us took to make our moves. Compare this friendly game to professional chess players: They are always on a clock. Otherwise these games could drag on forever.

Translating these observatons to the game of pool, it would seem to me that if two players agree that they are not concerned with how long the other takes to make a decision, then so be it. Otherwise, taking more than 20 or 30 seconds between shots (unless it is an occassional, very difficult situation) seems to me to become a breach of good sportsmanship and common sense would dictate that a player not take forever to shoot as every second taken is taken from someone else (i.e. the opponent).

Are good players that play very slowly handicapped when shooting with a clock? Probably some are and some aren't, but in general good players are good players, and if reasonable time contraints are established, it ought not to have a tremondous detrimental effect on the fairness of competition. This is what it really boils down to, is't it? "Is my desire for my opponent to play faster going to result in his not giving me his best game?" I would say, no, if the time allowed is reasonable, say 30 to 40 seconds.

In my opinion, all competitive pool should adhere to some sort of reasonable time constraint between shots, be it on an offcial clock, or as a generally excepted rule of thumb. If not for the sake of the players, then for the sake of the gallery, be it on TV or in a local league!!!

eg8r
02-06-2004, 11:31 AM
[ QUOTE ]
Making a decision, though, is just the first step in preparing to shoot the next shot. What happens after that is unique to each player, so why the animosity toward slow players? <hr /></blockquote> I would agree with you, IF the player only played superior at their speed all the time. If you watch Charlie Williams, he plays extemely slow some times, and then fast other times. He plays both very well, so this is when I don't understand the need to take over a minute before executing what would be an easy shot for them, or me for that matter. He shoots fast/normal very well, so I think the slowing down is some type of ploy.

eg8r

Popcorn
02-06-2004, 01:18 PM
I probably would not hesitate much. The only problems that face you is the possibility of scratching in the corner, coming up short and to close to the 9 ball leaving a very hard cut maybe even with the bridge. There is a slim chance if you go to the side rail, (Which I would do, just a touch ), you could catch the point on the side pocket.

All things considered though, I would probably shoot almost as soon as I walked up to the shot, because I think I would know what I want to do. It is not an obscure situation and one that comes up regularly. You know, bad things can happen on any shot, but you have to trust yourself to shoot. Looking at the shot forever may not help. I think some players that play very slow, have developed a habit of playing like that and since they may be getting good results fool themselves into thinking that is the only way they can play. It looks like it is not much fun and stressful playing so slow. I have been told I play too fast many times. But if they looked closer they would notice I actually take as much time as most players I just move around the table fast. but don't rush shots at all. 9 ball in particular, there are not, in my opinion an endless number of shots or situations, but a lot of the same situations on different areas of the table that may be exactly the same or mirror the same shot you have seen a zillion times.

If you have been playing for a while you are not likely to see anything you haven't seen before and you should know what you want to do. The shot in your example, if it gives the player second thoughts, then take as long he wants that is up to him and I would expect the same curtesy. It is the player that does it on almost every shot that you wonder if there is something wrong with the guy or is he doing it on purpose. Common sense should tell you when a player is taking an unusual amount of time Unnecessarily, for a player his speed and the shot they are shooting and in many cases we are talking about some of the best players playing the game.

Keith Talent
02-06-2004, 01:35 PM
Popcorn,

I didn't mean to direct that reply to you, because I'd think at your level you'd know exactly how you'd want to play that sort of shot ... one that looks simple but has a number of factors that could trip up the average player, like myself.

Accuse me of being a tortoise, but I occasionally will take a little extra time over one like that, knowing it's touchy to get it past the side-pocket point, and hard to get the speed and angle right if you just tried to hit it with a little left and drift straight down. After botching that one a few times, I settled on going with a little inside english, and catching 3rd rail about a diamond past the point ... but depending on the angle, I'd probably stare at it a few moments to make sure I got past the side pocket but didn't hit the side rail too far down.

Anyway, I think it depends how well one knows any particular shot. There are plenty that get me to pondering a little because there's nothing I hate more than missing position on something like that example because I shot too fast and didn't consider everything.

Rod
02-06-2004, 02:22 PM
Keith,

The angle looks a little straight so I would hit rail first before the 8 ball, but just barely before. If I thought the side come into play, I'd use inside, hit the 8 ball first, and play position on the short side of the 9. No matter which way when you know your options, decide and pull the trigger. Nothing wrong with giving it a little thought but don't overstudy and shoot in confusion. Aim is critical in some of these situations and that would be my focus.

Rod

dgkisler
02-06-2004, 03:24 PM
I personally hate slow players, I used to get really frustrated when playing people that slow played me. I had to change the way I would play against them, me being a fairly fast player. I would walk up to the table (usually after sitting for ten minutes while the other guy shot three times) and just stand there looking of into space until I was calmed down enough to play without thinking about the other guys slow play. This can have a tremendous effect on the other guy if he becomes self consciese of the way he plays.

Keith Talent
02-06-2004, 03:39 PM
These threads read almost like smoking threads ... I'm always surprised by the amount of hostility, from smokers and fast players. Anyway, I'm sure I'm a little slower than average but I've never been put on a clock or been hassled about it.

But I like it when I draw a fast player ... they're guaranteed to make a handful of careless mistakes. When I wonder whether it's time to shoot or not, I sometimes think of something Ben Hogan once said, when asked about how rarely he made errors: "I've never taken a careless shot in my life."

Popcorn
02-06-2004, 04:52 PM
Quote
"There are plenty that get me to pondering a little because there's nothing I hate more than missing position on something like that example because I shot too fast and didn't consider everything."

I totally agree and if I was betting on you I would hope you would play at a pace that allowed you to play your best game, even if it may be a little slow. Most of the time when the question comes up regarding slow play, it involves professionals doing it. That's when you have to wonder what is the guy looking at all this time. He has played thousands of hours and pocket a million balls, what is going on, it looks so unprofessional. I can see it in a critical hill, hill game, but to play like that all the time?. And spectators notice, there are certain players they would not want to pay to see as well as it is disrupting to the tournament. I don't know, you don't want to be telling someone how to play but in tournament play, a tournament director need to know how to deal with it when it comes up. I am mostly referring to tournament play, If I am gambling, they can play in a dress if they what, which happened by the way. I once played a transvestite in a gay bar, and this guy could really play, although he did take off his high heels. Actually I play this guy quite a few times, I never knew what to expect when I went there. I don't think the subject of slow play is meant to be mean spirited, I think most people are objective when talking about it.