View Full Version : Rise to Greatness...

10-08-2004, 07:45 PM
Hi there... I have been playing seriously for just about 8 months or so, which I know really isn't long. I guess you can say I have been bit by the bug, playing and practicing with any free time I have. Anyway, if anyone is interested in sharing their story, I would like to hear about how they rose to becoming to good player. Did you practice every day, how many hours? Were you a natural? Did you start as a kid and never give it up? How many years before you considered yourself a good/great player? Just curious. Thanks. Gary

10-09-2004, 09:38 AM
Just in case no one replys to your post....Check the archives...There are many stories about your subject.......or just click on the "USER LIST" link up top and view "####leonards" posts.....or check "Rod" post....You will find the "secret" to this game right there....Good Luck...RC

10-09-2004, 10:34 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote RichardCranium:</font><hr> Just in case no one replys to your post....Check the archives...There are many stories about your subject.......or just click on the "USER LIST" link up top and view "####leonards" posts.....or check "Rod" post....You will find the "secret" to this game right there....Good Luck...RC <hr /></blockquote>

Good advice Richard. #### became great, but what makes him special is he always remained a family man And held down a full time job, sent his kids through University, the whole 9 yards. The problem with being "great" is that usually it's to the exclusion of everything else. #### must have found that ballance and thrived.

The only advice i could give someone wanting the "fast track" to being 'good' or even 'great' player is. Take lessons from a reputable Instructor and become a student of the game. Schedule regular and intense practice sessions. Play people who are better than you, and watch, listen, and learn.

As a time frame goes, i find someone with average coordination, and a compedative additude can become a very good pool player in 5 years or less. St

10-10-2004, 08:08 AM
#1 Success breeds success! This goes for anything. Hang around the top dogs, learn everything you can about them, talk to them, ask them questions. Some are willing to share and be helpful, others will not answer your questions or will mis-lead you. Don't be discouraged by those who are not helpful - keep attempting to meet successful people and pick their brains. Again, this goes for anything, not just pool.

#2. Learn everything you can about the game, the equipment, and other players. Knowledge is power. Buy every book on pool you can find. Look in new book stores, used book stores, and internet. Some books are out of print and can only be purchased used, some new books can only be purchased from one web site or from the author. No one book has all the answers or the best advice, but bits and pieces from various books can add up to an excellent base of knowledge of the game, the equipment, and the players. Also read all the forums...

#3 Work your fingers to the bone - every day. People see a championship ice skater and say "Hey, that looks easy!". Well it is not easy. They don't understand that it took hours of daily practice for many years to get to that level.

#4 Practice what you are bad at or shots which are frustrating. Keep a list of shots which you miss or which you find frustrating. Seek and find drills (or make your own) which will help you improve your skill at these shots.

#5 Be willing to lose every single game for an entire evening. Don't be afraid to lose. Be able to play the best players losing game after game. Also when you get to be a better player, if you win every game, few people will want to play with you any more. Lose a few games on purpose so they will keep playing with you.

#6. Practice with players slightly better than yourself, play in tournaments with the best players. It does you no good to sit and watch someone run the table on you during practice, but this will teach you not to miss during a tournament.

#7 Keep improving. After a certain level of improvement, some players do not continue to improve any more. If this happens, take a step back and think about your practice, drills, playing, and equipment. Ask questions on the forums about what you can do to keep improving. Find a good instructor.

#8 Ignore advice from fellow pool players, especially if they give you unsolicited advice. A lot of players out there are full of whooey. Some will try giving you advice in an attempt to shark you. I get all my advice from the internet forums or a professional instructor. This advice is *not* the advice my fellow pool players give me. I improve with the advice from the internet, but my game gets worse when following the advice of fellow pool players (maybe that is what they want?). Learn who gives good advice and who does not. A player who gets good advice will improve, not get worse.

#9 Have fun, don't be too serious, don't get burned out. You can pick and choose who you play/practice with. Better if it is someone who is fun to practice with. If you are starting to get dis-interested in daily practice, take a break for a few weeks or longer if necessary. You don't *have* to practice every day or become a better pool player right this second. All good things must wait...

10-10-2004, 11:44 AM
I'll share my story with you. I started playing pool six years ago and it has taken just about that amount of time to get to the point where I can possibly consider myself a (low-level) good player. Pool was something I thought I would enjoy so I just bought a pool table and started reading books and pool and billiards magazines and began teaching the sport to myself. This in my opinion is good in a way but not so good in others. Good because the only players I compared myself to were on television and accu-stats tapes, bad because up until last year approx. 98% of the time I spent at the table was alone, learning position play and doing drills. It is really important I believe to go out and play other pool players and better pool players than yourself when possible. All of the practice has given me fairly good position play and strong ball pocketing ability but done very little for the mental part of my game which I've been working hard on and trying to improve on for about the last year. I still feel I haven't reached the point where I can play as within myself as I need to, although I am getting better. As far as being a natural at pool it did seem that I progressed at a quicker rate that what I thought I would at least for a self-taught player.
If I could give any advice to a person just becoming serious about the pool it would to always keep a positive attitude and don't let any negativity carry over from one day to the next or one trip to the table to the next. Starting out it didn't take me long to find out that anger and frustration were going to make progress difficult. Can't over-emphasize the importance of being a strong player mentally.

10-10-2004, 12:11 PM
Of course you need to develop a good basis in terms of fundamentals and put in the practice time. But the thing that will raise your game is when you get around good players on a regular basis. If you are the best player where you hang out it is time to move on. I used to make a 30 mile drive three or four nights a week to a great action room and just hang out watching. Just a fly on the wall, sometimes playing and matching up but mostly watching and practicing. It is hard to say when it happened but I just became a much better player almost by osmosis.

10-11-2004, 06:49 AM
Good advice from everyone.

I would add that you need to do the above, plus learn to play a "quiet" game with just as little movement as possible to get the results you want. Watch the players who always finish high in tournaments and how smooth and effortless their shots are. Strive to "hear and feel" the game and never just bang balls, always have a purpose in your shot, position and speed. Develop the ability to analyse why you won and why you lost a match in cold calculation. Don't make excuses, just adjust and work your weaknesses, not your strengths. Treat your equipment and opponents with respect. Listen to all advice but filter it for the source, their game, your capabilities.

Lastly, this is a game of detail, moreso than almost any other. Learn EXACTLY where the middle of the cueball is and learn to play there first.

Don't sweat the bad rolls any more than the good ones.


10-11-2004, 02:02 PM
Youíve received good responses so you have an idea of what others have learned along the way. I started in high school banging balls; I guess I would have been considered a banger at the time. Very soon it turned into learning why things happen. I became a student of the game.

From there learning of course but I also wanted to win $$. I played the old men for quarters or 50 cents, then a buck etc. From there Iíd take that $$ and play better players. Iíd loose and the cycle continued. After a short time the old guys wouldnít play me anymore.

Early on I became much more aware of why people loose, including me. LOL An Army guy that I thought was my equal played different position routes. He could get out of certain situations much better than I. Of course I had my strengths but it didnít make up for some weakness. There was some of my first in sites, if the shot dictates something youíre not capable of, guess what youíd better practice them.

I thought I could play a little ( thought) but when I moved to the LA area I got a big surprise. These guys could play. As mentioned, watching and practice, and playing better players really picks up your game. After a while I was playing some of the best or sometimes world champions. Before I left LA I was a strong player, but like all, I still needed a bigger bag of tricks. It just sort of kicked in some where along the way but it was the LA experience that really kicked my game off.

Three years after LA, at the height of my game I quit for 17 years. Thatís another story. I fell short of my ultimate goal which was to be one of the best. Goals are very important, how ever you choose to establish your goals. Mine wasnít necessarily about the money but it helped. To answer a question, I easily played more than 40 or 50 hours a week. Not just play either it was quality play whether playing another or practice. Your mind set might say it's ok to miss, it was a tough shot. Well that won't go far if you get into that habbit. Either make the ball or find a good safe.

I donít necessarily believe in naturals. I believe the game can become very natural with hours of quality play. If there is a disclaimer I would say those with a mind for the game are the ones that excel. By that I mean learn and understand why things work or donít work. If you make a shot and the c/b doesnít go where you thought, there is a reason. If you miss there is a reason. I think whatís hard for many is they think it happened because of Ė when the real reason is a light year away.

The only way I know of to excel in this game is have a consistent accurate stroke. Without that it just becomes a guessing game and usually itís a wrong guess. So set your goals, short and long term because itís a life time of learning.


10-11-2004, 02:38 PM
Compared to thirty years ago, it's much easier today to become "good". Instant access to information, very few "secrets". But I'm not so sure about "great". That seems to require the right kind of environment (competition and mentoring), plus a lot of dedication and focus. And remember, you can "learn" from someone whether or not they are "teaching" you. The better player you become, the easier it will be for you to pick up subtleties in other player's games, ie understand how they're getting (or why they're not getting) their results.

And to become "really great", I think it helps to have some natural talent as well. All our bodies and brains are not created equal. I don't believe you can pick just any kid off the street and train him to become a Buddy Hall. You might get him competitive on the pro tour, but the cream of the crop probably still have a little inborn advantage.


10-14-2004, 06:31 PM
Thanks to everybody who responded. Great information! It really interests me to see how people became good. Like stories about Efren growing up poor, sleeping in a pool hall or Jeanette Lee practicing for 12 to 16 hours a day. I love to play and practice and do so as often as I can. Hopefully someday I will have a story to share with someone! Thanks again for good advice, it has not fallen on deaf ears!!! Gary

10-15-2004, 09:47 AM
First of all let me state that I am not a great player (yet LOL - but I keep on pluggng).

When I first started to shoot pool in college, I spent 25% of my time watchin the best players play. I was fascinated and was able to pick up what they were doing very fast. Was this natural talent? To some extent, yes/maybe. Maybe other pool players don't pay attention. Who knows why? But I was able to take what I saw and go practice and do it. I played competitively during lunch and practiced every day at the cheap university pool tables.

There is a story I heard that was supposed to be true. A rack boy who raced for Mosconi (?) for years never picked up a stick, but when he did he already seemed to know how to play. I used to know a fellow named Rod who traveled whith Mosconi for years and racked for him, and I think I heard this story from him. BTW, later on in life, Rod had a stroke and he had to shoot left handed and got to be an APA s/l 6 playing off handed. I heard that Rod had saved up for a lifetime to take his family to Disney World and that he had a fatal heart attack on the way there. I apologyze for getting off subject, but I have always wandered who may have known Rod.