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View Full Version : Help from "Hitting the Wall"?



mksmith713
01-29-2005, 05:21 AM
I've been playing for roughly 1 1/2 years.
I started learning the basics and gradually moved on.
First with simple geometry of shot making, the physics of shot making.
I can work my way around a table OK.
Running a full 9-Ball rack 1 out of 5 tries.
My problem is, my game seems to have gone stagnant.
I seem to always try to find the hardest way to make the easiest shot, thus causing me to miss shots that should be gimme's.
I worry too much about shape, trying to get perfect on my next shot.
Another problem I have is that I know of no really good players in my area that are personable enough to learn from.
Back, when I left the Professional Bowlers Tour (Early 80's), I took time to help anyone who was willing to learn.
I really enjoyed watching players get better.
It didn't matter who it was. If they wanted to learn, I'd help them.

Is this common among new players?

If so, can someone give me a kick in the butt and tell me how to stop thinking so much?

I'm tired of playing poorly.

christopheradams
01-29-2005, 06:08 AM
I have a suggestion that has helped me quite a bit. Play for stats. You have probably heard of accu-stat rating. Well record your own accustat. This will get you away from thinking about perfect position in a meaningless game against your self and more on winning 9ball which comes down to making balls and minimizing errors. Record all balls made, all mistakes you make each rack. If you scratch on the break that's one error. If you miss playing safe then that's one error. Record stats for each 9 ball rack. A missed kick is an error. A missed shot or missed position play is an error. Whatever you think is an error, then record it on paper. Divide total errors by total balls made and subtract the total from 100 or 1000 to come up with a percentage. I do this for many of my games unless I'm working on something in particular and then I put each game in an excel file and chart my progress. With stats on record you can also compare them to what the pros shoot on a regular basis. Billy Incardona I think recommended that the pros who shoot .850 are playing at world class level. This method of keeping stats also gets you into a competition with yourself. You will soon be playing tough safes on yourself instead of taking that stupid shot that will bring your stat down. Is like a real game situation instead of a meaningless shot that you don't care about.

I would just keep up with a good practice regimen and keep perfecting your position play, safes, stroke, mechanics, banks, kicks, and anything that you see as a weekness.
Good luck

Popcorn
01-29-2005, 09:31 AM
If you have only been playing for 1 1/2 years it would be normal at about this point to see a leveling off in improvement. You improve quickly when you first start for obvious reasons. Once you reach a certain point it takes actual effort to improve other wise you just stay there. Now the real work begins.

Deeman2
01-29-2005, 10:41 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote mksmith713:</font><hr> I've been playing for roughly 1 1/2 years.
I started learning the basics and gradually moved on.
First with simple geometry of shot making, the physics of shot making.
I can work my way around a table OK.
Running a full 9-Ball rack 1 out of 5 tries. <font color="blue">Pretty good for that short a time playing.. </font color>
My problem is, my game seems to have gone stagnant. <font color="blue"> Happens to everyone... </font color>
I seem to always try to find the hardest way to make the easiest shot, thus causing me to miss shots that should be gimme's. <font color="blue"> We have a Club for this. I'm a VP. Like your Pro Bowling you have to learn to concentrate on the easy stuff, this is a game of details and concentration after knowledge is aquired. </font color>
I worry too much about shape, trying to get perfect on my next shot. <font color="blue"> No, you don't worry too much about shape, it's very important but you have to make your position decisions, then shoot the shot as a separate event with full concentration on execution. </font color>
Another problem I have is that I know of no really good players in my area that are personable enough to learn from. <font color="blue">You have got to be kidding my! Maryland, Baltimore, Philly...There are more players there per acre than almost anywhere outside NYC. </font color>
Back, when I left the Professional Bowlers Tour (Early 80's), I took time to help anyone who was willing to learn.
I really enjoyed watching players get better. <font color="blue"> Others or us do as well in pool.</font color>
It didn't matter who it was. If they wanted to learn, I'd help them. <font color="blue"> It would really give your game a boost to get some help form a Scott Lee or other instructor. They can help in many areas. Play some tournaments against tough players (you have them there, believe me). Run up to York,PA. on Sunday afternoon (tell'em I sent you and to be gentle with you..) /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gifand play that little tournament, play the ghost and keep score... </font color>

Is this common among new players? <font color="blue"> Absolutely, even for guys who live in pool halls. </font color>

If so, can someone give me a kick in the butt and tell me how to stop thinking so much? <font color="blue">BAM,I just did. /ccboard/images/graemlins/smirk.gif </font color>

I'm tired of playing poorly. <hr /></blockquote> <font color="blue"> STOP DOING IT...</font color>

Deeman
good luck, glad you are enjoying the game...

Billy_Bob
01-29-2005, 11:59 AM
I too hit a wall after 1-1/2 years. I had learned to play offensively and get position on the next shot. I was able to beat many of the players in my small town.

To go to the next level, I started playing better players in a larger city nearby. These guys can win a match at the coin flip because they can break and run out, or run most of their balls and play safe.

I learned there was much more to this game than I thought, and that is safeties. I'm learning that safeties are just as important as pocketing balls and playing for position on the next shot. (Read safety threads on this forum).

Last night I won 3 games at a "sharkfest" and did it by playing safeties! In one case, the other player won the coin flip and did a break and run. Then broke again (race to two) and ran all his balls from the break, but goofed up on his position for the 8-ball. He hit the 8, but missed...

This was my one and probably only chance to win. I had 7 balls on the table, two of which were clustered and going nowhere. I pocketed two balls and left the cue ball behind the cluster. Then I played a safety hitting the first ball in the cluster hard enough to send the second ball to the rail and leave the cue ball hidden behind the first ball. He kicked and missed, so I got ball-in-hand. I now had all my balls broken out and was then able to run out. So the safety was what won the game. He then got me on the third game (with a good safety play).

I've been practicing safeties and "little things" lately.

There's a lot of books/videos on specific things like kicking and banking, racking, playing 8-ball on a bar table, aiming, safeties, etc. Most of these are only available on the internet, sometimes only from one web site.

It is these "little things" or "specific things" which are taking my game to the next level. I learn all I can about everything, then practice the stuff I learn about on a regular basis.

The little things really help. Like I say, practice using the mechanical bridge. Shoot in 4 balls using the mechanical bridge once a week. When you need it, you will know how to use it. When your opponent needs it, they will say "I hate using this thing" then miss. So learning that one "little thing" will give you an advantage. Learn a lot of "little things"...

CarolNYC
01-30-2005, 03:50 AM
[ QUOTE ]
I seem to always try to find the hardest way to make the easiest shot, thus causing me to miss shots that should be gimme's.
I worry too much about shape, trying to get perfect on my next shot.
<hr /></blockquote>

Focus on pocketing the object ball your shooting at-dont try to get perfect on your next-theres a so-called safe-zone of area to shoot your next shot-as long as your in that safezone,you should be able to pocket the ball and get on the next-if not, then play safe!
All-in-all, I think your doing great for 1 1/2 years!
Keep up the good work and good luck!
Carol /ccboard/images/graemlins/wink.gif

mksmith713
01-30-2005, 06:38 AM
I'm working on something similar to what CarolNYC mentioned.
What I started doing yesterday is looking at a shot and deciding how I need to hit it go get on my next ball.
Then tossing that idea out the door completely and trying to find a second way to get on the same ball,and possibly a third.
This way I have a bunch more shots I can call upon if I need them later.
I'll still choose the easiest and safeset shot when playing in a match but you never know when you might get shookered on a ball and have to dig into your bag of tricks.

Stretch
01-30-2005, 08:25 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote mksmith713:</font><hr> I'm working on something similar to what CarolNYC mentioned.
What I started doing yesterday is looking at a shot and deciding how I need to hit it go get on my next ball.
Then tossing that idea out the door completely and trying to find a second way to get on the same ball,and possibly a third.
This way I have a bunch more shots I can call upon if I need them later.
I'll still choose the easiest and safeset shot when playing in a match but you never know when you might get shookered on a ball and have to dig into your bag of tricks.
<hr /></blockquote>

Yes everybody starts off with a steep learning curve and it's natural for there to be a leveling off. When your developing as a player practice and table time can take you a long way. If you have the talent and drive it can take you all the way to the top 10 in your club....but it's a big world out there!

So now your a pretty decent pool player. Your fundamentals are good, shot selection and stratagy sound, lot's of tricks in the bag and your well on the way to being a threat to win most local tournies. Trouble is all the practice time your putting in isn't yealding the results as they onse did and your stuck being the also ran......THE WALL.

Now you need to learn to practice in a different way. Now it's a matter of quality not quantity of practice.

According to Bob Rotella a much respected sport psychologist there are two states of mind. The training mentality, and the trusting mentality. In the training mentality you make things happen. In the trusting mentality you "let" things happen. It's not a matter of good and bad. Both are required. While training you are very self critical and analitical in your approach as you work on differant shots, your preshot routine, kicks, banks, fundamentles etc. Trouble is if this is all you do while practicing you will bring this mindset to the game. You will then become critical of your bad shots, be trying to fix things on the fly, and the trouble begins.

The trusting mentality however is essential for getting ready to play competitively. To this end you need to incorporate at least 60 percent of your practice time "trusting" your stroke and just letting go with your game. Otherwise the second a bad shot comes off your cue in a game you will start to work on that and your game will go south. Under pressure you will do what you do most, so make sure your head is in the trusting mode for most of your practices. All there is, is target, routine, and acceptence. When you find your rythm, pace, and trust that it will be there "without" judgeing any outcome. Your game will be VERY hard to beat.

Just some ideas, HTH. St.

CarolNYC
01-30-2005, 01:41 PM
[ QUOTE ]
What I started doing yesterday is looking at a shot and deciding how I need to hit it go get on my next ball.
Then tossing that idea out the door completely and trying to find a second way to get on the same ball,and possibly a third.<hr /></blockquote>

Your thinking too much-go with your first instinct-(we have a 30 second shot clock)-the natural path of the cueball after pocketing the object ball-if it leads to position on next ball, then go with it-if you get out of position, now look at options-try to keep it simple-too much on your mind and you'll lose focus on the shot!

Carol /ccboard/images/graemlins/wink.gif

CarolNYC
01-30-2005, 01:44 PM
[ QUOTE ]
Now you need to learn to practice in a different way. Now it's a matter of quality not quantity of practice. <hr /></blockquote>
Tap,tap,tap-this is very important and believe it or not,Stretch,is something I just recently realized-if you practice with bad habits, your going to take those same bad habits in a tournament!

Carol