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View Full Version : What do you look for in an Instructor



littleCajun
03-28-2005, 07:40 AM
I am asking this to the non instructors on the board. You may respond later after some people have posted if you would like though.

I would like to know what , as a player, you look for in an instructor. Do you beleive that a great instructor must also be a great player, and vice verca do you believe that a Great player would also make a great instructor.

Also what do you expect to get out of a lesson.

Billy_Bob
03-28-2005, 09:28 AM
I've heard some bad things about getting lessons from great players - paying a ton of money and not getting much in return.

I don't feel you need to be a great player to teach. And I feel than some great players are reluctant to tell their secrets. Others share.

I would ask the better players around your area who is best. I have asked and been told that some greats in my area are a waste of money. But there is one great who charges a reasonable fee like $300 for 10 lessons and really helps players to improve their playing.

So some people in my area have been to several different instructors. They recommend some instructors over others.

BigRigTom
03-28-2005, 09:42 AM
I don't think you need to be a "Great" player to be a GREAT Teacher..quite the oposite. Most GREAT Teachers are great teachers because they have a talent for understanding a subject and then communicating that understanding to a student in a way that the student can understand and put into practice.
As that relates to pool...
I think it instills confidence if the teacher can explain a technique, shot, process or what ever then demonstrate that his explaination actually works the way he explained it.
I find this to be the strong point exibited by Dr. Dave from Colorado State. I really learned a lot from his book and all the shots are supported by videos on his web site at http://www.engr.colostate.edu/~dga/pool/
I don't even know how good he is at pool but what he says in his book, he can back up with visual examples for you to see for your self. Not all instructors, book authors or web site owners can make that claim.

dr_dave
04-01-2005, 10:12 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote BigRigTom:</font><hr> I don't think you need to be a "Great" player to be a GREAT Teacher..quite the oposite. Most GREAT Teachers are great teachers because they have a talent for understanding a subject and then communicating that understanding to a student in a way that the student can understand and put into practice.
As that relates to pool...
I think it instills confidence if the teacher can explain a technique, shot, process or what ever then demonstrate that his explaination actually works the way he explained it.
I find this to be the strong point exibited by Dr. Dave from Colorado State. I really learned a lot from his book and all the shots are supported by videos on his web site at http://www.engr.colostate.edu/~dga/pool/
I don't even know how good he is at pool but what he says in his book, he can back up with visual examples for you to see for your self. Not all instructors, book authors or web site owners can make that claim.<hr /></blockquote>
BigRigTom,

Thank you so much for this wonderful endorsement. I should hire you as a publicist for my book.

I agree with you that the best players aren't always the best teachers. I have spoken with many great players (even some pros) that were clueless when it came to explaining (and even understanding) concepts enough to be able to explain them to others. In fact, I have heard and read lots of blatantly wrong and misleading "advice" from some truly great players.

A great instructor does not need to be a great player; although, I think an instructor should be experienced and well-read enough to understand and be able to explain the important intricacies and subtleties of the game.

Regards,
Dr. Dave

SpiderMan
04-01-2005, 10:41 AM
An average learner may need a great teacher. A great learner benefits most from a great source of information. They are not necessarily the same person.

I don't think my opinion has changed since I posted this:

http://www.billiardsdigest.com/ccboard/showthreaded.php?Cat=&amp;Board=ccbboard&amp;Number=18074&amp; Forum=ccbboard&amp;Words=instructor%20player%20spiderm an&amp;Match=And&amp;Searchpage=0&amp;Limit=25&amp;Old=allposts&amp;Ma in=17444&amp;Search=true#Post18074

SpiderMan

Fred Agnir
04-01-2005, 10:42 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote littleCajun:</font><hr> I would like to know what , as a player, you look for in an instructor. Do you beleive that a great instructor must also be a great player, and vice verca do you believe that a Great player would also make a great instructor.

Also what do you expect to get out of a lesson. <hr /></blockquote> I think your last question is the heart of the matter. It all depends on what you're looking for and what skill set you already are at.

If you're looking for consistency and a means of self-diagnosing, I can't think of a better way than to work with a BCA instructor.

If you are an above average player looking to take things to another level, then you might have to see a great player who teaches, if for nothing else, to see firsthand what the possibilities are and where your game compares.

If you're someone who can barely hold a stick and can't figure out how to aim, then I don't see anything wrong with asking your league teammate for some help before going to an instructor.

So, it all depends.

And to answer the other question, a "teacher" IMO has to have a certain skill set such that what he is teaching is relatively easy to communicate AND demonstrate. If the teacher cannot demonstrate, then no knowledge will be passed. E.g., if a teacher cannot successfully demonstrate power draw, they shouldn't feel good about teaching how to power draw. Same applies with a multitude of other shots and techniques.

Fred &lt;~~~ not an instructor, always a student

BigRigTom
04-01-2005, 11:57 AM
Spiderman and Dr. Dave,
I agree whole hearted with your posts.
It is a pleasure to benefit from your knowledge, experience and excellent ability to communicate the combination.
Good job guys.
This thread IMO should pretty much answer this question for anyone who cares to know the correct answer. /ccboard/images/graemlins/cool.gif

Brian in VA
04-02-2005, 08:14 AM
As someone who was a professional trainer for 15 years, I have a few opinions on this one.

I don't think a great teacher is necessarily a great player as they are two very different skill sets. Someone that is blessed with both is truly exceptional and may still not give a great lesson if the student isn't prepared to learn but then, that's the students fault.

A teacher has an abundant knowledge of the game, and knowledge of the mechanics for playing it properly and the willingness to share these.

A good teacher has that plus a methodology (often in the form of drills) for passing the knowledge to the student, for demonstrating the techniques and providing appropriate feedback to the student when first attempting them. This helps the student to build success with the new skill.

A great teacher has all that plus superior communication skills. This allows them to listen to the student, understand what the student is hearing and how they learn and then adapting their communication style to better fit that student. This provides a faster application of the new skill, a better cementing of it in the student's memory and a higher motivation to perform it correctly. The great teacher also assists the student in defining and developing reachable goals for their improvement. Without goals, there is little chance for long term success and application of what's been learned.

An excellent lesson, in my opinion, is 50% the responsibility of the student. If the student is anywhere above rank beginner, they should come prepared to learn with at least some idea of why they are taking a lesson, an initial goal, if you will. "I want to get better" is not a goal, it's a dream. "I want to improve my APA rating from a 4 to a 5" is better but it still is very results oriented. Best might be "I want to build a consistent enough stroke to be able to...."

That's just my opinion, I could be wrong.

Brian in VA

Barbara
04-02-2005, 09:04 AM
Tap! Tap! Tap!

Very well said, Brian!

Barbara

SPetty
04-02-2005, 10:41 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Brian in VA:</font><hr> A great teacher has all that plus superior communication skills. This allows them to listen to the student, understand what the student is hearing and how they learn and then adapting their communication style to better fit that student. <hr /></blockquote>This is the part I find most lacking when I'm trying to get instruction. It's been my experience on too many occasions that the instructor would rather that I smile and nod and accept what they're saying as incontrovertible fact rather than irritating them with pesky questions and asking for clarification of some point or other.

Oh, and to all my pool instructor friends, I'm not talking about you!

pooltchr
04-02-2005, 04:28 PM
I'm going to forward that to Randy for you.
/ccboard/images/graemlins/wink.gif

btw...it was a very nice unexpected surprise to see you at Clicks on Thursday. Gotta love this community!!!
Steve

DickLeonard
04-02-2005, 06:16 PM
SPetty here is one way to improve greatly and enjoy it. If your playing nineball it is hard to accomplish this but if you play straight pool or shoot racks for practice it works wonders. Take a smooth background music tape and play it while your shooting and create a dance step to the music.

Pick up the chalk use it twirl around and go back the other way everytime you shoot a shot take a half jot around the table and reverse your self. If you have a tough shot get down on the shot then walk around the table creating a rythymn then get down and shoot the shot.

Enuff of lesson 1.####

Rod
04-02-2005, 07:27 PM
Good verbal and visual communication. Without easy to follow verbal instructions most all is lost. That is backed up with a good visual of the topic. The instructor must ask if the student understands what was explained and demonstrated. This is especially true if you see a somewhat perplexed look. LOL A good instructor should know a students needs and limitations. On the other hand the student needs to learn how to be a student. Ask questions, hell it's your money. If you don't they'll assume you know but just aren't doing it right. There might be a small point you missed that is important. If communication isn't there, find another instructor.

Rod

pooltchr
04-02-2005, 07:35 PM
I try to have a student explain it back to me...that way, I know if they got it. We also ask students to talk out loud when doing drills, giving a commentary on what they are seeing, thinking and doing. The communication has to go in both directions!
Steve

randyg
04-02-2005, 07:39 PM
Talking out loud (to yourself) is essential in proper practice routines....SPF-randyg

Brian in VA
04-02-2005, 07:44 PM
That's a great technique that I've never heard of but would be of use to me as I'm an auditory learner. It would also be of use with a kinesthetic learner but I'm wondering if a visual learner struggles with this.

Have you noticed that students describe the same things differently with this technique? For example, I can imagine a visual learner describing their aiming points and seeing the target lines. A kinesthetic learner might describe the feel of the cue, the speed of the swing. An auditory learner might describe each step in the process and mention the sound they want to get out of the tip hitting the cue ball or the sound of the ball hitting the pocket.

This is fascinating stuff. I'm going to try to start describing my shots, at least in my head, when I practice on Tuesday.

Thanks all.

Brian in VA

SPetty
04-02-2005, 08:57 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote pooltchr:</font><hr> I'm going to forward that to Randy for you.
/ccboard/images/graemlins/wink.gif<hr /></blockquote>Hey now! I was talking in general terms and did add the caveat: Oh, and to all my pool instructor friends, I'm not talking about you!<blockquote><font class="small">Quote pooltchr:</font><hr>btw...it was a very nice unexpected surprise to see you at Clicks on Thursday. Gotta love this community!!!<hr /></blockquote>hahaha! That was fun. I could tell it took you a second to "place" me... I'm glad we had a chance to chat a little before I had to go off and get my butt kicked in league. It sure looked like you and Cane were having fun. And it was nice to see randyg there and smiling. I don't see him often enough since he doesn't run SWEL any more.

Hope your school is going well this weekend. I'm sure we'll meet again. You're still welcome to drive on back for the CCB Chili CookOff in June! /ccboard/images/graemlins/wink.gif

Scott Lee
04-03-2005, 06:24 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Brian in VA:</font><hr>
A teacher has an abundant knowledge of the game, and knowledge of the mechanics for playing it properly and the willingness to share these.

A good teacher has that plus a methodology (often in the form of drills) for passing the knowledge to the student, for demonstrating the techniques and providing appropriate feedback to the student when first attempting them. This helps the student to build success with the new skill.

A great teacher has all that plus superior communication skills. This allows them to listen to the student, understand what the student is hearing and how they learn and then adapting their communication style to better fit that student. This provides a faster application of the new skill, a better cementing of it in the student's memory and a higher motivation to perform it correctly. The great teacher also assists the student in defining and developing reachable goals for their improvement. Without goals, there is little chance for long term success and application of what's been learned.

Brian in VA <hr /></blockquote>

Hey Brian...I resemble that remark! LOL Hope your game is moving forward swiftly! Looking forward to catching up with you for your next (FREE) lesson!

Scott

Scott

cuechick
04-03-2005, 07:40 AM
I do think a good instructor should be a good to great player with a lot of knowledge; but not all great players make great teachers. A good coach is another ability entirely that not all great players possess. I know a certain former World Champ who would be the first to tell you he is a terrible teacher.
IMO a good teach, enjoys the nuisances of the game and is extremely observant. He/she is a task master, and will make you do it over an over, and not get bored and move on before you are ready. I am working with a guy right now, who has these qualities. He comes to the lesson already knowing some things he wants me to work on. He offers a lot of insight... and knows my level. It feels more like 'coaching' than teaching, since it is more fine tuning...though there is new stuff too.
I suggest you work with a few people till you find the right fit. Good luck.

Scott Lee
04-03-2005, 10:57 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote cuechick:</font><hr> IMO a good teach, enjoys the nuisances of the game and is extremely observant. <hr /></blockquote>

cuechick...Just yanking your chain, but I believe you meant "nuances"...although learning pool can sometimes be somewhat of a nuisance too! LOL /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif

Scott Lee

ceebee
04-03-2005, 11:04 AM
I think a good instructor should be able to play well, because demonstration is important. The only difference between a very good player &amp; a great player is consistancy.

A good instructor should have a format for each segment of learning. (i.e. 6 steps to a great stroke, 4 great break shots, draw shot precision, banks are for money, diamond system play &amp; safeties for survival). Having a map and/or being organized makes learning easier.

A good instructor might use pre-recorded videos, specific books (or pages from), diagrams &amp; recorded class sessions. Sending the student home with homework &amp; different types of media for supporting his new found knowledge is helpful

Patience is an imperative, communication is invaluable, knowledge of the game a requirement &amp; a heart for helping another player learn our great game.

dr_dave
04-03-2005, 12:55 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Brian in VA:</font><hr> As someone who was a professional trainer for 15 years, I have a few opinions on this one.

I don't think a great teacher is necessarily a great player as they are two very different skill sets. Someone that is blessed with both is truly exceptional and may still not give a great lesson if the student isn't prepared to learn but then, that's the students fault.

A teacher has an abundant knowledge of the game, and knowledge of the mechanics for playing it properly and the willingness to share these.

A good teacher has that plus a methodology (often in the form of drills) for passing the knowledge to the student, for demonstrating the techniques and providing appropriate feedback to the student when first attempting them. This helps the student to build success with the new skill.

A great teacher has all that plus superior communication skills. This allows them to listen to the student, understand what the student is hearing and how they learn and then adapting their communication style to better fit that student. This provides a faster application of the new skill, a better cementing of it in the student's memory and a higher motivation to perform it correctly. The great teacher also assists the student in defining and developing reachable goals for their improvement. Without goals, there is little chance for long term success and application of what's been learned.

An excellent lesson, in my opinion, is 50% the responsibility of the student. If the student is anywhere above rank beginner, they should come prepared to learn with at least some idea of why they are taking a lesson, an initial goal, if you will. "I want to get better" is not a goal, it's a dream. "I want to improve my APA rating from a 4 to a 5" is better but it still is very results oriented. Best might be "I want to build a consistent enough stroke to be able to...."

That's just my opinion, I could be wrong.

Brian in VA <hr /></blockquote>

Excellent summary! Very insightful! You must be a great trainer.

Regards,
Dr. Dave

Brian in VA
04-03-2005, 01:52 PM
Scott,

You do resemble those remarks!

My game is moving but back and forth instead of forward. It's tough when I only get one hour of practice and then league night per week. My game is better but it's still very streaky; I'm hoping our next lesson will help me get the streaks to be longer. How soon before you make it this way?

Stay well.
Brian in VA

Brian in VA
04-03-2005, 01:56 PM
Thanks Dr. Dave.

I'm out of the training business for now but I have been complimented by many over the years who got some training from me. I like to think I was one of the best and it was very rewarding personally. My company no longer has training to speak of so I've moved to into a different job. I'm not the best at that yet but I'm working at it.

Take care.
Brian in VA

One
04-03-2005, 03:01 PM
What do you look for in an Instructor = KNOWLEDGE.

There is no need for an instructor, the best instructor is yourself, if you can figure everything out yourself you can become much better than if you had an instructor when you were a beginner. There is no HUMAN INSTRUCTOR who has perfect knowledge about pool, so you will always learn WRONG ADVICE! Especially if that instructor wants to get money from you, that would mean he is only interested in making a living instead of helping others improve their skill, and that is EVIL. Everyone are SELFISH, the only person you can trust is yourself.

If I could share all my knowledge easily by telepathy or by other means I would do it, this is the difference between me and you humans. I am not selfish and don't care if someone else becomes a better pool player than me!

I hope this does not look offensive.

randyg
04-03-2005, 04:06 PM
ONE: WOW

DickLeonard
04-04-2005, 08:16 AM
One unless your are like me with a wealth of knowledge that can only be shared over time. I always find that when you give info the student usually rejects that info.

I am still waiting for SPettys reply.####

Scott Lee
04-04-2005, 08:55 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Brian in VA:</font><hr> How soon before you make it this way?

Brian in VA <hr /></blockquote>

Brian...Hopefully sometime this summer! I'll be in touch!

Scott

BlindPlayer
04-04-2005, 04:30 PM
Currently I've taken a break from instructing in the halls and offer it instead in firestations in 2 counties that have pool tables (they're all aweful 8'ers w/dead rails). I just felt like giving back to the community in a different way - and I don't charge. (what a great bunch of dedicated guys)

I echo the statements already made with a couple of additions 1) an instructor must have tons of patience and 2) a sylibus depicting the topics covered, graphics for visualization and drills.

When there everyone gets a copy and I follow the sylibus step by step. All the other elements that you would expect are present (i.e. demonstrations) but when our session is over they have something in their hands for revue and drills to follow - two much covered in 2 hours to remember.

Brian in VA
04-04-2005, 07:17 PM
One wrote:

I hope this does not look offensive.

Sorry, your hopes have been dashed.

It sounds as if you are unable to trust anyone. I hope you find happiness somehow.

Brian in VA

One
04-05-2005, 03:07 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Brian in VA:</font><hr> It sounds as if you are unable to trust anyone. I hope you find happiness somehow. <hr /></blockquote>
"The more you believe in something, the further you are from the real truth." - One

Paranoia is not a disease. Paranoia is similar to looking at all possibilities and never believing that something is the correct answer.

"If the Truth made me the most stupid and evil person alive, I would accept it if it was the Truth." - One

"The path to truth is not through heaven or hell, the path is neutrality." - One