View Full Version : structure of practic sessions

04-04-2005, 07:29 AM
I am trying to write down a training plan for myself. As a relative beginner I have no problem finding a weakneses in my game, actually there are no strengths yet /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif

So I have a lot of drills, patterns, stroke exercises to pick from for my sessions. I'd like your opinion on how to use them. I read on this forum that the instructors among you recommend shorter practice session so you are able to concentrate fully. I can think of two practice strategies:

1. work on 20 drills 5 minutes each (thats about 2 hours a day)

2. work on 4 drills 5 minutes each and then play straight pool or 9ball or whatever just to put some table time in

I am not sure if the 1st strategy is not too much and counterproductive

what do you think?

does anyone have an idea how an ideal practice session should look like?

04-04-2005, 08:01 AM
The thing which helped me the most when starting out was to keep track of shots I had trouble with or shots which were frustrating. Say an object ball frozen to the rail.

Then I would concentrate on practicing these shots.

Then after practicing shooting - say balls frozen to the rail for 2 months, I would start to get better at shooting these shots.

And that has worked for me for many different types of shots. Keep track of what I can't do, then concentrate on practicing those things, then improve after a few months of regular practice.

Over time, I had a practice sheet designed just for me!

This is the *most* frustrating practice you can do [since it is probably the last things you want to be practicing], but stick with it and you *will* improve.

I won game last night where my last shot was a ball frozen to the rail. Piece of cake for me now. But at one time I could not make these shots to save my life.

And it is that "one difficult shot" which many times wins the game. So the more "one shots" you have under your belt, the more advantage you will have over other players.

The drills in books are designed by very good players who forget what it was like to be a beginner. So some of these drills may be expecting you to do things which you will not be able to do for two years.

If you could be more specific about what you are having difficulty with, then I (we) can suggest specific things for you to practice. For example at one point, I had trouble with balls frozen to the rail, long cut shots, and the cue ball following the object ball into the pocket.

04-04-2005, 10:17 AM
I am not having trouble with what to train. I am asking how many different drills or shots per practice session should I practice, for how long to do a particular drill at a time. How often per week should I do the same exercise (daily, weekly?).

My practice sessions are not structured, I just go and play some, then try drills that come to my mind and repeat shots that give me trouble.

I would like to write down an exact training plan like you have in other sports, like say bodybuilding, you work abs, pecs and back in one day, then you do legs on the second, then arms and shoulders on the third, then you take one day off and start over again. The training sessions are prescribed exatly (which exercises, the number of sets and repetitions per set). I think such exactness of a practice regime would benefit my pool playing too. I just need help with the structure as I have no idea how to put it together.

04-04-2005, 10:35 AM
I would start with the drills you are already using but practice them in 15 minute segments once a week. Add more drills as you see fit.

In areas your are having problems (like unlearning a bad habit)I've been known to repeat the shot over and over for an hour till it not only sinks in the pocket but in my thick skull.

Problem areas may need more than once a week but I wouldn't want to do it every day take a respit and work on it every other day.

As time goes by you will master shots and add new ones you need to work on. Your practice routine will never be cast in dry cement. It needs to change with your game to shore up your weak areas. You may find yourself adjusting your routine once or more each month so keep it flexible.

Try to avoid the mindset that the routine is fixed and going to stay the same. It must be altered as you grow and as you grow you will discover new trouble areas you never dreamed of - that will become a part of next Saturdays practice session.

04-04-2005, 11:34 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote yegon:</font><hr> I am not having trouble with what to train. I am asking how many different drills or shots per practice session should I practice, for how long to do a particular drill at a time. How often per week should I do the same exercise (daily, weekly?).
... <hr /></blockquote>
Well, according to Bob Fancher (Pleasure of Small Motions -- search for other threads for details) you should practice one thing at a time, and by time, I think he was talking about a week. An example item might be working to make your bridge firm.

04-04-2005, 12:37 PM
Well I read the following somewhere...

"To develop muscle memory new skills should be practiced twice daily, separated by more than 4 hours for at least 4 or 5 days."

04-04-2005, 01:29 PM
I like your thread. I will check back to see if a answer for me develops.
A long these lines I wonder about working a a shot that you are having problems with for too long a time re-enforces what you are doing Wrong? Any comments?
Last week I was working on a shot for a couple of hours, and still couldn't get it right. The next day I set it up and the first two times I nail it, then reverted back to missing like I was the night before.

04-04-2005, 05:40 PM
There are about a half dozen "Mother Drills" that will cover just about everything you would need. They are based on the course the BCA instructors teach. They might not do a lot of good if you haven't had the training to know how to apply the drills.
In the absence of that kind of training, my best suggestion is to set up shots that are progressive drills. Start easy (close) and as you get better, make them slightly harder.
The important thing is to be practicing the right things the right way. If you don't, you are just learning how to do the wrong things very well.