View Full Version : Ladder Learning

06-23-2005, 09:47 AM
Marty, I saw you post on the ladder concept for tournaments and believe it or not, I sat here and got a little philosophical about teaching and learning pocket billiards... hang on, cause an old southern redneck isn't supposed to get philosophical, but here's the best we can do.

Since I've joined CCB, I've read and been involved in some of the greatest discussions on pocket billiards that I've ever seen in my life. Pool room conversations just cannot compare to many of the threads I've enjoyed on here.

With that in mind, when I read Marty's post, I started thinking about how learning this game was like climbing a ladder.

When we start this game, this journey, we lean that long ladder against the roof of the house, our goal. When we're on the ground, things are solid. At least the things we do or know to do are solid. Hit the balls, put them in the pockets. Every time we pick up a new shot, a new trick or more information, we are climbing one rung farther up the ladder. Funny, but the higher we get, the more we notice the ladder is unstable... especially halfway up... we know some wild shots, some outrageous banks, 4 and 5 rail kick shots, but the ladder is swaying a bit, our consistency is swaying. After we pass that halfway point, we know most of what we need to know to get up that ladder to the roof, but it's a little scary. We're not always sure of our steps, not always sure we can make the next rung, but once we make it, things are a little more solid. As we continue past that halfway point, the ladder (and our consistency) seems to become more solid and more reliable, just like it was on those first couple of rungs. Funny, but even though the ladder seems easier to climb, it takes us much longer to move from rung to rung on the top half of the ladder than it did on the bottom half, but when we do take a step, we can FEEL how much more solid the ladder becomes. Here we are, 3/4ths of the way up the ladder to our goal, and we're making 2 and 3 rail banks, playing lock up safeties that insure us ball in hand, but just not always controlling the cue ball the way we want. We contiue to climb, even more slowly than before, be we know we can reach the rooftop if we perservere. Sometimes, we become a little unsure, or the wind blows a little and we'll step down a rung or two. Things may be more unstable there, but if we fall, it's not too far from the ground. Now we climb back up a rung, or two or three... hey, we have been here before. We have the experience to climb with confidence now. We aren't on the roof, but we can see it! We just have to carefully continue rung by rung until we're standing on the roof, where our footing is as solid as it was the first day we learned how to pocket a ball! It may take years, even decades to climb that ladder, but if we make it to the top, out footing will be true and sure.

I said in another thread that I asked a great straight pool player one time how I could be as good as him and he told me "Five Thousand Miles... Son, you have to walk Five Thousand Miles around the table". He was right. That first 2500 is easy, but the last half of the journey takes dedication and persistence. It's those last few rungs that are the toughest, but I figure anyone can make it...

1000 miles to go...
Bob (promises to not get philosophical again)