View Full Version : Learning too much too soon?

08-19-2005, 09:51 AM
One of Eddie Robin's books suggests that you not learn the contents of his book until you have mastered certain aspects of your playing.

It says something along the lines that there is nothing worse in billiards, than to know what to do in a particular situation and then not be able to do it.

Well I have certainly been in this situation for the last 7 months or so. I really concentrated on the "learn all you can" part. I've had shot after shot after shot which I know what to do, attempt it, then fall flat on my face! 7 months of this!

Very discouraging. All this stuff floating around in my head and plenty of missed shots.

I don't give up though. And all this knowledge is starting to pay off. I'm beginning to make some of these shots now.

Basically I have had to re-learn how to shoot pool from the get go. I think it has just taken time for me to digest and practice what I have learned.

So the first step is learning the fundamentals of everything there is to know about what the balls will do when hit a certain way and which balls to hit when (run out sequence): Dr. Dave's DVD, book 99 critical shots, and Jimmy Reid's DVDs.

Then this is a *lot* of information. Actually too much information! So it takes months and months and months just to change your thinking about everything. And then many more months of attempting these shots and falling flat on your face.

Then things slowly begin to "click". Suddenly you attempt a shot and you make it. Then another.

So while I'm beginning to make a few every here and there, there are still plenty I'm missing for one reason or another. Mostly these are leaving shape for next shot problems, getting cue ball to break up cluster, etc. I don't pocket the ball, but get cue ball to go where I want, pocket the ball, get cue ball to go correct direction, but too much speed, or misjudge amount of english to use to get cue ball to go the proper direction after hitting the rail.

Anyway there is a light at the end of the tunnel. But I have had to lose a lot of games to get here. I think it is worth it, but I can see where not too many people would be willing to suffer through all of this...

So I guess I would say; learn all you can, but be prepared to lose many games for up to a year after learning all that stuff! (I still have not read Eddie Robin's book. I think I'll wait a few years....)

08-19-2005, 10:02 AM
Years ago, when I first came on this board, I said that when teaching someone how to play pool, you should give information on a 'need-to-know basis'.......and I got slammed for it!
"You cant have too much info" was the cry!
Seems that Eddie thinks the same as I do.

Qtec /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif

08-19-2005, 10:18 AM
I will be more than happy to teach someone about spin, speed, cue ball control, and whatever else I am able to teach them..........AFTER we spend time making sure the fundamentals are there. If you can't stroke the ball properly, all the rest is pretty much useless information that just gets in the way.

08-19-2005, 11:48 AM
Good Post Steve. Some players attempting to play the game of One-Pocket may not understand the game is for the accomplished player of other games like 15 Rotation, 8-Ball, 9-Ball, Bank Pool & Straight Pool.

Beginner players & Intermediate players can play the game of One-Pocket, but generally don't have a chance against a good One-Pocket player.

Scott Lee
08-19-2005, 12:48 PM
Steve...tap...tap...tap! Endless knowledge without a repeatable, sustainable stroke equals a lot of frustration.

Billy Bob...All the books and DVD's in the world won't help you figure out if you have a decent stroke or not. They can tell you what it SHOULD look like, or feel like, or be...but they cannot SHOW you what YOUR stroke is, and how to make it better. Get a qualified instructor to check your fundamentals. Worst-case-scenario, at least you'll know whether you're building something good, or not.

Scott Lee

08-19-2005, 12:56 PM
I agree... you can learn too much too soon. You HAVE to have your fundamentals in order first. Not just your fundamentals as far as mechanics, but your fundamental SHOTS and scenarios. Extreme example, but if someone has a hard time cutting a frozen OB down the rail 2 diamonds, then they don't need to be working on 3,4,5 rail bank shots. Kind of like putting the cart before the horse.

Now that I've stated that, I must admit that I have been GUILTY AND CONVICTED, in the past, of having my head so full of things that I can't shoot a straight in shot. I agree absolutely with Q, Steve and CeeBee, but thirty years ago, I was the worlds worst at practicing outrageous shots when I didn't have the fundamentals to consistently execute the average "utility" shots.

I liken it to building a house. You can buy the best materials in the world and have the knowledge to build great strong walls and do excellent wiring, make your own fixtures, trim it out beautifully, but if it isn't setting on a good STRONG foundation, then it won't hold together. Same in pool. Your "foundation" must be built first... Develop good stroke, good stance, good alignment & aiming, Proper THINKING, learn stategy for the games, etc., and gain the knowledge as you go. As your knowledge base increases, so will your ability and confidence, but... No foundation, No house, regardless of how much you know or how many books you've read.

Ramble mode off!!!


08-19-2005, 03:28 PM
I've spent years learning everything pool related that I could get my hands on. I don't know that it hurt me in and of itself but I have realized recently that some things that I "learned" I didn't fully grasp but only partly understood. A lot of that has to do with moving from one new thing to the next without spending the amount of time needed to fully absorb it.

The main area that has held me back was stroke/stance fundamentals. I was having a hard time making many shots I knew I should make and couldn't understand the problem. I always assumed my stoke was fine because I can spin the ball well (e.g. draw almost two full table lengths on decent cloth). After seeing myself on video I realized that my arm moved all over the place, I was elbow dropping, and my stance wasn't very good. I had "learned" proper fundamentals but was way off in applying them and as a result I couldn't perform well because I couldn't deliver the cue to the cue ball consistently.

I don't know Eddies exact line of thinking but I believe that if you have excellent fundamentals/mechanics and good distance control then you will benefit greatly from his books. You might get more out of them faster with lots of prior experience but I say if you have those two things then dive in.

08-20-2005, 09:27 AM
Actually I should have given some examples of what I am learning/working on... When I say I'm not making shots, mostly this means I'm not getting the cue ball to go where I want it to go after I pocket the object ball. This is about 93% of my trouble. And about 7% of the time I don't pocket the OB because I'm using english to try to get good CB position and did not aim right.

In the past, I might have two balls left to shoot and they are at opposite ends of the table, then shoot one in and leave the cue ball there. And then have a bank shot on the next ball. i.e. Banger basic pool!

Now I know in my mind that I am supposed to get the cue ball down to the opposite end of the table so I will have an easy shot on the second ball. And I now know how to do this (learn all you can), to shoot the first ball in and get the cue ball to go to the opposite end of the table. BUT with some of these shots, it has been the first time ever that I have attempted to make such a shot. (Due to the zillions of subtle variations of shots you can have.) So basically I have not had any experience shooting such shots and of course failed miserably in my first few attempts.

But as various shots have come up time and time again in the last several months, I now have a little experience shooting them, so I am beginning, on some shots, to make the ball in the pocket, get the cue ball to go the exact correct direction after the hit, and use the exact amount of speed to get the cue ball to stop where it should.

What I am working on, which is all new to me (very little experience under my belt with this stuff)...

When the cue ball is going to hit the rail after I pocket the ball...

-If OB near corner pocket... Realizing that I can cheat the pocket to get the cue ball to go where I want, but also taking into consideration that a more full on hit will remove speed from the CB and more of a cut will mean faster speed on the CB. Also that where specifically I hit the OB will mean that the CB will come off the rail differently. Basically I gave little thought to this until recently. I just pocketed the ball and the CB went any which way. So shooting these shots AND knowing in advance which direction the CB will go after the hit and at what speed is an experience thing if you ask me. The more I shoot these shots thinking about these things, the better I get, but I have a long way to go.

-If CB will hit rail after pocketing OB. I now know how to tell where the CB will go. This is all new to me. So I am trying to use this to my advantage. I will see the natural direction the CB will travel, and then want to change that direction for one reason or another. But I have very little experience as to how much english to apply to get the CB to change direction the correct amount. But again, as I shoot more and more of these shots with these things in mind, I am beginning to be able to judge the correct amount of english to use. And again, I have a LONG way to go. But it sure is neat that I can now do this sometimes. Opens up a whole new world of playing!

-When using draw... I've just figured out that I can get the CB to alter direction when it hits the rail by using left/right english with draw shots. This took a long time to sink in - maybe my mind was cluttered with too many other things. Anyway I have recently started using this to advantage as well. So this is my first time shooting these shots. I'll do silly things like using left english instead of right - then the CB goes the wrong direction after hitting the rail.

-Going forwards instead of backwards - This is *very* new to me. But best idea I ever came across. I will use follow instead of draw to get the CB back behind the direction I'm shooting. I know now how to tell where the CB will hit the rail after my shot. But the problem here is judging how much english to use to alter the direction (I might use two tips english instead of one tip), keeping in mind how much speed the CB will retain after the hit depending on how full of a hit it is, and then determining how hard to hit the CB for the shot. As I get more and more of these shots under my belt, I'm beginning to get everything right sometimes.

Basically since all this stuff is new to me, it is like I have been learning pool from scratch. But I guess it is best to work on all this stuff at the same time being as it is all related. It's a whole new world of pool for me...

08-20-2005, 08:25 PM
Billy bob,
The next time Scott Lee, or Randy or Cane or any good instructor is in your area, plan on spending a couple of days with them. It will save you months or even years of frustration!

08-21-2005, 12:10 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote pooltchr:</font><hr> Billy bob,
The next time Scott Lee, or Randy or Cane or any good instructor is in your area, plan on spending a couple of days with them. It will save you months or even years of frustration!
Steve <hr /></blockquote>
I wont suggest a particular teacher but pooltchr is right on. You seem devoted to the game and are pursuing it with great passion but you, or anyone else who tries, will likely suffer from lack of guidance. I spent years without an instructor or coach out of some sort of sense of pride or self reliance that I didn't need one and it has held me back for years.

A coach isn't always there to teach you just to make sure that you are doing what you want to do correctly. Every major player in football, basketball, tennis, or golf (even Tiger) has one or more people helping them in some way. Even if all you can or want to get is a video camera and the help of another local player you will benefit. Getting a trained professional instructor will help even more.

08-21-2005, 07:44 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote pooltchr:</font><hr> Billy bob,
The next time Scott Lee, or Randy or Cane or any good instructor is in your area, plan on spending a couple of days with them. It will save you months or even years of frustration!
Steve <hr /></blockquote>

Well I guess I don't understand what things are "instructor things" -vs- things you just need to learn/practice on your own?

For example speed control - your judgement on how hard to hit a particular shot to get the cue ball to stop at a particular location. Seems to me this would be an experience thing?

Also how much english to use when - I see this as being the same as learning to pocket a ball. A judgement/experience thing. You aim/apply english to get the cue ball to come back a specific direction - are way off when you first start doing this - then get more and more accurate with experience. Try it - are way off, try again - are closer, try again - and are closer, etc.

What I see as instructor things at this point (and which really helps me) is what to do when, and what to do in specific difficult situations. Situations where I would do something dumb probably, but expert players can come up with very clever things to do. I could spend days/weeks/years with an instructor learning this stuff! And I am slowly learning this stuff from some very good players I know.

Actually if I go to an instructor, I think I would want to go on a continuing basis - not just one or two times. Maybe go to an instructor once a month - every month for a couple of years? Would this sound like a good plan? The problem is I need to travel about 100 miles to get to these experts and don't have the time right now. But may in a few months.

Scott Lee
08-21-2005, 01:22 PM
Steve...You can see that, like Carl says so adroitly, "they don't know what they don't know!" LOL


08-22-2005, 05:42 AM
Billy Bob.
If you were going on a trip somewhere you had never been before, would it be easier to get there by trial and error, stopping frequently to get directions from different people along the way? Or would it be easier to have someone give you a road map to follow from the very beginning?

08-22-2005, 05:58 AM
Well thats a good thought Steve, but Ill take it a step farther. What good is a map going to do you if you dont know how to drive the car??? /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif

There are all kinds of maps out there (books, videos, internet sites) but without knowing how to drive the cue with proper mechanics the maps wont be much help.

I know when I learned how to drive a car I didnt just read about it and then go jump in the car and start driving! I wanted someone with me to watch what I was doing and give me pointers along the way.