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View Full Version : Conflicting Thoughts Over Lessons



Sid_Vicious
10-10-2005, 10:07 AM
I am in a current opportunity to travel to take lessons from a highly praised instructor, the time and money is available, but truthfully I don't feel like possibly being "re-designed", starting over, doing the work with drills, etc.

It kind of makes me feel "self insulting" to myself to shelve my game today in order to be taught someone else's idea of how I need to stroke a ball. After being on vacation for a week and playing lots of pool, I'm playing about as well as I ever have, and it's fun.
I seriously doubt that I would do the homework I'd be given, so I am leaning far toward the side of saying F-it, may game is what it is and even though the finishing consistency is a bear, it doesn't feel appealing to me to invest more time and money into the instructions.

Is it just me, or does anyone else get burned out with continuing to take lessons with this game???sid

Bob_Jewett
10-10-2005, 10:21 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Sid_Vicious:</font><hr> I am in a current opportunity to travel to take lessons from a highly praised instructor, the time and money is available, but truthfully I don't feel like possibly being "re-designed", starting over, doing the work with drills, etc....

Is it just me, or does anyone else get burned out with continuing to take lessons with this game???sid <hr /></blockquote>
I just got back (in July) from taking a series of lessons. The instructor was thorough, thoughful, and a champion. I learned a lot, and only a small part of it was about fundamentals. If you find the right instructor, the lessons will be worthwhile. If you don't....

My own feeling is that if you stop learning, your game dies.

Cane
10-10-2005, 12:15 PM
Sid, I think it depends on:

1. Where are you in your game?

2. How far do you want to go with your game?

So, where are you in your game? (not you personally, Sid, just a general question) Most people that think they are advanced players are not. Most that think they are intermediate players are really fair recreational players. So, if a player is actually at an "average" level and he wants to advance and wants the right tools to shorten the learning curve, then by all means he should seek instruction. If he's and intermediate player that thinks he's "advanced" but still wants the right tools to bring his game to a higher level, then by all means, he should seek instruction. Even an expert player, who wants to bring more out of their game should seek instruction (if you don't believe me, ask Jeanette Lee, Allison Fisher, Karen Corr, Sarah Ellerby, Gabe Owen, David Matlock, Shane McMinn and may other top pro players that have been to instuctors). Even Bob Jewett, one of the most reknowned Master Instuctors in the World told you he went to an instructor recently. It's all about whether you're happy with where your game is now AND if your happy with the way and rate at which it's progressing. I don't try to tinker so much with someone's bare fundamentals, unless there is a problem that could lead to severe deficiencies in their game. Many players who have reached your level of proficiency have very good fundamentals. BUT, by far, those that have reached your level, THINK they have good mechanics/fundamentals, and because they don't think they can be taught anything new or different, they'll ALWAYS remain at that level of play. Of course, there will be exceptions to the rule, but in general, good players will never become great players without proper fundamentals and well honed mechanics... so how do they find out if their mechanics are correct and proper... they go to an instructor that KNOWS how to spot and correct potential problems. How much do those players that I mentioned above respect the instructors they've been to? Well, last time I played in Tulsa at a tournament, one of the top ranked professional players was there. A friend of mine struck up a conversation with him and mentioned that he had trouble making shots with inside spin and asked this Pro to help him. The answer he got was (paraphrased) "I could tell you, but it might be more than just an aiming problem.... might be a stroke thing. You're best bet is to get a good instructor to work on it with you.".

OK, now, where do you want to go with your game? Let's say that person answering this question is a B+ or A player and they just can't get beyond that point. They're dying to shoot A+ or A++, but no matter how much they play, or what they do, they can't wrestle their talent beyond that point. Well, guess what. They've probably done all they can do with the limitations that lack of knowledge or lack of style and mechanics to excel beyond that point, will allow. Time to go see someone who knows what they're doing and more importantly, to know EXACTLY what the player is doing wrong or is doing right.

Personally, I don't think there is anything such as Natural Talent. I think talent is a product of WORK and FINE TUNING. Think of a poolplayer like a high performance car. You might tune it up in your driveway and get it to run 120 MPH... take it to someone who specializes in tuning high performance engines and he might get another 10 MPH out of it for you.

So, it just boils down to this. Where are you now and where to you want to go? If you're happy with your game, and don't want to get any better, or if you want to spend years getting better when it might possibly be done in months, then stay away from professional instruction. If you want your car to run 130, take it to someone who knows what they're doing... someone who KNOWS how to make it run 130.

Regardless of whether or not you choose an instructor, it's going to take work and dedication to improve. It requires drills and practice, and if a player isn't willing to spend that time at the practice table, then he's not going to improve. If they aren't willing to spend that time, then by all means, they should just put that money in their beer fund and enjoy a few extra cold Guiness on the nights they play pool. If they have the willingness to practice and dedicate themselves to what it takes to improve their game, then the money will be better spent on an instructor.

Later,
Bob

Sid_Vicious
10-10-2005, 12:49 PM
Cane...The question of where I want to go with my game is a good one. Today I feel too labored with the work and thinking to improve, and find more fluidity and success by merely hitting balls many, many hours for days in a row.I relate this emotion to my negative desire to even attempt to start playing 1-P. I don't feel I have the time to learn enough to do justice to that game, and I know it's the work I'd need to put into my fun activity(pool) that does this to me. Besides I ain't no spring chicken.

As far as the natural talent issue...I respectfully disagree with you on this one. I believe that there are a ton of players who have to train and learn to play pool who will never go past a particular level of talent. The ones who really excel, IMO, are true talent, or else they are jobless, lifeless people except for pool .

I also need to say that most everything I have pursued in activities over the years, be it pool or rollerskating...I learn from watching and doing. I have had formal pool instruction and have a wealth of "do-s and don'ts" in my quiver from being in the trenches, I simply feel I have to do this more on my own and keep others out of my head. I believe that there comes a time where you need to find YOUR game, and decide for yourself to remember how good you KNOW that you are. Otherwise I feel you'll continually shortchange yourself and your success due to being subjectively made to believe you MUST excel with help. In my life, I feel I'm right there at that crossroads.

I posted on a recent return to BHE after noticing others with big games using it,,,that technique was natural for me long ago, and now it appears that it had merit then and now. This in itself gives me an ah-ha moment when I realize that naturalness was drilled out of me in part through instruction. I suppose you could say that I still have a attitude, just being honest.

So where do I want to go with my game? I'd like to keep my opponents respect. That's it...sid

Forgot to add one thing concerning where I'd like to go with my game. I'd like to get cash more than I give it, and again IMO, you do this by getting in the heat of the battle in real completion as much as possible. Except for learning the hustle techniques and how to choose opponents(spots), it really takes exposure, not instruction. sv

Deeman3
10-10-2005, 01:14 PM
Sid/Cane:

A lot of good points made on both sides here. However, personal improvement is a very personal thing. A lot of people say, "I wanna improve." The more serious question is "How much you desire to improve and how much work/attention to detail can you focus and muster."

My feeling is that most shortchange themselves by not understanding how much more difficult each level you rach can become. Just shooting hundreds of balls may give youan accurate shot but probably not, unless the training/practice is very precise and very important to the student, self taught or coached. When I see a player struggle it is almost always fundamentals, an inability to focus enough on details or that they just don't have the hand eye coordination to improve.

I still find value in a Scott Lee or other instructor more in helping me refocus than in most actual techniques they give me. However, I MUST listen to what they teach to see what I can gain from it======because....."you don't know what you don't know"....That is a strong statement if you think about it. If you are going to take lessons and tell the instructor how to teach you and what to teach you, you'd be much better off buying a new stick or spending it on $10 nine ball with someone you match up well with. By the way, I think there's only a very small percentage of people who could not benefit from instruction. However, many who take instruction seem to think they know more than the teacher and, therefore, probably don't get anything out of it.

Deeman

Billy
10-10-2005, 01:59 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Sid_Vicious:</font><hr> I am in a current opportunity to travel to take lessons from a highly praised instructor, the time and money is available, but truthfully I don't feel like possibly being "re-designed", starting over, doing the work with drills, etc.

It kind of makes me feel "self insulting" to myself to shelve my game today in order to be taught someone else's idea of how I need to stroke a ball. After being on vacation for a week and playing lots of pool, I'm playing about as well as I ever have, and it's fun.
I seriously doubt that I would do the homework I'd be given, so I am leaning far toward the side of saying F-it, may game is what it is and even though the finishing consistency is a bear, it doesn't feel appealing to me to invest more time and money into the instructions.

Is it just me, or does anyone else get burned out with continuing to take lessons with this game???sid <hr /></blockquote>


I've seen pool played well many,many different ways

the instructor who says its my way or the highway doesn't necessarily get it or even possess it in my humble opinion

find someone who can possibly incorporate your natural tendencies into your game and I think you'll find pool in the future more enjoyable as well as satisfying

jmo

Alfie
10-10-2005, 04:54 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Bob_Jewett:</font><hr> I just got back (in July) from taking a series of lessons. The instructor was thorough, thoughful, and a champion. <hr /></blockquote>Who was the instructor?

sack316
10-10-2005, 05:05 PM
The time and money factor in on this I'm sure, but the way I look at it is even learning one new thing, or finding one hole in your game can make it worthwhile. I'm by no means a top player, but I sometimes find myself (for lack of a better word) insulted when someone who I know isn't up to my playing level tried to point something out to me. But then when I look at it, many times they are right and it was worth it to just listen and cram every nugget, no matter how small into my head.
I know your situation isn't quite the same as what I'm talking about, but maybe just a little something to give you a different look at it

Bob_Jewett
10-10-2005, 05:20 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Alfie:</font><hr> <blockquote><font class="small">Quote Bob_Jewett:</font><hr> I just got back (in July) from taking a series of lessons. The instructor was thorough, thoughful, and a champion. <hr /></blockquote>Who was the instructor? <hr /></blockquote>
The 2004 European champion Arnim Kahofer. My September 2005 article was all about taking and giving lessons, and it goes into some detail about what I learned. If you look at my on-line archive of articles, it's the last one in the second big lump.

HALHOULE
10-10-2005, 05:22 PM
DRILLS NEVER EVER COME UP IN A GAME OR TOURNAMENT OR ANYTHING ELSE.

Gayle in MD
10-10-2005, 05:36 PM
Hey Hal,

How come you always reduce everything down to the bare unadulterated truth, LOL...

When are we going to get together friend?

I'm going to be in Pennsylvania soon...

Can I still reach you at the same number? If not give me a call, and we'll set something up, OK?

Take care now, /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif
Love,
Gayle in Md.

pooltchr
10-10-2005, 05:38 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Deeman3:</font><hr> ....."you don't know what you don't know"....

Deeman <hr /></blockquote>

You just summed it all up right there! I used to think I was a pretty good pool player until I got professional instruction. Now, I'm a better player than I was then, but I don't think I'm as good as I used to think I was.
And every chance I get to spend with another instructor, you best believe, I'm there!
Steve

recoveryjones
10-10-2005, 07:19 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote HALHOULE:</font><hr> DRILLS NEVER EVER COME UP IN A GAME OR TOURNAMENT OR ANYTHING ELSE. <hr /></blockquote>

Hey Hal ,
Go easy on Cane...LOL. I know for a fact that he knows at least 5 of your systems, swears by them, uses them and can't say enough about them.

Besides, drills can be fun when everything drops using your systems.RJ

Bob_Jewett
10-10-2005, 07:30 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote HALHOULE:</font><hr> DRILLS NEVER EVER COME UP IN A GAME OR TOURNAMENT OR ANYTHING ELSE. <hr /></blockquote>
Well, actually, Hal, shots I shoot as drills come up all the time in games. The trick is to pick the right drills. Maybe you just haven't seen the right ones.

Oh, and please learn how to turn off the caps lock. We'll all appreciate it.

stickman
10-10-2005, 08:52 PM
I know what you mean. I don't have the money for instruction right now, but if I did, I'm not sure I would want to start over from scratch. For instance: I was taught to stroke with no elbow drop, and did so for over 2 months. It just wasn't working for me. I reverted to my old stroke style. If I was getting instruction, I would be open to suggestion, and even give it an honest try, but I would be more receptive to improving what I have used for years. Lord knows, there are lots of areas where my game could be improved, without major change. /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif

LC3
10-11-2005, 04:38 AM
To what extent you'd be "retooled" depends on the individual instructor. I'd think some instructors want to press students into a mold, whereas other instructors offer refinements to your game (within reason, of course).

Sid_Vicious
10-11-2005, 06:35 AM
I can live with that methodology. Fixing flaws in my game is one thing but starting over is not going to happen with me, I'm too damn old and stubborn to begin such a thing today...sid

Bob_Jewett
10-11-2005, 08:23 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Sid_Vicious:</font><hr> I can live with that methodology. Fixing flaws in my game is one thing but starting over is not going to happen with me, I'm too damn old and stubborn to begin such a thing today...sid <hr /></blockquote>
Then the solution is simple. Work on the shots (and situations) you have trouble with. If you can't figure that out on your own, find an instructor who can help you find the rough spots. Usually they are obvious: "well, I'm stuck here again" or "that's the second time I've missed that shot in this match."

I think you'll see improvement if you just do that "simple" thing. If you don't see improvement, then you will need to rethink your training strategy.

I've had several students flat out tell me, "I'm not going to work on my stroke." Then we work on other stuff.

Scott Lee
10-11-2005, 11:04 AM
sid...You should NOT invest the time and/or money in professional lessons. Why? Because your mind is already turned off the process, and as Cane, Pooltcher and Bob mentioned, if you don't USE the information you are paying for (drills, attitude, etc) it is money wasted. Just be satisfied with the game you have, and spend your money on table time in the poolhall.

Scott ~ just slightly sarcastic, but basically serious

9 Ball Girl
10-11-2005, 11:09 AM
Hey Sid, I've got an idea. How about you have someone videotape you during your next match, make sure it's ok with your opponent of course, and then you can replay it and analyze everything that you did wrong or right.

Wendy~~~should practice what she preaches! /ccboard/images/graemlins/blush.gif

Sid_Vicious
10-11-2005, 11:18 AM
I rarely pay for time anyway, but I understand your intent. I could justify an upgrade to a 9-footer at home with what the cost of a flight and the lessons would total.

Yea my mind is fairly set, comes with age and crankiness I guess. If I haven't learned enough to run multiple racks now, it's doubtful that I would gather enough in lessons to give me that talent now. To say the least, I'd have to really work hard in homework, and working hard is not my forte. A head doctor would do me more good, it's predominently the mental side killing my wins. Thanks...sid

Sid_Vicious
10-11-2005, 11:31 AM
I've done that here at home in the past years, very informative. The thing is this, I used to relentlessly shoot the long straight in stop shot for stroke refinement in front of the camera, got is down solid, and the first time a win ball came up in competition exactly like that practice shot...missed it badly. Goes to show me that practice only does so much, and then it becomes an issue of competing, ALOT, to gain. Jm2c...sid

9 Ball Girl
10-11-2005, 12:20 PM
When I was at the US Open a couple of weeks ago, I noticed that B. Ussery would start his match out by wearing headphones and then eventually took them off. Maybe it's that musical mental pep that's needed. I've done it while I practiced but never at the start of a competition. I may have to give it a try.

Scott Lee
10-11-2005, 12:53 PM
Wendy...There was an article on B.J. in Inside Pool a few months back. He is not listening to music, but to self-affirmation tapes. He's an expert player, who cashes frequently, so there may be some validity to that!

Scott

9 Ball Girl
10-11-2005, 01:12 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Scott Lee:</font><hr> Wendy...There was an article on B.J. in Inside Pool a few months back. He is not listening to music, but to self-affirmation tapes. He's an expert player, who cashes frequently, so there may be some validity to that!

Scott <hr /></blockquote>Yeah, he definitely shoots lights out and I was going to ask him what's he got in his IPOD but I didn't want to be intrusive. Now I know!

Rod
10-11-2005, 04:12 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Sid_Vicious:</font><hr>
Is it just me, or does anyone else get burned out with continuing to take lessons with this game???sid <hr /></blockquote>

I don't know, I've never taken a lesson. LOL I do have an old friend however that was BCA Certified for many years. I say was because he got discusted with them, bye bye. Over the years the only thing he said one time was about the tempo of my stroke. As I recall I hadn't played for sometime and it was a little quick. He knew my stroke and tempo very well, just as I knew his.

About lessons, I have taken them playing golf. I had not played for years but use to play well. Well yes I got burned out to a degree but I took one every week. If I had lacked desire to practice I wouldn't have taken them in the first place.

Rod