View Full Version : How much should i practice?

07-13-2008, 01:41 PM
Currenly i am practicing about 2 hours aday 7 days aweek my goal is to win fairly constantly is this enough practice or to much or should i practice even more? I am also thinking of joining an APA league. Any suggestions will be much appreciated...Thanks.

07-13-2008, 02:09 PM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: zombiemodder</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Currenly i am practicing about 2 hours aday 7 days aweek my goal is to win fairly constantly is this enough practice or to much or should i practice even more? I am also thinking of joining an APA league. Any suggestions will be much appreciated...Thanks. </div></div>
Competition in a league or otherwise is the best measure of whether your game is improving.

What you practice and how you practice it are more important than how much you practice, I think. What do you practice? Do you have any plan to work on your fundamentals?

07-13-2008, 02:25 PM
If you have a table at home then as much as possible. If you go out all you can afford to pay. I played six hours a day for years. Now at my age, 62, i play about three hours daily. Practice alone at your own pace and play straight pool alone. It has all the positions and shots. Rack the balls each time you clear the table. Dumping the balls randomly is easy but the rack is the heart of the game. Learn to break the balls 14.1 style. It's the most important safety. Anyone can smash the balls. Nine ball is fun and popular but all it teaches is nine ball. Position play makes it easier and it will get easier as you play. Don't suffer from missing shots. Position play takes time, take it easy. The old story about Mosconi comes to mind. A player took a buddy that didn't play but was interested to see Mosconi play. After the game as they left the new guy says "What's so good about him?
He never makes any hard shots." Have fun.


07-13-2008, 02:30 PM
Well right now im just playing straight pool alone at home. I ordered The 99 Critical Shots in Pool by Ray Martin i will try to go by this book as soon as i recieve it.

07-13-2008, 02:41 PM
I agree with Bob about the how you practice. Short sessions of 30 minutes with a ten minute break are better than long sesisons where you deveop bad habits and learn to let your concentration wander. In addition, the brain needs time to consolidate the gains it has made.

Taking a ten minute break every 30 minutes helps you get your head back into your practice sessions. Especially if you stop, have a drink, and think about what you did right and what needs to be improved.

Two one hour sessions in a day are better than one two hour session. Three one hour sessions are better than one three hour session, etc.

If you look on Bob's web site you will see an article on progressive drills. From a psychological perspective this is an excellent way to practice. In learning theory one should make about 90% of their shots. Taking on the next level of difficulty only when the prior level is firmly fixed in memory.

You also need something like Fargo, Olympic 9-ball, or my personal favorite, "the Hopkins Q-skill." These types of solitary games create tension because the competition is wth yourself. Each time at the table you are trying to improve on your last attempt. The more balls you make the higher the tension level. The same can be said for playing 14.1 if you take it seriously and attempt to better your longest run.

You also need a plan for practice. Evaluate your game, where are your strengths and your weaknesses. What aspects of your game need to be improved? Set aside specific amounts of time to address these issues and stick with it.

Believe it or not, one of the better forms of practice is to play in your head. During lunch, while riding a bus or at similar times, try to imagine and to visualize your stance, stroke, and shot making. It has been demonstatred that somewhere in the neighborhood of 30% improvement can be obtained through imagined practice in various sports and learning situations.

And that is what the science of psycholoogy has to say. Hope it helps.

Fran Crimi
07-13-2008, 02:59 PM
With all due respect, I beg to differ with you guys. There is such a thing as quality practice time. That's true. But 30 minutes a day or an hour or two a day is not nearly enough time if you really want to be a good player. Ask anyone who's made it in this game. They didn't do it with short practice sessions. Frequent marathon practice/playing sessions are amazingly helpful. Those who have done it know that something great starts to kick in after the 3rd hour, and with some, another wave kicks in at about the 6th hour. It's like your body finally gives in and lets you play pool. Do that enough and you can train yourself to get to that place sooner.


07-13-2008, 06:08 PM
I think there are 3 parts to practicing and they ought to be done as much as time allows.

1. Solitary practice working on developing new skills and keeping the ones you've already got.

2. Mental practice which involves visualization like was suggested above and getting out to sweat the games between the best players in your area. That is usually a real lesson in the mental aspects of the game. It also provides some great new things to take back to solitary practices to work on.

3. Playing other people with something on the line - it doesn't have to be much., maybe just who pays for the time. But it needs to be enough to see how well you can shoot and think under pressure; how well can you focus ball-after-ball. That brings the other 2 parts of practice together because it is a measure of the bottom line - how competitive are you, not when things are going well, but when it all is breaking down. How well do you learn from your mistakes, too?

Last thing - play on lots of different tables when you practice, not just the same one all the time (having one at home is great, though!). That will help you learn how to read the speed of a table, its level, and the rails.

07-13-2008, 06:51 PM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Bob_Jewett</div><div class="ubbcode-body">[.

What you practice and how you practice it are more important than how much you practice, </div></div>

I agree wholeheartedly!
Too many people think throwing 9 balls out on the table and shooting them is practice. I think that is just playing alone. Real practice is designed to address a specific aspect of your game, and should have definitive goals. Practice time is time to learn, time for self evaluation, and to address any specific problems that may have developed in your game.

Scott Lee
07-13-2008, 09:27 PM
I agree with pooltcher here. For disciplined practice to have a great "return on investment", it has to have certain aspects. There must be an achievable goal; a measurable result; it can't be too easy or too hard; and most important, it can't last too long. Human beings have, by nature, a short attention span. You cannot practice, with discipline and diligence, for hours at a time. Your attention span will not allow it. The mind wanders when it is seeking information. Joe W, Bob Jewett, and pooltcher said it best...short sessions, with high concentration, and breaks every so often.

Scott Lee

07-14-2008, 09:17 AM
It is WHAT you practice that is important!

Practice what you are not good at. The shots you "hate".

Keep a pad of paper and pen in your cue bag. Diagram shots you miss or have trouble with. Diagram missed shots which cost you a game. Then go home and practice these things.

99 Critical shots is a great book! Practice the shots in this book. Note that a few of the shots in the book are not possible as diagramed and you might need to move one of the balls over a little or shoot a little different than described. But once you understand (from practice) how each shot is possible, then you will understand why the diagram is off a bit.

Practice "speed control". Search on internet to learn what that is.

Then the thing which helped me the most to win was "Position" or "leave". This is you leave the cue ball in a position after a shot for your next shot. I can have a shot (with an angle) and get the cue ball to come backwards after the shot, go sideways after the shot, or go forwards after the shot.

And then with my "speed control" practice, I can get the cue ball to travel a specific distance after a shot. So I can shoot a ball into a pocket, get the cue ball to go a certain direction after that shot, and get the cue ball to travel a certain distance after the shot. After years of practice, I can many times get the cue ball to go where I want so I can easily shoot in my next shot. And this is how you have a break and run basically.

The thing which helped me the most to learn position was Dr. Daves DVD. Practice each shot on this DVD daily. Get to understand the 30 and 90 degree rules. After 2 years of this practice, you should get to be quite good. You will shoot a shot and the cue ball "magically" travels to just the right spot to shoot in your next ball. Your opponent looks at you like "How did he do that?".

Well here is how...

07-14-2008, 09:26 AM
I have to cast my vote for ...long extended periods of practice and long periods of play, mixed in with your regular, shorter routine.

IMO, (and a lot of good players I've talked to)playing for hours can really burn the fundamentals into your subconscious. It can get you to where you don't need to use so much of your conscious thoughts and focus on the mechanical aspects of shooting well. If that makes sense.