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JoeW
11-28-2009, 03:14 PM
I wonder how others practice to improve their game.

After 30 minutes to an hour practicing alone becomes boring and unless one is highly disciplined it is difficult to continue for any length of time. Many of us play pool because it is fun, enjoyable, and a diversion from other things in life. We want to play well but we do not want to take it up as a job. If I want to get good at this sport I need to spend hours not minutes at the table.

Over the last year I have been looking for something that is fun, interesting, and that will keep me at the table. The way to practice also needs an element that will show up the things I need to practice. For the last month I have structured my practice sessions in a way that seems to meet these requirements. It appears to be working quite well as I look forward to playing nearly everyday and find that I often do not want to quit playing when there is something else that needs to be done. Here is what I do.

Use the balls from 1 Ė 9 and throw them on the table in random order scattering them in such a way that they are all over the table. This should be an easy 9-ball run out because no two balls are touching. Because I donít look at the balls I do not know where the balls will land. Next I take ball in hand on the 1-Ball and try to run out (as in 9-Ball).

If I play poor position I take ball in hand again on the next ball.

Sometimes when I miss position so poorly that I do not have a reasonable shot I try to play a safe that would lock up my ghost opponent.

Usually (not always) when I miss a shot, I will practice that shot and variations of the shot until I think I have it mastered.

I check my progress over time by calculating the average number of balls in hand per game (N balls in hand / N games). I do this on Monday and compare it to the previous week. As the average goes down my game is getting better.

Are there other ways to practice that are fun, interesting, and keep you at the table?

JoeW
11-28-2009, 03:19 PM
I should add that I only practice for about 40 minutes at a time. Then I take a ten minute break. Seems that I can sustain intense concentration for about 40 minutes before I need a break. In the past I would quit after a couple of sessions. Now I seem to be able to play all afternoon.

wolfdancer
11-28-2009, 03:37 PM
Joe, I'm repeating myself, but Jack Nicklaus only hit a few shots with each club to warm up. After he had made 3 good swings, he moved on to the next club, stating that if he hit any more, he would begin practicing his mistakes.
I like your idea of limiting practice to when your concentration level seems to wane. I've got about a 15 minute internal clock...
so, perhaps you can share the secret to your new increased time that you can remain focused???

JoeW
11-28-2009, 04:05 PM
I extended the length of a practice session by five minutes on the first of the month. I have gone from 20 min to 40 minute sessions. It took about six months to get to the longer sessions. If I get to 50 minute sessions without tiring I will quit trying to extend the sessions. For me that would be the max without a ten minute break.

dr_dave
11-28-2009, 04:12 PM
Joe,

I have links to several fun and useful drills here:

http://billiards.colostate.edu/threads/drills.html

I think it is good to mix them up so you don't get bored. Several of them allow you to track your progress over time.

Have you tried Colin's potting drill and Mike Page's Fargo?

Regards,
Dave

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: JoeW</div><div class="ubbcode-body">I wonder how others practice to improve their game.

After 30 minutes to an hour practicing alone becomes boring and unless one is highly disciplined it is difficult to continue for any length of time. Many of us play pool because it is fun, enjoyable, and a diversion from other things in life. We want to play well but we do not want to take it up as a job. If I want to get good at this sport I need to spend hours not minutes at the table.

Over the last year I have been looking for something that is fun, interesting, and that will keep me at the table. The way to practice also needs an element that will show up the things I need to practice. For the last month I have structured my practice sessions in a way that seems to meet these requirements. It appears to be working quite well as I look forward to playing nearly everyday and find that I often do not want to quit playing when there is something else that needs to be done. Here is what I do.

Use the balls from 1 Ė 9 and throw them on the table in random order scattering them in such a way that they are all over the table. This should be an easy 9-ball run out because no two balls are touching. Because I donít look at the balls I do not know where the balls will land. Next I take ball in hand on the 1-Ball and try to run out (as in 9-Ball).

If I play poor position I take ball in hand again on the next ball.

Sometimes when I miss position so poorly that I do not have a reasonable shot I try to play a safe that would lock up my ghost opponent.

Usually (not always) when I miss a shot, I will practice that shot and variations of the shot until I think I have it mastered.

I check my progress over time by calculating the average number of balls in hand per game (N balls in hand / N games). I do this on Monday and compare it to the previous week. As the average goes down my game is getting better.

Are there other ways to practice that are fun, interesting, and keep you at the table?
</div></div>

cushioncrawler
11-28-2009, 05:03 PM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: JoeW</div><div class="ubbcode-body">I wonder how others practice to improve their game.
After 30 minutes to an hour practicing alone becomes boring and unless one is highly disciplined it is difficult to continue for any length of time........... Are there other ways to practice that are fun, interesting, and keep you at the table?</div></div>I can imagin that pool praktis kood be boring.
Hell, snooker praktis gets boring for me -- yet in snooker (22 balls) u hav lots of set pozzys that u can praktis, eg with the colors in their proper places etc.
But english billiards (3 balls) haz lots of types and styles of play -- and lots of systems of play -- must be the best cue'sport in the world to play and praktis -- hardly gets boring at all.

But take yesterday -- now that my team games etc are finished for the year (i play in 2 leagues) -- i shood hav a long break -- but i spent most of yesterday banging balls -- mostly all dead straight -- mostly with a polka'dot''qball, to check unwanted side'spin.
I went back to basiks -- tryd anything and everything -- and i tryd different old sticks that hav been gathering dust in the rack.
Lots of good things happened -- for a while -- and i woz writing lots of stuff in my praktis diary.
I got excited -- then despondant -- etc etc etc -- and in the end bored -- but really i woz more tired than bored -- i had had enuff by then anyhow i reckon -- praktis takes it out of u.
madMac.

wolfdancer
11-28-2009, 05:19 PM
Thanks, I might try that..I have the "Pro Skill Drills" DVD's,
Bert's "60 minute workout" and some other exercises shown to me by a Cue-Tech Grad. I should make better use of those, but kind of just bust them up and try to run out, or safe myself.
I'm no threat to win the bigger tournaments up here, but I can at least ca$h in the smaller ones. I really enjoy having my own table to play on....a half hour of play is my mental therapy for the day. that relaxes me along with the classical, the new age and the meditative music that I like to listen to.
I think the one drill that I do .....I liken it to skiing's graduated length method....keep increasing the combined length of the shot...a cb near the corner pocket and an OB halfway on the diagonal to the opposite corner pocket is supposed to be the toughest to aim correctly???

cushioncrawler
11-28-2009, 06:38 PM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: JoeW</div><div class="ubbcode-body">I wonder how others practice to improve their game. After 30 minutes to an hour practicing alone becomes boring and unless one is highly disciplined it is difficult to continue for any length of time.........Are there other ways to practice that are fun, interesting, and keep you at the table?</div></div>Joe -- Aktually if i praktis after i dont hav breakfast, from say 9am to 12 i probly hav say 10 breaks.
What with making cups of tea -- letting the dog in and out -- posting on some forum -- answering the phone.
And all the while listening to high'brow radio -- or playing back some TV program that i taped last nite.
Some mornings i would be lucky to get 44 minutes of proper praktis i reckon.

Then, after i dont hav lunch, from say 1pm to 5pm -- i do it all again. Probly get 66 minutes of proper praktis.
madMac.

Billy_Bob
11-28-2009, 11:30 PM
When I first started playing, I kept a list of shots I missed so I could practice those later. The list became quite long!

So what I did instead to warm-up was a little bit of everything mixed with a little bit of progressive with each type of shot.

So straight in shots diagonal corner to corner moving the object ball further and further away. (Maybe 6 shots total.)

Then cut shots into a corner moving the object ball further and further away from the pocket. (Maybe 5 shots total.)

A few cut shots into the side pockets from either direction.

Then a few draw shots. (Line of balls, draw cue ball back further and further with each shot.)

Then a few follow shots. (Same shot each time, get cue ball to roll further and further with each shot.)

Then a few bank shots.

Then a few kick shots.

And last would be a fun shot, trick shot, show off shot, whatever.

And this can be done in about 15 or 20 minutes. I would do this every day.

The interesting thing I saw was that some days I would be good at cut shots, but have trouble with straight in shots. Or another day be good at straight in shots, but have trouble with cut shots! Or I could do everything perfect at home, then drive 30 minutes to a tournament, do the same practice there before the tournament started, and suddenly have trouble with everything! (Stress from driving I think! I'd be ok once I relaxed.)

Anyway this would show me what I was having trouble with that day and I could then spend more time working on those specific shots.

JoeW
11-29-2009, 07:39 AM
Thanks for all the ideas. I like Fargo, Have not seen Colin's Potting Drill and will try the other suggestions.

I think that what I like about my current routine is the relaxed emphasis on position and shot making. Every shot is important but no shot wrecks the "game" by leaving such bad position that I have to take a flyer at a low probability shot.

Every time I have to take ball in hand I learn something and try that much harder to get better position the next time. I am even getting better at playing two balls ahead of the current shot.

Apparently the idea that I do not beat myself up for bad position contributes to much less pressure and the brain / mind learns better under these circumstances. Perhaps it is my current stage of development but it seems that getting position is what the game is all about (after the ball has been pocketed). This type of practice seems to emphasize these important aspects in a low pressure situation.

Dave's new DVD (#2) looks to be quite useful here especially the 45 degree rule that I did not know about.

dr_dave
11-29-2009, 11:36 AM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: JoeW</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Thanks for all the ideas. I like Fargo, Have not seen Colin's Potting Drill and will try the other suggestions.</div></div>I wouldn't describe Colin's drill as fun, but it will keep you at the table. It is also interesting to see how your score changes over time. To me, that's the fun part.

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: JoeW</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Dave's new DVD (#2) looks to be quite useful here especially the 45 degree rule that I did not know about.</div></div>Thanks Joe. I also didn't know about the 45-degree rule until Tom showed me. It isn't exact, but it is helpful.

Regards,
Dave

bradb
11-29-2009, 03:30 PM
I play a lot of practice drills but find it very hard to continue very long befor getting sloppy or bored.

Sometimes I like to play race to 9 against myself. I keep track of who wins... breaker is me... second shooter another guy. To keep track the other guy wears a hat.

The competion can be real if you can literly switch IDs and pretend that the second shooter is somebody else who wants to beat you.

Its me against the "hat" and the bastard has beaten me many times. Brad

Soflasnapper
11-29-2009, 06:45 PM
I seem to be allergic to drills. About the only shots I've drilled extensively are the Monk's 2-4-2 (sorry, whatever he calls it), which he recommends be shot hundreds of times (it's a side pocket shot from mid-table, with a three rail travel back to the center table position), and Kinnister's Shot #1 (a straight in, off the rail, down the rail shot).

What I do more is play the self-competitive games, 10 racks of whichever game (Fargo, Boca Ball, Bowliards) and try to improve my prior score for the 10 racks. (These take about an hour or so). Or I'll shoot rotations racks, no ball in hand, and the score there is however many fouls occur (lower is better, obviously).

Playing the rotation racks is challenging because you end up with harder shots, harder shape to make, more kicking, and more self-safety opportunities. These will come up far less in the previously mentioned all-offense games, where additional ball-in-hands are granted each rack.

wolfdancer
11-29-2009, 09:59 PM
I don't know the 45-degree rule!!! unless it involves something like a predictable carom angle. But at my age, I've forgotten things that I never learned to begin with.
Randy has some saying about "you don't know what you don't know"
and I'm pretty sure he had me in mind when he wrote that.

dr_dave
11-29-2009, 10:05 PM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: wolfdancer</div><div class="ubbcode-body">I don't know the 45-degree rule!!! unless it involves something like a predictable carom angle.</div></div>It is presented in the following clip:

NV B.74 - Center-of-table position and routes, from VEPS II (http://billiards.colostate.edu/normal_videos/new/NVB-74.htm)

wolfdancer
11-29-2009, 10:22 PM
Thanks Dr. Dave...I'm going to save that for tomorrow's viewing, with my morning coffee!!!

bradb
11-30-2009, 11:42 AM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: dr_dave</div><div class="ubbcode-body"><div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: wolfdancer</div><div class="ubbcode-body">I don't know the 45-degree rule!!! unless it involves something like a predictable carom angle.</div></div>It is presented in the following clip:

NV B.74 - Center-of-table position and routes, from VEPS II (http://billiards.colostate.edu/normal_videos/new/NVB-74.htm) </div></div>

Unfortunately for me Dave the Qball always finds a position where it goes through the center and scratches in the corner pocket. /forums/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/smirk.gif

Brad

dr_dave
11-30-2009, 11:48 AM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: bradb</div><div class="ubbcode-body"><div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: dr_dave</div><div class="ubbcode-body"><div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: wolfdancer</div><div class="ubbcode-body">I don't know the 45-degree rule!!! unless it involves something like a predictable carom angle.</div></div>It is presented in the following clip:

NV B.74 - Center-of-table position and routes, from VEPS II (http://billiards.colostate.edu/normal_videos/new/NVB-74.htm) </div></div>

Unfortunately for me Dave the Qball always finds a position where it goes through the center and scratches in the corner pocket. /forums/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/smirk.gif

Brad </div></div>Unfortuantely, the physical laws of the universe don't always apply equally to all people. /forums/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/wink.gif

Dave

Brian in VA
11-30-2009, 04:00 PM
Another reason to put the series on my Christmas list! Thanks Dr. Dave!

Brian in VA

dr_dave
11-30-2009, 04:27 PM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Brian in VA</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Another reason to put the series on my Christmas list! Thanks Dr. Dave!

Brian in VA </div></div>I hope all of your Christmas wishes come true! /forums/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/wink.gif

Regards,
Dave

Sid_Vicious
11-30-2009, 05:16 PM
Dave...Are you going to have a segment on stroke perfection and mechanics of stroke selections used for specialty shots such as nip, jacked up, hung CBs on the lip of pockets? IMO, gaining on stroke excellence has to be the absolute key to progress for all levels, especially for the weary old farts like me who lose stroke at the worst times.


This question also leads into my review of Disk 1. There was certainly a great amount of information in most of it, yet then some of the specialty shots using carom into two balls for getting at a nine by a pocket, among other shots during some of the rest of the topics selected, were IMO more Hollywood than what most players who will buy these disks needs. There were definitely a ton of shots to see. My only question was, "Were the more elaborate, quickly done shots by Tom really useful, for players who can't stroke line he does? I noticed a lot of backhand english at times, but the fundamental and most useful stroke methods were there in for the in-depth tutorials. I just feel that many of the elaborate shots would have to include what the stroke was doing.

Overall I give your Disk1 a 3.5 out of 5.Thanks...sid

dr_dave
11-30-2009, 05:24 PM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Sid_Vicious</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Dave...Are you going to have a segment on stroke perfection and mechanics of stroke selections used for specialty shots such as nip, jacked up, hung CBs on the lip of pockets? IMO, gaining on stroke excellence has to be the absolute key to progress for all levels, especially for the weary old farts like me who lose stroke at the worst times. Thanks...sid </div></div>Tom and I spent an entire day filming stuff on the fundamentals of stance, grip, bridge, and stroke, but then we decided to not include this stuff. It was much too long. Also, so many books, videos, and instructors cover this stuff already. We do address technique issues when we feel it is particularly important for certain types of shot (e.g., power draw, touch shot, jump shot, masses, etc.), but we don't cover the basic fundamentals. I agree with you that this stuff is extremely important, but that is not the focus of our series.

FYI, I have lots of resources for fundamentals stuff here:
http://billiards.colostate.edu/resources/index.html#summaries
and here:
http://billiards.colostate.edu/threads/stroke.html

Catch you later,
Dave

Sid_Vicious
11-30-2009, 05:34 PM
You would admit though that the difference between a great billiards player and the so-so players, IS a perfect stroke. The stroke of great players, which usually gets the praises of bystanders...is what inevitably MAKE the above average player, wanta-be types, an exceptional player. I'd pay money to get my stroke pure and consistent, and I kinda did many years ago unknowingly at the time. I need more help though, as do 99% of the entire billiard playing world. Oh well, thanks for the reply...sid

dr_dave
11-30-2009, 05:51 PM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Sid_Vicious</div><div class="ubbcode-body">You would admit though that the difference between a great billiards player and the so-so players, IS a perfect stroke. The stroke of great players, which usually gets the praises of bystanders...is what inevitably MAKE the above average player, wanta-be types, an exceptional player. I'd pay money to get my stroke pure and consistent, and I kinda did many years ago unknowingly at the time. I need more help though, as do 99% of the entire billiard playing world. Oh well, thanks for the reply...sid </div></div>Agreed. I think the best way to do this is to spend time with a qualified and experienced instructor, and practice and play as much as you possibly can. Here are some recommended instructors:

http://billiards.colostate.edu/links.html#Schools

Regards,
Dave

wolfdancer
11-30-2009, 06:03 PM
Sid, what could be simpler to master then a pool stroke, a one lever system with the elbow as the fulcrum? Back, forth, back forth, etc. What makes it seem complicated is the 1000 books that try to describe it's motion from it's beginning, to it's ending.
It's a good thing these folks never tried to write about how to tie ones shoes, as we would all be wearing penny loafers, and tens of thousands of migrant shoe lace workers would be out of a job.
"Back, hit, back hit"
I gave up a long time ago on having one of them super strokes, and adopted Fast Larry's idea of shortening my bridge length. That seemed to help.
Back, forward, back, forward....

cushioncrawler
11-30-2009, 07:30 PM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Sid_Vicious</div><div class="ubbcode-body">You would admit though that the difference between a great billiards player and the so-so players, IS a perfect stroke. The stroke of great players, which usually gets the praises of bystanders...is what inevitably MAKE the above average player, wanta-be types, an exceptional player. I'd pay money to get my stroke pure and consistent, and I kinda did many years ago unknowingly at the time. I need more help though, as do 99% of the entire billiard playing world. Oh well, thanks for the reply...sid</div></div>Sid -- I am thinking that not one champ in ten would hav anything like a perfikt stroke.
And not one legend in 100.
madMac.

dr_dave
11-30-2009, 11:04 PM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: cushioncrawler</div><div class="ubbcode-body">I am thinking that not one champ in ten would hav anything like a perfikt stroke.</div></div>I guess that depends on what you mean by "perfect stroke." Obviously, nobody has a "perfect" stroke because we are all human. However, all great players have an extremely consistent and accurate stroke. Now, not all great players have "textbook" stroke mechanics. But all of these players arguably have a great stroke, as evidenced by their success.

Regards,
Dave

Sid_Vicious
12-01-2009, 12:45 AM
Perfect Dave? This tells me that stroke execution is a mere piece of bullsh!t then. NO, Tom "sompthin", cant remember that guys name, was just backyard strokes. My point is, why the FFF would any one buy your vids if you can not establish a base line for all of your profession for sales? Every part of any, ANY science of mechanical sports, HAS to include all of the pure basics.

You kick a ball. You throw a ball. You throw an stick to intend a resultant placement of outcome. Every part of the fundamental ADDRESS, movement thru movement, is far more important than a bunch of show-off trick shots. Tell you whut, send me my cash back at 60, for the thirty. I'm being serious. Martin(Sid)~~~curious if Dave backs up his guarantee like he did to Wolf,,,to me. sv

dr_dave
12-01-2009, 09:50 AM
Sid,

You obviously feel very strongly about having stroke fundamentals covered on every DVD. I'm sorry if you were mislead into thinking VEPS included this. If you purchased Disc I and were disappointed by it, please send it back so Tom and I can give you a refund. I did not offer you the double money-back guarantee, so you are out of luck there. In fact, I didn't offer you any guarantee; but we don't want anybody to be so unhappy with our product, so please send it back for a refund.

If you want a good DVD on stroke fundamentals, I would suggest Randy's and Scott's DVD. It covers the fundamentals quite well. Also, as I've pointed out, I have many video, article, and handout resources on fundamentals available for free throughout my website.

Regards,
Dave

PS: Did you really think Disc I is just a collection of "show-off trick shots?"!!! /forums/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/frown.gif I strongly disagree. It contains many useful principles and concepts that many people are finding informative and useful (per the hundreds of positive e-mail responses, posts, and PM's I've received so far).

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Sid_Vicious</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Perfect Dave? This tells me that stroke execution is a mere piece of bullsh!t then. NO, Tom "sompthin", cant remember that guys name, was just backyard strokes. My point is, why the FFF would any one buy your vids if you can not establish a base line for all of your profession for sales? Every part of any, ANY science of mechanical sports, HAS to include all of the pure basics.

You kick a ball. You throw a ball. You throw an stick to intend a resultant placement of outcome. Every part of the fundamental ADDRESS, movement thru movement, is far more important than a bunch of show-off trick shots. Tell you whut, send me my cash back at 60, for the thirty. I'm being serious. Martin(Sid)~~~curious if Dave backs up his guarantee like he did to Wolf,,,to me. sv </div></div>

Njhustler1
12-01-2009, 01:41 PM
this might sound weird but my game has gotten significantly better in the last year even though i dont practice at all anymore. i play 2 nights a week right now and i'm playing better than ever and feel like i still have improvements i can make. yet a year ago, i was playing in 3 league nights a week and practicing another one or two nights. anyone else experience anything like this?

i think i'm making a lot of mental game improvements to compensate for my rusty mechanics due to a lack of practice. but those mental changes seem to be overcompensating and i'm playing even better!!