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JJFSTAR
10-08-2011, 11:19 AM
The reason I have asked this question and my real question is “is pool more like chess flavored poker or poker flavored chess?” is my current students and how to get them to make better decisions. Pool is IMHO poker flavored chess but if when you are playing you think of it more as chess flavored poker it might lead you to making better decisions. I am of the opinion that it is the skill that comes first. No question about it I think; ALL great pool players are great shot makers period, not most ALL. All good pool players calculate many moves in advance of what they are going to do just like a chess player. Now most of the “skill” of poker is being able to calculate the “odds” what is most likely to fall, what is/are my opponent/opponents most likely plays, what do they “most likely” have etc.. But what if you are unfamiliar with thinking this way in terms of pool?

Your typical APA 3 or 4 cannot do either very well the first reason is that just like the beginning chess player they have not yet formed the “neural pathways” that will allow them to think more than a shot or move or 2 ahead. Also like the beginning poker player they don’t know the “odds of what is most likely to happen” So what is the quickest way to get them to understand how to take on this mammoth task? Is it to emphasize that you need to calculate out what you are going to do far in advance or calculate all of the “odds” of what is going to happen or what is most likely to happen when you shoot a particular shot? What are the odds of making the shot, what are the odds of me making the run, what are the odds of leaving my opponent an easy out if I miss, what is the risk/reward of this shot etc..

With us these calculations of the odds happen in nanoseconds but with your lower level league players they happen to a limited extent if at all. I think I am going to try this question on at least one of my students and see how it goes. I will be interested in seeing if it makes them calculate out better and hopefully eventually farther as well. I hope this clears up the question at the outset and lets everyone understand that what I am asking has nothing to do with luck or gambling. If you have not followed this post please see the post by me “Silly Question”

Fran Crimi
10-08-2011, 01:20 PM
If I were you I probably wouldn't ask any of my students that question because an answer that makes sense can only come from a player with a higher skill level.

I think you hit the nail on the head when you wrote that all great players are great shot-makers. I think that once a player becomes a solid shot-maker, then, and only then will they be able to begin to accurately assess situations for themselves.

In training a beginner-type player for league play, I would offer them a few strategic moves and info on when to play them, and have them focus more on ball-pocketing. I think that if a team has to rely on a beginner to win the night for them, then they are really not a good team and should rethink their team strategy.

JJFSTAR
10-08-2011, 04:12 PM
Thanks Fran, my course is divided into 2 large sections and 6 sub-sections the first 3 lessons (lessons are not sessions, lessons can take weeks, months or yes in some cases well over a year, I had 1 girl who was on lesson 3 for about a year and a half) are physics & technique the last 3 lessons are strategy & the mental game. I am only talking about students that are in say the last 2 legs of my course.

Fran Crimi
10-09-2011, 08:27 AM
Right. Glad to hear you gauge your players on an individual basis. I realize that many players want to jump into league play early on and that's good for the game. I think that organized pool is saving the game in this country at this time.

Because of that, some strategy lessons early are mandatory, but I think the key lies in the instructor not assuming the player is strategically capable of more than they are.

jjinfla
10-09-2011, 04:47 PM
I believe that 2's and 3's should not worry (think) about anything other than making the ball and having fun. And use nothing but center ball. Anything else just confuses and frustrates them. When they get up to a 4 then it is time to start learning about the three ball rule, playing position and using english. Besides, every APA team needs 2's and 3's to survive. When they get to be 5's or 6's they start learning/thinking about shot selection, percentage of making the shot and two way shots.

Of course there are the professional 4's in the APA. Skilled players who work hard at maintaining a 4 level.

Rich R.
10-09-2011, 07:35 PM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: jjinfla</div><div class="ubbcode-body">I believe that 2's and 3's should not worry (think) about anything other than making the ball and having fun. And use nothing but center ball. Anything else just confuses and frustrates them. When they get up to a 4 then it is time to start learning about the three ball rule, playing position and using english. Besides, every APA team needs 2's and 3's to survive. When they get to be 5's or 6's they start learning/thinking about shot selection, percentage of making the shot and two way shots.

Of course there are the professional 4's in the APA. Skilled players who work hard at maintaining a 4 level. </div></div>
IMHO, 2's and 3's should also learn when and how to play a decent safety shot.

JJFSTAR
10-10-2011, 09:01 AM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: jjinfla</div><div class="ubbcode-body">I believe that 2's and 3's should not worry (think) about anything other than making the ball and having fun. And use nothing but center ball. Anything else just confuses and frustrates them. When they get up to a 4 then it is time to start learning about the three ball rule, playing position and using english. Besides, every APA team needs 2's and 3's to survive. When they get to be 5's or 6's they start learning/thinking about shot selection, percentage of making the shot and two way shots.

Of course there are the professional 4's in the APA. Skilled players who work hard at maintaining a 4 level. </div></div>

Unbelievable, how in the world did you become a good pool player? You must have a natural gift for the game that I can only dream of, either that or it took you 20 years to learn how to play the game.

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Rich R.</div><div class="ubbcode-body">IMHO, 2's and 3's should also learn when and how to play a decent safety shot. </div></div>

Teaching the safety is an art all unto itself, surprisingly “teaching the safety” has nothing to do with teaching the safety IMHO. If you want to make a new post I will explain how I think about it and I think it would be a very interesting topic.

JJFSTAR
10-10-2011, 04:40 PM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: JJFSTAR</div><div class="ubbcode-body">[Unbelievable, how in the world did you become a good pool player? You must have a natural gift for the game that I can only dream of, either that or it took you 20 years to learn how to play the game.</div></div>

Jake I want to apologize and try to explain why I reacted the way I did. When I am working with a beginner I tell them that pool “looks like” it is about making the OB, but it is not. I tell them a very simple concept; I say pool is played like this. “You shoot the OB into the pocket and roll the CB to a place where you can make the next ball easily, and then you do this for the next one, the next one, the next one until the table is clear and you win. This explanation has worked for many people.

In Ray Martin’s book The 99 Critical Shots in Pool right from the very beginning he explains the stop shot and explains its positional value this is shot #1 if memory serves me correctly. With beginners you don’t have to explain English, tangent lines, speed and the like, you can start off with the most simple and basic of concepts and work your way up. I have taught beginners how to play in what would normally be considered the blink of an eye; just as pool is a passion of mine so is teaching it. It is the thing that allows me not only to improve my own game as well as make more money than I spend doing it, but allows me to develop someone else’s game and few things in life (at least for me) are more satisfying.

It is my very humble opinion that when you say what someone should be doing is just shooting balls in and having fun that this is to a certain extent a disservice. For the most part the fact that a person is a 2 or 3 means that they have signed onto a pool team, so they have some interest in pool or else they wouldn’t be there. I understand that there are exceptions to this but those a very few and far between. When you “just shoot the balls in” you are reinforcing what pool “looks like” and is definitely not. The longer a person does this the more ingrained it becomes and the harder they are to teach later. It is easier to write on a blank chalk board than it is to erase scribble on a chalk board and then write on it.

I have taught many people how to play the game some of them were Mexican jumping beans that slammed balls into pockets having the CB fly around the table at hyper speed with a stick hike that almost took out the table light every time; and have turned them into fairly decent team players in a matter of months.

My apologies again Jake I did not mean to “come off like a jerk” and I suppose that I did. I am really quite a nice guy (believe it or not). I have just as much a passion for teaching the game for the reasons explained above as I do for playing it, and that got the best of me. I will in the future not disrespect you posts, I just hope I have explained myself and why I “came off” so badly.

Rich R.
10-11-2011, 10:51 AM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: JJFSTAR</div><div class="ubbcode-body"><div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: jjinfla</div><div class="ubbcode-body">I believe that 2's and 3's should not worry (think) about anything other than making the ball and having fun. And use nothing but center ball. Anything else just confuses and frustrates them. When they get up to a 4 then it is time to start learning about the three ball rule, playing position and using english. Besides, every APA team needs 2's and 3's to survive. When they get to be 5's or 6's they start learning/thinking about shot selection, percentage of making the shot and two way shots.

Of course there are the professional 4's in the APA. Skilled players who work hard at maintaining a 4 level. </div></div>

Unbelievable, how in the world did you become a good pool player? You must have a natural gift for the game that I can only dream of, either that or it took you 20 years to learn how to play the game.

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Rich R.</div><div class="ubbcode-body">IMHO, 2's and 3's should also learn when and how to play a decent safety shot. </div></div>

Teaching the safety is an art all unto itself, surprisingly “teaching the safety” has nothing to do with teaching the safety IMHO. If you want to make a new post I will explain how I think about it and I think it would be a very interesting topic.
</div></div>
Since we were discussing 2's and 3's, I don't think safeties are an art form at all. In their case, sometimes it is as simple as leaving a long shot. Knowing when to play a safety is a little more complicated at that level. However, please feel free to start a new thread yourself on the topic of safety play. I would be very interested to read your views.

jjinfla
10-14-2011, 08:47 PM
Close enough. It is shot #2 in Ray's book. (I looked) I have met Ray and he signed my copy of his book. My friend took lessons from Ray. Wasted his money. Not Rays fault, my friend is just dense. But he did enjoy the experience. He was a 4 then and still is a 4 now, many years later. Not by design, he is just hopeless. Has well over 300 APA matches.

Anybody ever meet a 2 or 3 (a beginner) who knows Ray Martin, let alone bought his book, and studied it? I just don't believe it happens. That would be a rare experience. People just don't start studying the game until they have been playing it for some time. Even then, very few really study it at all.

My point is that you can't teach a person something until he/she is ready to learn it.

New people playing the game (some who have been around for some time) really have to learn that pool balls are round and contact points are not where they think they are.

As Grady Matthews says, you have to hit a million balls to get good. Then hit another million.

Unfortunately, after reading/studying tons of books and videos and practicing 2-3 hours every day for 5-6 years I reached a point where I realized that I will never get very good at this game - just good enough. I had reached the peak of my ability. So, 3-4 years ago I gave up the game for the most part. I was a 6 in both 8 & 9 ball mostly because I kept my innings up & lost games to keep from becoming a 7.

I swim in a pond where there is only one fish better than me. There are more than 100 other fish in the pond. Of course when I go to the pool hall (a bigger pond) I am probably just better than average.

Rich R.
10-15-2011, 05:05 AM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: jjinfla</div><div class="ubbcode-body">I had reached the peak of my ability. So, 3-4 years ago I gave up the game for the most part. I was a 6 in both 8 & 9 ball mostly because I kept my innings up & lost games to keep from becoming a 7. </div></div>
IMHO, there is no such thing as reaching the peak of your ability. You may not become a pro, and improvements may come slowly, but you can always improve. You just gave up on it.

Let's tell the truth here. The real problem is that you preferred to cheat your league, by holding down your skill level, rather than improve. If you continued practicing and studying, without regard for your league ranking, you would have improved.

Bambu
10-15-2011, 08:52 AM
Nice one Rich, tap tap!

JJFSTAR
10-16-2011, 02:57 PM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: jjinfla</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Anybody ever meet a 2 or 3 (a beginner) who knows Ray Martin, let alone bought his book, and studied it? I just don't believe it happens. </div></div>

I assume you mean of Ray Martin because I don’t know Ray Martin and I studied his book because it was mentioned in Byrnes book. I bought these books when I began, before I ever joined a team. I was still a social player; yes I was a beginner having shot pool socially for less than 1yr. I had a student that read The 99 critical shots he was/is no more than a 3 so there are 2 right there.


<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: jjinfla</div><div class="ubbcode-body">That would be a rare experience. People just don't start studying the game until they have been playing it for some time. Even then, very few really study it at all. </div></div>

I agree I am one of the exceptions.


<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: jjinfla</div><div class="ubbcode-body">My point is that you can't teach a person something until he/she is ready to learn it. </div></div>

I agree but some are “ready to learn it” right from the very start it’s just that there aren’t very many people around anywhere who are “good” instructors.

jjinfla
10-16-2011, 05:20 PM
Quote Rich R.: "IMHO, there is no such thing as reaching the peak of your ability. You may not become a pro, and improvements may come slowly, but you can always improve. You just gave up on it."

You must be young Rich - and very naive. Ever hear of Tiger Woods? Or the theory of diminishing returns? Or, look at all the pros in pool who no longer compete. Or if they do, it is just for the love of the game because they know that no amount of practice will help them. Old man time catches up to everyone.

Did I give up on it? Yep. To continue doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is a sign of insanity. I believe Albert said that.

One day, you too will have an epiphany and you too will say "damn, Jake was right".

Cheat in the APA? Me? Anyone? Surely you jest. Pool players cheat? Pool players hustle? Pool player and hustle is not an oxymoron it is a synonym.

The APA is a hustle. A darn good one. I wish I would have thought of it. Like a pyramid scheme. But you know that.

Got any good hustle stories? Heard any? Have you hustled anyone? Been hustled? Won a few beers from a drunk? In your world, is that cheating?

Rich R.
10-16-2011, 06:59 PM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: jjinfla</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Quote Rich R.: "IMHO, there is no such thing as reaching the peak of your ability. You may not become a pro, and improvements may come slowly, but you can always improve. You just gave up on it."

You must be young Rich - and very naive. Ever hear of Tiger Woods? Or the theory of diminishing returns? Or, look at all the pros in pool who no longer compete. Or if they do, it is just for the love of the game because they know that no amount of practice will help them. Old man time catches up to everyone.

Did I give up on it? Yep. To continue doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is a sign of insanity. I believe Albert said that.

One day, you too will have an epiphany and you too will say "damn, Jake was right".

Cheat in the APA? Me? Anyone? Surely you jest. Pool players cheat? Pool players hustle? Pool player and hustle is not an oxymoron it is a synonym.

The APA is a hustle. A darn good one. I wish I would have thought of it. Like a pyramid scheme. But you know that.

Got any good hustle stories? Heard any? Have you hustled anyone? Been hustled? Won a few beers from a drunk? In your world, is that cheating? </div></div>
Jake, if you're comparing your pool playing with Tiger's golfing, maybe I am wrong and you couldn't get any better. However, since you said you were an APA 6, I think I was right and there was room for improvement.

Now, to respond to your statement.
No, I am neither young nor naive. I'm over 60, my knees and back are shot and I'm playing the best pool of my life and still improving.

Albert was correct when he said that doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result was insanity. But, who said you have to do the same thing over and over. You could always learn something new. I do all of the time.

The APA isn't a hustle, it's a business. Any business you deal with makes a profit or they aren't in business for long. I don't resent my local grocery store for making a profit and I don't resent the APA for their profit. They give every member exactly what they promiss, no more and no less. For half the price of a movie, I get a few hours of enjoyment each week. I'm a satisfied customer.

A hustle is something totally different and there is a lot of cheating involved. I've done a little, when I was young, but I didn't much care for it. Before you ask again, I did think it was cheating and that is what I didn't like about it. In the APA, I have an honest handicap and I play as well as I can each week. I don't hide a thing as you do in a hustle. I've been the MVP/Top Gun for my skill level, in my division, at least 5 or 6 times, or more, so you can see, I don't dump any matches. In other words, I don't cheat.

Maybe someday you'll start playing pool again and get the improvement you're looking for. I really hope so. One thing is for sure, I will not be saying that "Jake was right."

jjinfla
10-18-2011, 05:38 PM
Okay Rich. At 60 you are young and have a long way ahead of you. I took up pool at the age of 58 when I retired and moved down here to Florida in 1998 and actually really did put a lot of effort into the game.

The APA has a great hook. You play one session and receive your reward in the next session. By the time I realized that being a 4 is the best place to be in the APA I was already a 5 and then a 6. Then of course I had to start my own team because we had another 6 and a 7 on the team. That is another good hook the APA has. The higher SL's have to leave the team and start one of their own.

Some people call adding innings or not calling safes cheating; others call it strategy. Or doing what it takes to help the team. Do you really want all your team members moving up one level just before the playoffs?

I didn't much care for 8 ball since you spend a lot of time just waiting to play and then you might not play at all. But I did really like the 9 ball format. That was a lot of fun.

I probably would have stayed in but it just got to the point that I could no longer tolerate all the smoke.

Then in 2007 I went and got a real estate license to pass the time. Just when the market was diving. I will give up my license and go inactive at the end of the year so I will most likely start playing some pool in weekly tournaments where I most likely will go 2 or 3 and out. But like you say, it is cheap entertainment and well worth the money.

Sid_Vicious
10-19-2011, 03:04 PM
Boy y'all put out a lot to chew on here. APA...yes it has a good hook, yet as Jake said, and I agree, "I didn't much care for 8 ball since you spend a lot of time just waiting to play and then you might not play at all." The establishment(bar bill) always wins. Another thing, you would never get me to keep a score sheet with all those stats.

I've taken free beers from a drunk or two, but paid that back to others later. That's "the gamble." If all of the sport of billiards was purely for the sporting aspect, without the zest of "playing for something"...I personally believe that pool would dry up and blow away. Sure, lots of people won't even put a dime, literally, on a pool shot or pool game. These types don't support the venues where pool is offered.

As far as reaching the peak of your ability??? it has happened, be it magic or the zone,,,sometimes it all comes together in every aspect of running racks for as many as 2 days straight. My take is that after a marginal piece of time with this game, we find the easy part of it, and then through either persuasion or intermittent failure, we "begin to believe" it is hard to play this game. Tell me this, have you not watched the 3-4' kids in Vegas hustling bigger money in the wee hours of the morning out on the perimeter tables from the main event? It is the clutter in out lives which kills the "easy" part of playing the game of pool. Shootin'em in like a 6th grader has it's meaning. We just all need to find a way to re-format our brains before a match, lose all of the crap life has given, forget about an illness, EVERYTHING! That ain't happening, and is the reason you see child proteges blend into non proteges as soon as the first parts of "real life" pounces upon them.

A totally blitzed drunk(young...old drunks are just embarassing no matter), or a buzzed coker, has times where they hit that zone for a piece of time, cuz their brain goes back to life's pre-school.

Once us tenured players come of any age,,,the mortgage, the hot body in the corner, the job, the wife waiting to bitch, the kids, the economy, the body breaking, the....well that enough, you get my meaning.

Most of pool is mental. The playing part of pool is easy though. It is life that sucks. sid