View Full Version : Anyone else here gone through these phases?

01-14-2003, 05:09 PM
I began playing pretty young, at the age of ten. For the first two years of my playing career I had to play on either a bumper pool table or a fibreboard shaky 6 footer. When I was old enough to go into the "big boys" poolroom I had a pretty good headstart and had just about completed my first phase.

Phase One- Went from complete novice to a "shotmaker".

Now I may have been hard headed since for the next 4 years I could pocket nearly any ball but had little idea where my cueball would be when I was complete. I was often out of line but could make nearly any shot so it never really botherd me.

Phase Two- Shotmaker with little regard for shape.

At 16 I was old enough to leave the local Boys Club and play at a real poolhall. It was then I discovered english and position (OK, so I was a slow learner). Seemingly overnight I could draw my rock like it was on a string, spin my cueball, park it on a half dollar and still make difficult shots when necessary.

Phase Three- I learned position and it became my friend.

Shortly after the age of 18 I donated 15 months of my life to defend someone elses country. Then I took pool up again and found I still had cueball control but had lost my superhuman /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif shot making abilities.

Phase Four- Gone from superhuman to a mere mortal.

Next I began to refine my strategy and learn patterns still attempting to recoup the shotmaking ability I had experienced as a teenager. Don't get me wrong I can still bear down and make nearly any shot I was capable of pocketing in the past. What I cannot do is make 5 or 6 extremely difficult shots in a row, although I rarely get that far out of line these days either.

Phase Five- Accepting my mortality but longing for those good old days!

I am just wondering if any one else here can relate mine to similar phases in their pool carrers. Am anxious to hear your stories.


01-14-2003, 05:33 PM
dude after the way i played last night i think im heading into your bumper pool days /ccboard/images/graemlins/frown.gif

01-14-2003, 05:40 PM
I can sorta relate. I too grew up playing pool from a young age, around 7-8 years old. My best friend/neighbor had a 7ft Sears table, crammed into a room with barely 3 feet on any side -- we used shorty cues a lot. /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif Man we played a LOT of pool on that table. As I grew older and ventured out in the "real" world and began playing on real tables, I did pretty well. I have always been an obsessive type when it comes to hobbies, and pool is no exception -- I became a real student of the game and read every book I could find, played every better player I could, just to study the game. I became a pretty strong player through high-school, college, and the military. I bought my first and second custom Meucci in the 80's (that last one I still have and play with) while stationed at Ft. Bliss, TX and played nearly every hour that I wasn't on duty. I competed in post tournaments and did well. Shipped out to Germany, and did the same. After leaving the military and returning to civilian life, now with a wife and family, I just didn't have time for pool anymore. My cue sat on the top shelf of the closet for around 10 years, with me playing maybe 10 racks total during that time off.

About 6 months ago I was bitten by the bug again, thanks to a friend who had joined APA and played in a Chattanooga league. I dived in head-first again, driving 30 miles every weekend to the nearest upscale poolhall (all we have are dives where I live). I was so hooked I went out and bought an 8' Brunswick (couldn't fit a 9' in my bonus room) and have really been trying to start playing again.

Two profound things I've noticed:
Pool is more physically demanding than I ever remember! Since I'm older and, ahem, "softer", than I was in the heydey of my game, and due to a minor but recurring back injury suffered many years ago, my back and sometimes left hamstring absolutely SCREAMS after I've played for too long at a stretch. It's finally gotten better, but it has taken months.
More importantly, and kind of along the lines you mentioned, is that my game has tanked and is very slow to recover. My consistency stinks. I still remember and understand techniques such as aiming, english, throw, deflection, squirt, etc., but I can't seem to apply that knowledge with any consistency anymore. One day I'll run amok and clean house, the next day I can't string 2 balls together to save my life. That's the frustrating part -- knowing that you KNOW how to play the shot, can visualize it in your mind, but can't put tip to cueball to object ball and make it work.
I think a lot of it, at least for myself, is due to slipping on the all-important fundamentals. I need to flush my mind of advanced techniques and get back to smooth, clean stroking and aiming. I regularly find myself making a beautiful position play, putting the CB within a nickel of where I wanted it to go -- but missing potting the object ball I was aiming at. I'm too caught up in analyzing the science and trying to play like I used to, instead of just relaxing and letting it come back to me on its own.

I can only hope it will come with patience, for you and me...


01-14-2003, 06:18 PM
I noticed a big decline in my shotmaking abilities just after learning good positional play. Just a matter of lack of practice since most shots are now relatively easy, and you don't find yourself taking 5 tough shots in a row anymore because you can now spot the short stopshot lockout safety.

Still wish I could pot like I used to though, might have to get back to the snooker table for some practice.

01-15-2003, 01:53 AM
It seems a few of us share the memory of a brash and more carefree game during our youth followed by a more mellow game in decline. But what struck me was how much more deliberate the years have made us.
In our youth we feel immortal. No shot is impossible. No danger matters. Shape is secondary. All our confidence rests on one rock ... I can shoot from anywhere.
With age and experience we feel our mortality. Reality exists ... many things are impossible. Shape is essential. That's the rock of our expectations. I can plan for every difficulty.
Maybe this is what got my attention. In my youth I only needed half a shot; who cares about perfect shape? My shotmaking was so good it didn't matter if I missed my shape. My game and my confidence rode on the sound of balls rolling through the table innurds.
An older me has raised the bar. The shot is a two part affair now. Without shape it's just half a shot. This tougher expectation means that many of the shots of my youth would seem to fall far short of my demands today. What pleased me and stoked my youthful confidence then would not encourage me today.
It seems these two ages are separated less by time and more by expectation. My mental game suffers. But my more mature conscience keeps holding me to a higher standard. Shape matters.

01-15-2003, 10:05 PM
Depressing..........I'm still pre-stage one: complete novice and at 30 wonder if I'll ever feel like an immortal...


01-15-2003, 10:13 PM
Sounds like you are a great player to me.In all your phases /ccboard/images/graemlins/smirk.gif