View Full Version : Books or guides for better stroke
03-03-2003, 02:49 PM
I just bought a used pro8 brunswick anniversary table for my basement. I'm 51 now and haven't played much in years. When I was ateenager, I played around a little, but I think my high run in straight pool was somewhere in the low 20s.
i'd like to improve my game and I was wondering if anyone can point me to books or videos or something so that I could start practicing the right way. I figure since I haven't played that much in years, my old bad habits might not be deeply ingrained and maybe I could learn the right way this tie. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks
03-03-2003, 08:22 PM
When I started playing again in 1990 I was fortunte that Mark Wilson, a very knowledgeable instructor, had opened a room and teaching facility five minutes from my office. During the three years the Matchroom was open I took lessons continuosly from Mark. I have since went on and continued to take lessons from several other instructors all of whom have helped me continue to improve.
My first point is that IMO there is no substitute for lessons from the right individual for you. IMO there are two important things they can bring to the table. The first is they should be able to understand, communicate and teach fundamentals and proper stroke mechanics. The second area comes in the form of knowledge transfer. The best instructors can do both.
If available I would encourage you to seek out a knowledgeable instructor.
In the meantime a couple of books that you might find helpful to get started are:
A Smarter Way to Learn Pool - George Fels
Mastering Pool - George Fels
Idots guide to Pool - Ewa Lawrence
Play Your Best Pool - Phil Capelle
Dear Dmg walsh, dear sir, you cant learn to play any sport via books or tapes, you must spend your money on a professional instructor, then have him tell you what books & tapes compliment his line of teaching. This is a feel game, that is largely learned by imulation, which cannot be achieved through any book. Your book is only a reference guide for the technical things. Dont waste your money & time wading through some 400 pages of Bull dung that will bore you into tomorrow. Get hands on help, human to human. If you are down under in the outback 900 miles from people, then definetely buy books & tapes. If there are teachers close to you, find one.
Dear Socrates, if Mark was doing such a fine job, why did you go to other teachers. The biggest mistake you guys make, is running from flower to flower, thinking each one is going to give you the divine key, and none of them have that key. All you end up with is a disease I call paralysis by analysis. You said Mark was an effective teacher, well simply go back to him, what you have found out is that the others are no better than him, so end your shopping around. Shopping around is OK, but it's goal is to find the man, they stay with him. You go to 25 teachers & hear 25 different methods you wont be able to hit your butt with a broom. It only leads to confusion sir. All I have tried to do is level with people & tell them the truth these other guys dont have the courage to do.
The problem pool has is not bad teachers, but bad students.
It's your fault, not their fault, so stop blaiming them. Now I will let you off the hook, you are bad students because the BCA runs a bad teaching organization, they dont really run it, they turn it over to a collection of rag tag people who all run in 95 different directions. The BCA does not run the world trick shot event, again they just farm it out to players who will work free for recognition. Now I hope you can understand why these two organizations have done nothing but stagnate & fail. They failed to teach you, the student, what to expect from a lesson, and how to take one. You dont have a clue if you get a good one or a bad one. I mean not you sir, please I am not dressing you down, but speaking to the general population of players through your post to the general board, so this is not directed at you personally sir. Players
want to spend $30 & in one hr &
come out playing like Nick Varner, it cant be done, nobody can do that for you. The student has un realistic expectations from his teacher. Go up to a piano teacher, tell them you only have $30 & one hr & ask them top teach you how to play the piano, they will laugh in your face, the same thing will happen if you walk in a do jo & ask a karate teacher the same thing, these people dont do single lessons, because they understand they cant possibly deliver in that time frame. Pool is more complicated than either of these, so how does it make sense you can get anything from taking lessons now & then, one or two, hit & miss?
only take in a new guy for a video check up so he can see his basics on film & have me clean up his game a little, that is all I promise. If he wants to go beyond that, he must buy & prepay 6 lessons in advance, he must make a commitment to me, and I make one back to him, I will deliver what he seeks. If he is out of town, then he must come see me for the entire day, or bring me in to him. I am
not a bandaid teacher, I dont let people come to me that just dropped in from the next flower, because all they do is bitch about you later. I send them to some of the bandaid teachers that like to try & patch a guy up. I dont patch up anyone, I cure them, heal them, but this takes time. I dont apologize for this, and most wont understand this method, I am not for everyone. You have to be a serious student, ready to listen & learn, or you dont gain admission. How about when you went to high school or college, did you go through any courses in a hour?
I have seen on the board, well I went to this guy & he taught me some stuff, but when he began to get into that funky stuff, I was smart enough to not listen to it. That guy would get thrown out of my school & his money refunded. He is the problem, not the teacher. He does not seek a lesson or a teacher, he is paying for an expert to agree with him & what he thinks he knows, if he does, then the teacher is great, if the teacher does not, the teacher stinks, he does not come back, & he ignores the lesson he paid for. For me to get along with this guy, I would have to begin to lie to him, which I refuse to do. I rest my case, see I told you the problem is the student, not the teacher. These bandaid teachers are killing me, they make my job 3 times harder trying to clean up the mess they make. Let's now take a lesson from Golf, which is a real sport, with real pro's, you come in #30 at the end of the year in golf, you make over a million. They have real teachers, real methods that work. Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Ben Crenshaw, I can go on & on, but most of the greats had one teacher their entire life time, until the teacher died. They did not learn how to play reading books, or tapes, they learned hands on, on the range with the teacher. Knowing only one method, and if that method worked & made them a champion, why in the world would they read Golf Digest, or read books, or tapes, or run to another teacher. The really smart ones, stayed with the man who brung him to the dance. My teacher in Golf was Jimmy Ballard, he also taught Curtis Strange, who won a US OPEN, which in golf means you just arrived big time, and are now worth millions a year. Ballard helps Curtis to win 2 US Opens back to back, the only other player to have ever done that was the legendary Ben Hogan almost 40 years ago from Curtis's wins. Ballards teacher was Sam Parks, who taught Hogan, and Ballard taught Curtis the same lesson Hogan got. Curtis is in a position to win 3 opens in a row, as is Tiger Woods now at the Masters. He is on the threshold of super stardoom, so what does he do, change teachers & runs over to the newest & hottest guru, David Ledbetter, and yes Curtis did not even make the cut during that 3rd open, then falls apart the rest of that season & the next going winless. He was in total paralysis by analysis. He crawled back to Ballard, but he could never put him back to where he was, he went on to win a couple, but soon ended up in the booth with a mic in his hand. So don't be stupid like Curtis & run from guru to guru looking for the magic pill, because there is not a magic pill, if there was one, I would sell it to you. Best Wishes, Fast Larry Guninger www.fastlarrypool.com (http://www.fastlarrypool.com) Shoot straight, innovate, and never give up, VINI, VIDI, VICI.....
I think Byrne's new book of pool and billiards is a good one for all the basics. Fels' How would you play this is good too, for pattern play that is. This amazon.com list has most of the books worth reading: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/listmania/list-browse/-/19JMVRSYMFZIH/ref=cm_lm_dp_l_2/104-4582662-0453508
But for motivation etc, I'd suggest picking up some excellent accu-stats.com match tapes (the ones they note as good ones, and the ones player review and good commentators like Grady Mathews). Rempe's or Sigel's instructional tapes are good too, I hear.
03-04-2003, 05:01 AM
Thanks for the list of books. That is a fine list. /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif
03-04-2003, 05:09 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Fast Larry:</font><hr> Dear Socrates, if Mark was doing such a fine job, why did you go to other teachers. The biggest mistake you guys make, is running from flower to flower, thinking each one is going to give you the divine key, and none of them have that key. All you end up with is a disease I call paralysis by analysis. <hr /></blockquote>
Instructor hopping? I have been accused of that, although I have just had scott one on one and randy g for pool school.
I do feel though that the instructor student relationship is that, a relationship. And just as with any other relationship, sometimes things arent working any more, or sometimes a person's needs change or the availability of the instructor changes, all kinds of things can happen to affect that relationship. And poop happens and sometimes it is simply time for either the instructor or the student to move on. JMHO
03-04-2003, 08:29 AM
Laura...Larry is SO far off the mark here, as to be completely unbelievable! LOL I guess in his estimation, he is the ONLY instructor on the planet worth beans, and if you were to seek out instruction from anyone else (particularly ANY BCA instructor)...let alone a compilation of knowledge and technique from several different "qualified" instructors...that you are an IDIOT for doing so (so, BW...what does that make YOU in Larry's eyes?)! You already KNOW my stance on this issue. Take lessons from any and all qualified people that you can get to. You will learn SOMETHING from each person, every book, every video...perhaps not lots, but something! Like I told you, sometimes it is just the reinforcement of hearing some of the same things said a little bit different way, that makes it click for the individual! Larry, on the other hand, sees fit to stand on his soapbox, denouncing the world, like the doomsday forseer, and imploring those who will listen, to repent and follow his teachings! HA! What a bunch of...ummmm...well, you already said it best!
03-04-2003, 09:54 AM
You hit the nail on the head. If you're a good student, you can even learn from someone who is not trying to teach. We watch the pros for reasons other than to see who wins.
03-04-2003, 10:02 AM
Nice speech, but as usual many contradictions. You assume that all students expect to play like Nick Varner after a one hour lesson? Is that what you base your argument on? LOL Earth to Larry! Your answer of course is to have them prepay 6 lessons. I suppose THEN they're playing like Nick Varner eh? Ya right. Who's the scam artist now.
You point out that piano lessons, and Karate cannot be learned in one lesson, well duh! And neither can pool, so what's your point? But if a vertuoso, or an 8th degree black belt was in town and i had the opportunity to take a lesson since i was already into it, would that be ok? Of course it would. Your wacked! St
03-04-2003, 10:09 AM
Interesting that we have never met, spoken or corresponded yet you are able to form an opinion of me.
Are you like using the force or something?
You obviously have strong beliefs on this topic and were willing to express them in this forum for the benefit of all.
It appears we do not share the same point of view on this topic.
I have learned something from every instructor I have spent time with and have also gained the pleasure of their friendship.
It appears to me that when our beliefs become so strong we are no longer open to the possibility of the merits of other points of view then the learning process stops.
And yes I even learned from you in that immediately after reading your post I re-read my highlighted copies of Dale Carnegies books on effective human relations. Thank you for reminding me of how important human relations skills and manners are in our daily lives.
03-04-2003, 10:15 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote socrates:</font><hr> And yes I even learned from you in that immediately after reading your post I re-read my highlighted copies of Dale Carnegies books on effective human relations. Thank you for reminding me of how important human relations skills and manners are in our daily lives. <hr /></blockquote>
Face it Steve. You're just a bad student. No sense in denying it.
There are no dumb questions. Just dumb people asking them.
Fred <~~~ (or is it "answering them"?)
03-04-2003, 11:13 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Fred Agnir:</font><hr>
Face it Steve. You're just a bad student. No sense in denying it.
There are no dumb questions. Just dumb people asking them.
Fred <~~~ (or is it "answering them"?)
Fred...ROFL! You MUST quit your job and come on the road with me, as my comic sidekick! We'll SLAY them all! LOL
03-04-2003, 11:16 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Scott Lee:</font><hr> Fred...ROFL! You MUST quit your job and come on the road with me, as my comic sidekick! We'll SLAY them all! LOL<hr /></blockquote>I don't mind, Scott. But, someone's going to figure it that we're stealing his wonder dog act.
Fred <~~~ ba dum dumb
Jon from MN
03-04-2003, 11:28 AM
Scott you are 100% right. I talk to players all the time [and I dont mean joe blow players] who have taken lessons from several instructors and they say exactly what you said. You get a little from each. I was taught not by 1 of the top players in our area but many. I teach to as you know and most of my students have taken lessons from others. And I encourage them to seek any and all they can handle. Jon from mn
Larry does have a point though, albeit overstated. If you have multiple instructors and they don't agree on something, it can be harder to make that complete commitment to a particular approach.
For example, Jerry Brieseth taught me that the perfect stroke is a gentle throwing motion, while Randy G and Scott taught me a more defined set-pause-finish-freeze approach. Allison is such a great example of the set-pause-finish approach, but damn Efren and Busta can do magic with a more free flowing stroke. And most of the other top men have very little pause at the back. What's a bloke to do? Which stroke should I commit to completely?
The usual answer is "Do what works for you." Well, I can get either approach to work to a degree. I just need to pick one and stick with it. But which one? If I only had one instructor that I went to for the "truth" I wouldn't be faced with this indecision. And in pool, indecision is death.
I still agree with the idea that you can learn something from every teacher you have. And I learned a lot from Jerry, Randy, and Scott, and am sure I could learn quite a bit more if I had a chance to work with Fran, Larry, and others. It just has this downside of sometimes planting doubts when different instructors teach different things. Still worth it overall, though!
03-04-2003, 03:12 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Ross:</font><hr> Larry does have a point though, albeit overstated. If you have multiple instructors and they don't agree on something, it can be harder to make that complete commitment to a particular approach.
I still agree with the idea that you can learn something from every teacher you have. And I learned a lot from Jerry, Randy, and Scott, and am sure I could learn quite a bit more if I had a chance to work with Fran, Larry, and others. It just has this downside of sometimes planting doubts when different instructors teach different things. Still worth it overall, though! <hr /></blockquote>
I think that initially it is confusing especially if the person is a beginner. Luckily, scott and randy g teachings complimented so i did not have that confusion in going from Scott's lesson to Randy Gs pool school.
Over time I was able to sort differences out that came up in discussions with pool players and this was much easier having ccb to help with this.
I do think though that some people cannot deal with these differences of opinions and are better sticking with one instructor (and not talking to many other people with different opinions also) so that they do not become frustrated. I also think that until a person gets to a certain skill level, it is better for them to have one MAIN instructor. I mean one that they work with on a regular basis, even though that might be supplemented by pool schools and a session every now and then with someone else.
This is just my opinion because for example-I could work with Scott this week, Larry the next week and person X the next. So scott could teach me certain things and then Larry does not know where scott left off and I end up being taught some things over and over and some things not at all, creating gaps in knowlege. If I have a main instructor, even if supplemented by others, at least the main instructor is on top of my general pool progress and what we need to work on next. Just the way it seems to me.
Socrates, you're too modest. I notice you didn't clue Larry in to the fact that you're actually a BCA instructor. I guess it wouldn't matter to him anyway considering how he views the BCA Instructor program.
03-04-2003, 09:10 PM
Like alot of the others have suggested try getting lessons, you might learn a thing or two from a book or video but that will only take you so far. I think a more hands on approach would benefit your game alot more than books or guides can.
dmgwalsh,reading and watching are important to learning.The ability of a teacher will always be subject to how comfortable you feel under their tutoring.Perhaps,the next time you are in a local Billiard Room,ask if there is a house professional available.If so,it is worth at least an hours cost to analyze your fundamentals.Grip,stance,and stroke.
No need for use of english,cuts,banks,etc.This,you may do later.
Afterwards,purchase books,magazines,and videos for entertainment pleasure while relaxing.I am certain you will digest something beneficial which can be converted to the table.
You are within my age group,and I understand what it means to come back to play after a layoff.Patience.Have Fun.You will improve quickly.
03-05-2003, 05:45 PM
Dear Fast Larry: Please don't call me a rag-tag instructor. Thank you....randyg
03-05-2003, 05:49 PM
Ross, great post. All players have to "Pause", some of us just learn how to control it......randyg
03-06-2003, 09:55 AM
Thanks everybody for the input. My table gets installed Saturday, and it's the first thing I think about when i wake up in the morning. Pretty goofy.
Anyway, I have ordered some of the books on the list. I think I'll follow the consensus and call a pool hall near me and see about lessons. I am in the southwest suburbs of Chicago, if you know of anyone. Thanks again
To: Scott Lee, go take a pill dude, a couple of blue ones, chill out, you do your thing, I do mine. You produce results, so do I. You trash me, I don't you, that is the difference between us. Damn son, you are about to blow a friggin head gasket thinking you may lose a lesson, if you are as good as you say you are, then you have nothing to worry about don't you???????
Dear Mr Stretch, you did not read a damn word, is english your primary language? If an 8th degree black belt would come into your town, he would not waste his time on you and on a single lesson that would accomplish little. He would come in a teach a entire filled do jo, for a agreed to time, so they could learn all of the concepts he wished to pass on to them. If he did give you such a lesson, then I have serious questions about where he is coming from.
To Randga newbie, did I ever use your name ever, did in any post did I ever call you by name a rag tag, I think your problem is you ran into the old saying, if the shoe fits, wear it, does the shoe fit here, is that what caused the reaction. Wake up, look around, you must might figure out what is going on around you, or do you want others to do the thinking for you, is that more simple for you? So old Fast shines a light in you'alls closet, and if there is some dirty laundry in there that stinks, maybe you all ought to recognize that & clean it up, or is it easier for you to get each other on the horn so a group of you can take turns trying to dis credit me so no body will take me serious, then you don't have to fix or change a damn thing.
I hope you guys dont fix or change a damn thing, the more you keep doing what you are doing, the better it makes me look...I was just trying to help you out. You'all hang on to your flawed system, that does nothing but make my day.
Dear Mr Socrates, I do not care if you are a BCA instructor, your worthless piece of paper means nothing to me, nor does it impress me, I had one of those once. The only thing that impresses me is what you have in your head, your views, your ideas, and may I say, I am very impressed by you. You sir, are obviously a very intelligent man, and may I say your posts are outstanding, keep up the good work. Do you share my views with Aristotle, that we both know nothing, or do you just use the name because you like it? your Fan, Fast Larry
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