View Full Version : how to become a pro
hey, am new here, and i've been shooting for a long time, and now i've decided that i would like to become a pro, and play with the best. any advice on how to accomplish this.
04-22-2003, 06:11 AM
Practice a lot! Not just hitting balls, practice the drills! Play in as many tournaments as you can. It's kinda like the minor leagues. Go to School! The BCA has a list of schools and instructors that can get you moving in the right direction.
Quit your job, sell your house, get a divorce, and start drinking a lot..(LOL)... I don't think there is enough money in pool to justify a life change....IMMHO
1. Give up 14.1 as your game of choice and take up 9-ball. They are two different animals.
2. Get a relationship going with a local pool hall that will allow for free table time.
3. Play in every tournament you possibly can. If you have to choose between different tournaments happening on the same day, make your decisions based on which tourney has strongest competition and NOT on which is the most convenient.
4. Befriend a few current, future, or former pro's. No one will know better about how to achieve your goal than people who've achieved that goal themselves.
5. Most importantly - BE A REALIST. Keep in mind a few facts. Like the fact that the top male professional pool player last year made less than 150,000 in tournament earnings. (The top pro bowler made 3 times that). Think of the sacrifices you will make. Are you willing to spend a year sleeping in your car so that hotel bills don't eat up your entry fee cash? Don't get me wrong, if I had enough raw talent to think I could make it, I'd try in a heartbeat. Just don't fool yourself into thinking its an easy road. A good friend of mine took a run at it a few years back. He gave it up for driving a truck because he makes more money.
04-22-2003, 06:53 AM
Pool doesn't really have what you would call a pro tour. You can, I believe just pay your entry fee and play in tournaments like the US Open. Even many of the small local tours, you will be playing with some of the top players in the world. Pool is not really a profession, even though some do make some money, a majority of the players have other jobs. Pool for the most is more an amateur sport, there is nothing to keep you from competing if that is what you would like to do.
04-22-2003, 06:53 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote shoop:</font><hr> Don't get me wrong, if I had enough raw talent to think I could make it, I'd try in a heartbeat. <hr /></blockquote>
Me too, if I had the talent AND the determination required. But I have a husband who can support me so money is not an issue. He is the one who should be going pro but cannot for financial reasons.
Do you have someone who can support you? Sponsers are fine but dont forget to factor in the cost of airplane tickets, hotel expenses, food, entrance fees and the fact that you will have to pay for your own medical and there are no retirement benefits.
Is it worth it to you? If it is and you can swing, best of luck to you.
well, i defitinely dont want to make a living out of shooting pool, i dont think they have a pention, but i really want to beat the best, i want to take my game to another level and what better way to do it then to go after the best.
04-22-2003, 07:58 AM
Well, you're certainly in the right place. You've got the likes of Jim & Pete Fusco, Peter Rabbit, Karen Corr and any number of other local shortstops (yes, I know that was redundant). You have enough action right here in the Philly area to find out if you have what it takes. You are also close enough to NYC that you have a whole other world of competitive pool there - Mika, Ginky, our own Steve Lipsky and Fran, Danny Barouty, Jack Colavita - Sr. & Jr. and a host of others. Have at it and good luck.
04-22-2003, 08:10 AM
Popcorn gave you some good advice. Enter some of the tournaments run by regional tours.
I see you are in Philadelphia. Go to AZbilliards and check out the schedules for the Joss Tour and the Falcon Cue Tour. They run tournaments from Virginia on up into New England. Philadelphia is close to the center of this area, so you are in a good position to travel to tournaments in either direction.
Both of these tours draw many Pro and Semi-pro players and they will test your skills.
04-22-2003, 12:05 PM
Yeah you can definitely play/beat the pros by playing in several high stakes tourneys that most pros will go to. My personal belief is, go to your day job, practice, play in local/regional events. Maybe qualify for a "pro" tour if it ever gets back. Personally I make more money in local bar/hall tourneys than I could on the pro tour. Of course the pots are smaller so I have to play a few more, but still larger tourneys are 4-5 days long anyway.
04-22-2003, 01:24 PM
I know you didn't mean it this way, but it reminded me something. I was running around with three guys for a short time. They would drive around and around, this bar that place, complaining how there was no action anywhere, nobody wants to play. The truth was, they just didn't want to go where those players were. Myself, I never had any trouble finding somebody I couldn't beat if I tried hard enough.
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote shoop:</font><hr> 2. Get a relationship going with a local pool hall that will allow for free table time.
How do you get free table time?
04-22-2003, 02:02 PM
A friend of mine got to playing at a local pool hall in Eugene, OR. Made a deal with the owner that he could play as much pool as he wanted for $50/mo. I would use that up in one day. What a sucker.
04-22-2003, 02:27 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote 9 ball junior:</font><hr>How do you get free table time? <hr /></blockquote>
For a week when my girlfriend was out of town, I went to my local pool hall every night for several hours. The owner caught on and started giving me free time. A lot of places will give you free time if they see that it keeps you coming back -- your continued business is more important to them than a single night's table fees.
04-22-2003, 02:49 PM
A great way for you to get free time (and I'm assuming you're a kid) is to present your case to the owner. Tell him that you really want to get better, and that you'll do some sweeping/table cleaning/etc for free time.
Also tell him that you will take every opportunity to promote his place when you go to tournaments (a good way for him to pay your entry fees as well). And then do it.
If he's a good guy, and he really spots talent in you, all sorts of good things are going to happen. He'll hook you up with the top locals, encouraging them to practice with you and take you under their wing. And as I mentioned, you may get the free time and paid entry fees. Just be sure to treat him and his place with as much respect as he is giving you.
04-22-2003, 03:22 PM
Join a league. Around here, all leagues generally come with that sort of sponsorship perk. For $10 a week in league dues, I get to play free every day. Plus, there's a cash payback at the end of the league.
If you don't already have a cue, consider the Click's in-house "get-a-cue" leagues. You pay $10 a week for 20 weeks. Near the end of the season, you order your cue from their selection (usually McDermotts, Vikings, and Meuccis). Plus, you shoot free pool every day during the 20 weeks.
Most room owners want the real players in their place. ACTION is the name of the game. The more action in your place, the more customers you attract, and vice versa. Also think of ways to barter. For instance in the last pool hall I frequented before moving to the St. Louis area I gave free instruction to beginner and intermediate players in exchange for free table time.....kind of a "jr. house pro" so to speak.
I took several of the teen "bangers" who came in now and then under my wing. Soon they were good pool players with a solid understanding of the game on which to build their skills. Not only was this good for the room owner, but it was good for the game of pool as a whole.
well, i never thought of getting free table time, but i will try. and as far as teaching the locals, am only 23 so when i walk into a poolhall, people look at me like sweet money, untill i start winning the money, i mostly shoot with the older guys, the ones that run out if you miss one ball, and everyone knows my face now, so i could'nt get a bet if i begged for one. lol, any how as far as the free table time, am really gonna try and since i have my own business, a part time job at the poolhall would be great.
I'm a little confused. You say "everyone looks at me like I'm sweetmoney" and "everyone knows my face, I can't get a bet if I begged" in the same breath. Which is it?
As far as age goes, it means absolutely nothing. I live in the St. Louis area and the top money player in town is a guy about 25 named Andy Quinn. And as far as not getting a money game because of your speed, that's totally inaccurate. "Weight" is the great equalizer in our sport. I would play any of the top players in this town, or any other with the last three and the breaks.
when i say everyone knows my face, i mean that when i do get the chance to play for money, someone's always watching, and they seem to remember when at times they've seen me that i've forgotten about, that's all the i ment by it. /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif
04-22-2003, 09:31 PM
I waited a while before responding to this, mainly because I wanted to see if anything had changed since I wrote the text below. The below text was written along time ago and was in my first book, Stroke of Genius. I believe that this still applies.
WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BE A PROFESSIONAL POOL PLAYER?
It's not only talent that is required, or dedication, or commitment to practice. It's not the quantity of practice, it's the quality. It's not the quantity of knowledge or ability, it's whether or not you can effectively perform your knowledge and abilities to attain the desired result: WINNING. Being "better than average" won't cut it in the pros. I've been in several matches where I've missed one shot and sat in the electric chair and watched my opponent run six racks and out. I've also been in the position to return the favor. At the pro level, it doesn't come down to who shoots the best, because everybody shoots well. It comes down to who makes the least amount of mistakes. The guy who makes the least number of mistakes usually wins. What's the formula for success on the Men's pro tour?
(1) Break and make a ball.
(2) After that, don't miss.
(3) Repeat the process until you have the required number of games to claim the match and your opponent has less than that.
(4) Don't sweat the little stuff.
Furthermore, YOU HAVE TO BELIEVE IN YOUR ABILITY!!!!!!! If you don't believe in yourself, nobody else is going to either.
PRACTICE how to win LEARN how not to lose
OVERCOME obstacles and setbacks
SUCCEED no matter what it takes
Concentrate on developing yourself into the player that you know you can become. Every player on the pro tour has sat and contemplated your question more than once. Several of us jumped to piss with the big boys too soon. We went back to the chalkboard and gained more EXPERIENCE and then gave it a second, third, or seventeenth try. It takes more than just good shot making. There's pressure, financially and personally. That's the main reason players are unsuccessful on the tour. It costs money to be out there. My advice is to concentrate on the level you are at right now. Obtain as much knowledge as you can about the game, and develop your weaknesses into strengths. In long run, it will pay off.
04-23-2003, 04:50 AM
Glad you posted. As much as I enjoy reading and learning from what others have to say.. I take into consideration what you and Scott Lee, Fast Larry, Fran and the other teachers/pros have to say much more (no offense to those that have posted that aren't at the level).
Great advice as usual.
04-23-2003, 10:02 AM
Quote 9 ball Junior:
How do you get free table time?
Though free table time is a great benefit afforded by room owners to professionals, it should not be given just because of your status as a professional. Usually it is a give and take situation, as was said in a previous thread. The deals I made with room owners was usually in exchange for services such as instruction, givng trick shot exhibitions, etc. Though it is a great perk, I am of the belief that if you are a successful professional, you don't need free time. As a struggling pro, you do. I've been in both situations. The best way to obtain this "honor" (and I have yet to hear it described as an honor) is to educate yourself in just about every aspect of room management, table repair, cue repair, etc. As a professional, you have to be willing to give back to your pool playing community. An excellent example of this is what players such as Charlie Williams and Allison Fisher are doing. Talk to other professionals that have walked this path. They are your best resource. Players such as Keith McCready, Charlie Williams, Johnny Archer, Ralf Souquet, Jeanette Lee, Fran Crimi, Jeremy Jones, Earl Strickland, myself, and Steve Lipsky are not hard to find on line. Other players that are extremely helpful and willing to share their experience are Vivian Villareal, Gerda Hofstater, Mike Sigel, and Buddy Hall. Take a trip out to Vegas next month and when you're there, you can talk to these people n person. Also, if you're in Las Vegas, look up Mary Kenniston-Guarino. Awesome player, awesome attitude, and awesome teacher. She's tough as nails and knows what it takes to be a player that is struggling, as well as being a player that is successful. Talk to pros such as Vivian Villareal and Maureen Seto, players that have had personal and physical difficulties to overcome while on their journey. When you surround yourself with winners, such as the people I have mentioned (not a complete list by any stretch) thier attitude tends to rub off on you. Spend an afternoon with Vivian and you'll know what I mean. Fran Crimi is one of the premier instructors in your area. I'd take advantage of that, as the lessons have a price tag, but the personal experience behind that knowledge is priceless.
In closing, it is belief that you can have all of the "free table time" in the world, but if you do not utilize that time effectively, or do not have the knowledge of "how" to utilize that time effectively, then it's just "free time".
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