Billiard University (BU) - free playing-ability exams and rating system
I am very happy to announce the release of the Billiard University (BU) website: BilliardUniversity.org
I've been working on this project for about two years, and my efforts have been supported by a "dream team" of top instructors (the "founding professors" of the BU): Jerry Briesath, Mark Finkelstein, Randy Goettlicher, Bob Jewett, Mike Page, Tom Simpson, Mark Wilson, David Alciatore, and Randy Russell.
Please check out the website and videos and let us know what you think. Also, please let me know if you have any suggestions or recommendations.
Also, try the free BU playing-ability exams to assess your game and monitor improvement over time. Your BU score gives you a player rating and can qualify you to earn a diploma (Bachelors, Masters, or Doctorate of Pool). All of the exam documents (with well-illustrated shot diagrams) and score sheets needed to take the exams and track your progress are available on the BU Exam Resources Page.
The following videos provide complete demonstrations of all exam drills, along with how to score them:
BU Exam I Overview - demonstrations and scoring of the Fundamentals Exam
BU Exam II Overview - demonstrations and scoring of the Skills Exam
Please post your score after you take the exams so I can add your results to the list below. Also, if you have a video camera, please film and post videos for your exams. Instructions on how to do this can be found in the BU Exam Instructions document, and the following videos demonstrate each step in the process:
Video Recording - recording official exam runs for on-line submittal
Video Submittal - uploading videos and applying for a diploma
List of CCB'ers who have taken the BU playing-ability exams so far (in ranked order):
BU score, Username, BU Rating, Video links (if available):
135, dr_dave, adv-2, Exam I, Exam II
Here are the details and scores for all official BU graduates.
Is it still against the forum rules to sell stuff on this forum?
If not, it should be.
Well, Dave, I will say this... it does look like you've improved a decent amount since a few years ago, when you were touting the Pool instructor/billiards authority role, writing instructional articles and... you couldn't play better than rank novice level.
I'm sorry, but I found it laughable to have you pontificate when you haven't even achieved a modest amateur playing level, yet.
*Edit- I feel that a score of 135 shouldn't equate to an "A" level player. If you scored 135, but were weak in your safety play and you were very weak in banking...that is not an A player. An "A" player can execute fairly well, at all aspects of the game. an A player lacks the level of consistency of better players, though.
Eric >135 is more like a low "B", apparently
Last edited by Eric.; 06-06-2013 at 02:59 PM.
In case you haven't noticed, all of the exam documents and step-by-step online videos are free. Anybody can try the exams and rate themselves without paying a cent. Only if somebody wants an official diploma or instructional DVDs do they need to pay anything.
Originally Posted by Rich R.
Also, in case you haven't noticed, all of the online instructional videos linked above are free too. Nobody has to pay anything to watch and benefit from these.
What am I missing? Have you looked at any of the resources yet? I hope you do.
Originally Posted by Eric.
I don't think I was ever as bad as you and Spidey tried to make me out to be; but you are right ... I have gotten better, and I continue to do so. Isn't interesting how practice and table time actually help with execution.
FYI, my 135 was on an 8' table with fairly generous pockets, so that is a factor. I obviously would not have scored as high on a 9' or 10' table with tight pockets. That's why we list table info on the BU graduates page. Equipment and conditions (e.g., cleanliness and humidity) are definitely factors.
Regardless, I do consider myself a "B+" or "A-" player ... "A" on a good day, so I think my BU rating is accurate for the given equipment (per the BU Rating System Comparison Chart).
Have you tried the exams yet? I hope you do, and I hope you decide to post your scores (and videos if you have a camera).
If anyone looked at your early video instructionals on things like the "set, pause, finish"....umm, yeah, you were THAT bad. And, you were a Pool instructor/guru, to boot!
Hey, just a thought- you should actually enter a real, live tournament, ranked as an "A" player and let us know how you fare....
Eric >good luck
Originally Posted by dr_dave
To give some constructive feedback, i feel that your exams, while good and comprehensive, need one more thing; the "put-it-all-together" test. You should add in the Joe Tucker 10 ball ghost rating test as your "final exam". Why? Well, drills are good for demonstrating ability and building skill thru repetition, BUT... doing the same exact set-up drills over and over only shows that you've mastered that particular set up shot. After shooting that set up shot a few dozen times, you should have it down pretty good. Thing is, how many times will you get that exact shot in a match? More likely, it will be a slight variation of it. That's why the Joe Tucker 10 ball drill adds in some "real life" situations due to the open break and randomness of ball layouts. It forces the student to adjust their play a bit, when they don't get the exact layout of the old, familiar drill shots.
Long story, longer...I like the program that your group put together. I feel that the ratings are a lil high i.e. an "A" should be more like a "B", but i know this is subjective. Again, if you added the Joe Tucker 10 Ball Ghost rating drill as your final exam, i think it would be a more thorough test. Perhaps, you can find a way to incorporate the JT 10 Ball scores into your final tallies.
Originally Posted by Eric.
I agree with you concerning the value of running random layouts, but I still think BU Exam II does a decent job of measuring run-out skills (in a consistent, non-random way, and within a reasonable amount of time).
Of course people can get better with practice, but that's the whole point. However, regardless of how much you practice, you still need excellent run-out skills to be able to score well on the line-of-balls run-out drill (S1), the rail-cut-shot run-out drill (S2), and the 9-ball and 8-ball pattern run-out drills (S3 and S4), especially in the Doctorate version of the Exam II. Even if you know ahead of time what might be a good run-out pattern, you still need the skill to be able to execute the plan and have the ability to change the plan (sometimes multiple times) when things don't work out well (... which is likely if you don't have good run-out skills). Also, a player who has excellent run-out skills would also probably do well on all of the other BU exam drills (in both Exam I and Exam II), because all of the skills tested are important to running out among a wide range of random layouts (e.g., sometimes during run-outs you need to stop the ball nearly perfectly, or draw back a controlled distance, or follow forward a controlled amount to a small target area, know which direction the CB will head fairly accurately with different amounts of top or bottom spin, control speed and ball travel distance well on stun shots, play position off one or more rails to a fairly tight target zone, etc., etc., etc.). The BU exams also assess skills that don't come up often or at all in the "playing the ghost" drills (e.g., safety play, kicks, banks, and jumps).
I suggest that everybody who tries the BU Exams also try the 10-ball "playing the ghost" drill so we can see how well a practiced BU score compares to an average "playing the ghost" score. I recommend doing the ghost drill 3 times (10 racks of 10-ball each) and using the middle value (median) of the three 10-rack scores to help deal with the inherent (and sometimes extreme) variability.
I ran the drill four times last night on my 8' table with generous pockets and got scores of 60, 43, 63, and 54. If I throw out the first, counting it as practice, and take the middle value of the last three, that gives me a 54, which rates me as "B+," which is probably close to accurate. Although, my high score (63), would put me at "A+," which is definitely not accurate, and the "43" would put me at "C+," which is honestly insulting. A better test might be to do the ghost drill 10 or many more times, taking the middle (median) value, but not everybody has that much time or patience.
BTW, with the 43, I got very unlucky a few times where the 2-ball or 3-ball was hidden or didn't have a pocket, with no reasonable break-out, combo, carom, or kiss available on the ball-in-hand 1-ball shot. With the 63, I thought I played at an average level but I was fortunate to have a good layout on every rack (except one where I scratched and made 2 balls o the break, with no easy way to break out the spotted cluster). With the 54, I thought I played much better, but I got unlucky a few times (with clusters or blocked pockets with no easy combo). Anyway, it was good practice and I strongly recommend it to others.
Eric, have you tried the exams yet? If so, please post your scores along with your 10-ball ghost "Final Exam" score. You seem to be a good player. I will be curious to see what you think after going through the process and making the comparison.
Thanks again for your input and suggestions,
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