How do you teach a kid to shoot pool? -
06-08-2009, 10:07 PM
I've started with my nephews recently. They're in third and fourth grade, and already heavily into electronic crap.
So I've introduced them to my game room, where they can't bring cell phones, computers or any other of that e-paraphernalia. The TV is for sports only, and the pool table is the focus of the whole deal.
So far so good. We started with some simple instruction -- shoot straight through the middle of the ball. So I spread the balls on the table and let them take turns trying to shoot balls directly into the pockets. Of course this took some time but they soon got the hang of it.
Then I introduced them to the cue ball, and set up a series of wired shots -- combos that were dead in the hole. This got their juices going again, because the thrill of hearing the balls go into the pocket is, really, what pool is all about.
That's where our most recent lesson ended, with both enthused about coming back for more. But I'm a little conflicted on where to take it from here, and looking for suggestions.
If these kids become players, both will be sidearmers. Should I ignore this or leave it be? Thanks for all suggestions.
If they like it, continue. I don't see there being any harm. I work with computers and networks all day at work, that's the last thing I want to touch when I am on my free time. I look forward to spending time away from electronics.
sidearming can't be avoided when you start young. Some keep the sidearm (like keith) and others lose it as they grow.
I like your style, the idea of wired combos to keep them excited is a good one.
When I teach people draw, I set them up with a short, easy shot into the side pocket, pretty much right in the middle of the table. I figure the side is larger, so it's a little more forgiving to shoot into it, and since you're not stretching across the corner, there's never a reach issue. I think if you want to get them to pocket a few non-wired balls that aren't literally hanging... this would be a nice start.
Not sure what else you can do other than what you are already. Maybe set up some kind of reward for made shots.. a snack or a quarter or something.
You teach them the same way you would teach anyone. Start with the fundamentals (grip, bridge, stance, and stroke) then move on from there. Teach them proper alignment, center ball, speed control, and anything else you would teach a new player.
Just remember their attention span is probably not as long as yours. When you notice them drifting, it's time to stop. Don't force them, don't overload them, and give them little teasers so they know they have something to look forward to during the next lesson.
Wasn't it Loree Jon Jones whose father built a ramp around the table? Something like that would probably be more work than you'd like, but perhaps if you could find something for them to stand on (move it each shot) you could avoid the sidearm issue. Good luck!
One thing that I would not discourage is when they start to use their hands to throw and push balls around the table, slamming and a bamming. This seems like irrelevant or wasteful behavior, but I learned a lot about how the balls and rails react by doing this.
Glad you and the kids are at the table! You might empahsize the social aspects of pool vs. the apparent loneliness of electronic games. Also, empahsize the respect for the game, the table, balls, cues, etc....that'll be something different from the usual, I bet.
Don't pay kids for made shots. The shot made needs to be the reward.
The whole deal is to keep it fun. The kids will naturally learn from watching you. Get some other players there and let the kids see pool played well by people having fun. Kids are wired to mimic adults.
I think this is very good advice. You can't force kids to do something, even if you consider it fun and good for them. You have to LET them do it. As DoubleD said, teach by example, while giving pointers on the four things that are truly fundamental to good pool: STRAIGHT through the ball, LEVEL cue, STAY DOWN, FOLLOW THROUGH. Try not to be dogmatic about the mechanics (stance, bridge, grip, etc.) because those things will change as they grow. Besides, those things are boring. Keep it fun!
I used teach kids martial arts. Every child is different and learns at a different pace. Kids also have an advantage over the instructor, in that they have not learned any "rules". You'd be surprised how each child adapts to each situation. The trick is to keep it fun, but challenging. The reward is look on the child's face when he/she looks at you when they do something they thought they could never do.
Patience is key, the child will come around in their own time. Too much pushing and the child will simply quit.
I have a 2 yr old, he likes to stand on my weight bench and "shoot"
He either shoots the balls in by hand, but that got old for him so now he uses an old, warped, viking shaft. I just let him do whatever he feels like for now. Obviously, as soon as he starts misbehaving, the shaft goes bye-bye.
When he gets older I definitely plan on having him stand on some sort of step. There will be no McCready/Hoppe side-winder reincarnated in my house
There is some primal joy associated with seeing the balls drop into pockets, don't know why, but kids love it naturally!!!
well i was taught by my dad at a younger age he taught me the fundamentals he never told me how to shoot a shot..never told me which english kicked my ass everygame..but i tell you hanging out with a dad on a pool table is good for family and when you actually beat em its probably the best feeling after i beat my dad the first time pools been my life and now i can teach him some stuff i would say..teach a kid how to shoot pool by letting them enjoy it....i know my mom forced me into taekwondo being korean an all...same concept i guess but i hated it..it wasnt fun for me..and i never excelled keep it fun..and they will learn by watching and when they get old enough go to bars with em and play