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View Full Version : Who has taken a few lessons from a top pro and got one level better?


Johnnyt
06-17-2009, 07:56 PM
Has anyone on here taken a few lessons from a top pro and almost instantly went up one rank? Like from "C" to "B"? I'm thinking of taking some lessons now that I can't seem to advance anymore. I don't mind spending the money to find out if I even can advance, but I don;t want to give it away. Thank you. Johnnyt

prewarhero
06-17-2009, 08:18 PM
Just because someone is a top pro might not equate to an ability to teach. I seaked help from the three best players I knew over the years. While all were very willing to teach me anything I wanted to learn or play insultingly cheap sets to help, they couldn't give a lesson. Granted there are some pros who give great lessons (never took one though) and I can think of a to do list a mile long...

learn shot making from Earl
Learn position play from Buddy
and so on....

But an all around lesson to advance... Have you considered a professional instructor (this I did do)? Maybe makes more sense IMVHO.

JoeyA
06-17-2009, 08:20 PM
Has anyone on here taken a few lessons from a top pro and almost instantly went up one rank? Like from "C" to "B"? I'm thinking of taking some lessons now that I can't seem to advance anymore. I don't mind spending the money to find out if I even can advance, but I don;t want to give it away. Thank you. Johnnyt

Johnny, I have taken lessons from top pros but it has been incremental but steady improvement over a period of years unfortunately.

I think you should have your game evaluated by someone whose opinion you will respect. The problem is that some people may be able to evaluate your game but not be able to communicate what you need to do to improve your game.

Two bets that I would make to improve your game would be on Joe Tucker and Stan Shuffett in no particular order. They have proven track records of teaching and both can PLAY.

I find that each year I improve but unfortunately it is not a whole level by any stretch of my imagination. The improvement comes from continuously taking pool lessons from those who play better than I do, READING everthing that relates to teaching pool and practice; lots of practice. Many people don't appreciate the time I put in on the table and think it is a waste of time since I don't make monumental jumps in speed.

When it come to pool, by your own admission, you've always been about the money. Be careful what you wish for.

JoeyA

Pushout
06-17-2009, 08:30 PM
Johnny, I have taken lessons from top pros but it has been incremental but steady improvement over a period of years unfortunately.

I think you should have your game evaluated by someone whose opinion you will respect. The problem is that some people may be able to evaluate your game but not be able to communicate what you need to do to improve your game.

Two bets that I would make to improve your game would be on Joe Tucker and Stan Shuffett in no particular order. They have proven track records of teaching and both can PLAY.

JoeyA

I second that. If I had the money, I would have done it with either one, by now.

maldito
06-17-2009, 08:42 PM
Check out the bca for a list of certified instructors (advanced)- and try one and see how it goes. I'm sure any pro can can show you a few things but if one has the talent an ongoing mentoring process is very good - eg Bobby Hunter with John Schmidt.

Face it Johhny u can't teach an old dog new tricks -- Lol - Good Luck

pooltchr
06-17-2009, 08:54 PM
Has anyone on here taken a few lessons from a top pro and almost instantly went up one rank? Like from "C" to "B"? I'm thinking of taking some lessons now that I can't seem to advance anymore. I don't mind spending the money to find out if I even can advance, but I don;t want to give it away. Thank you. Johnnyt

Improvement will not come "almost instantly: no matter who works with you. You can learn new things quickly, but actually incorporating what you learn into your game consistently takes time and effort on your part. You don't walk out of a lesson a better player. If you want to, you can walk out of a lesson prepared to become a better player.

Steve

Blackjack
06-17-2009, 09:05 PM
When I took lessons, I never questioned my teacher, and he was a pro. I respected his knowledge and experience, and took the cotton out of my ears and put it in my mouth. Best move I ever made.

Johnnyt
06-17-2009, 09:09 PM
Check out the bca for a list of certified instructors (advanced)- and try one and see how it goes. I'm sure any pro can can show you a few things but if one has the talent an ongoing mentoring process is very good - eg Bobby Hunter with John Schmidt.

Face it Johhny u can't teach an old dog new tricks -- Lol - Good Luck

I've come back just about as good as I've ever played and stopped improving now. I believe a good teacher might help me. I'm sure that if I learn or find out one major thing I'm doing wrong that I can get up to "A" on a bar table at least. I want to strart playing in tournaments, like the Tony C's and others around Florida, but those are on big tables and I need to be able to make long shots on them. I don't want to play in them if I'm going to make an ass out of myself. I'm willing to spend a few beans on a teacher to find out if I can go up a little more. Johnnyt

John Biddle
06-17-2009, 09:14 PM
If I'm not mistaken, you posted running 96 about a week ago. To me, you couldn't do that unless your fundamentals were in excellent shape. What that means to me is that for you to improve from here, you'll need to find what your weaknesses are and fix them.

Since these weaknesses may be different depending on the game you're playing, I'd start by picking the game you most want to improve in. Find someone with excellent skills in that game who'll play against you for awhile and analyze your game. Your problem may be taking the wrong route too often (take the route of least snookerdom) or you may be playing inferior patterns, making you job unnecessarily difficult.

Finding someone who is willing to do this and also has the knowledge and experience may not be easy. You need someone who not only knows, but can communicate it to you so that you get it.

One suggestion is to video yourself playing straight pool, or running racks of 9 ball for an hour or two. David "Blackjack" Sapolis offers a service where he'll analyze videos and provide feedback. He charges $35/half hour of video, which seems quite reasonable to me. Here's a link:

Dead Stroke University - Video Evaluation (http://www.deadstrokeuniversity.com/VideoEvaluation.html)

I don't have personal experience with his work, but he has samples on the website, and the risk is quite low. Even if you don't like his work, you'll learn more about what kind of feedback you want.

I just noticed that he posted to your question, post #7.

Scott Lee
06-17-2009, 09:22 PM
Great advice Steve...and the path to becoming a better player, lies in proper training...which most of us (if we even know how to practice correctly), are too lazy to do it, for very long. The Europeans and the Asians have figured out that subsidized (and sustainable) training works. The newest issue of BD has an article about billiards in Qatar (middle east), where they have built special training facilities, for men and women players, and hired a former Japanese pro, as their head coach. Proper training has paid large dividends, quickly, in Taiwan and China. They have developed world class players, at increasingly younger ages, for men and women. Good training will work for anyone, at any age, with any ability. You just have to define how you want to train, and then live up it. :D For most people, it's about improving their process first.

Scott Lee
www.poolknowledge.com

Improvement will not come "almost instantly: no matter who works with you. You can learn new things quickly, but actually incorporating what you learn into your game consistently takes time and effort on your part. You don't walk out of a lesson a better player. If you want to, you can walk out of a lesson prepared to become a better player.Steve

Johnnyt
06-17-2009, 09:23 PM
If I'm not mistaken, you posted running 96 about a week ago. To me, you couldn't do that unless your fundamentals were in excellent shape. What that means to me is that for you to improve from here, you'll need to find what your weaknesses are and fix them.

Since these weaknesses may be different depending on the game you're playing, I'd start by picking the game you most want to improve in. Find someone with excellent skills in that game who'll play against you for awhile and analyze your game. Your problem may be taking the wrong route too often (take the route of least snookerdom) or you may be playing inferior patterns, making you job unnecessarily difficult.

Finding someone who is willing to do this and also has the knowledge and experience may not be easy. You need someone who not only knows, but can communicate it to you so that you get it.

One suggestion is to video yourself playing straight pool, or running racks of 9 ball for an hour or two. David "Blackjack" Sapolis offers a service where he'll analyze videos and provide feedback. He charges $35/half hour of video, which seems quite reasonable to me. Here's a link:

Dead Stroke University - Video Evaluation (http://www.deadstrokeuniversity.com/VideoEvaluation.html)

I don't have personal experience with his work, but he has samples on the website, and the risk is quite low. Even if you don't like his work, you'll learn more about what kind of feedback you want.

I just noticed that he posted to your question, post #7.

Thank you. What you said makes a lot of sense. I will try it. Thank you. Johnnyt

PS: That 96 was a few weeks ago and I haven't come close to it again.

Scott Lee
06-17-2009, 09:40 PM
Johnnyt...Don't you live in NYC? Why don't you go get lessons from Tony Robles? I agree with John, that if you EVER ran 100 balls (or close), you have ball pocketing and some sort of position play as acquired skills. That doesn't mean that your stroke is as consistent and accurate as it could be. We try to recommend to every player, to have a complete video analysis of their stroke done. At least then they know what weaknesses in their "process" they have. It's then their choice to "fix" them, or stay the way they are.

Scott Lee
www.poolknowledge.com

Thank you. What you said makes a lot of sense. I will try it. Thank you. Johnnyt

PS: That 96 was a few weeks ago and I haven't come close to it again.

JamisonNeu
06-17-2009, 09:44 PM
I still take lessons from a few of my peers...I get better everytime, and almost overnight...I have a student in Charlotte that got 4 lessons from me went up two ranks, and won a city wide tourney less than two weeks later.

I have a student right now that will tell you he played for 30 years and never broke and ran until the day after I started teaching him. He then got his first ever break and run patch. He had me start teaching his wife...She had one lesson and went up two numbers in her league so far.

I have a student in MO that was allready an A player that asked me to teach him the game of 14.1 this took three years then one day he called me and thanked me. He said I just had my first hundred ball run...I worked with him everyday for two years and I watched him go from running 6 to 20 to 30 to oh shit it is his turn...

Students learn by how much desire they have. It is easier to teach someone that knows very little than someone who knows alot allready...

My last student is now a local hero, people stop to watch him play. He has forgot all about me, and the four years I spent teaching him...Some students appreciate there teachers, and some just use them.

I am in Charlotte, NC and have a few spots open for students. I will travel.

DogsPlayingPool
06-17-2009, 09:59 PM
I was matched against Dave Hemmah in a 9 Ball tournament. I'm sure you've heard the name as a player, but he has also been the House Pro at Hard Times Billiards in Bellflower, CA for a long time.

After the match we started talking and he says to me "You're a straight pool player, aren't you?" I had never had anyone say that to me. I told him that as a matter of fact I did come from a 14.1 background, having grown up on the game.

I asked him how he could tell and he proceeded to tell me he picked up on it from watching me play. He said my stroke was smooth and more straight back and through, not loopy. He noticed I chose simple patterns and didn't use the rails unnecessarily. That given a choice between hitting a shot hard or soft, I seemed to prefer the soft shot and chose patterns accordingly, and that my touch was especially good on soft shots. He also noticed that I had no problem playing position to a typical 14.1 shot like where the CB and OB are fairly close together around the foot-string and playing that ball to an uptable corner pocket. He also noticed I was quite comfortable bridging over balls and wouldn't shy away from playing position to a shot like that. He rattled off a few other things as well. I asked about lesson and he said I play pretty well so he would assume I really want him to teach me how the game is played, rather than how to play the game (if you know what I mean).

Needless to say, this is the guy I now take lessons from.

I guess the point I'm making is you can run balls and play shape. So I think a pro player, especially one who does do some teaching, could really help you "learn how the game is played". You know, choosing patterns, creative safety play, kicking, 2-way shots, etc.

Good luck!

Johnnyt
06-17-2009, 10:05 PM
Johnnyt...Don't you live in NYC? Why don't you go get lessons from Tony Robles? I agree with John, that if you EVER ran 100 balls (or close), you have ball pocketing and some sort of position play as acquired skills. That doesn't mean that your stroke is as consistent and accurate as it could be. We try to recommend to every player, to have a complete video analysis of their stroke done. At least then they know what weaknesses in their "process" they have. It's then their choice to "fix" them, or stay the way they are.

Scott Lee
www.poolknowledge.com

I'm from NY Scott but I've been down here in Florida since 1980. I know taking some lessons is a long shot for me at my age, but I just got to know if there is something that might bring my game up a notch. I play at least 4 hours a day, but will be the first to admit that I hate drills. But if someone I believed in told me that if I just practiced a few things (drills I'm sure)that I would be a ball better, I'd do it in a heartbeat. Johnnyt

JimS
06-18-2009, 04:25 AM
Shoot and pot 100 corner to diagonal corner straight in shots every day for at least 6 months. Even doing this on a 7ft will give you a straight stroke and the ability to make long shots on any table. Or, swallow your pride and go to the ph and do that drill on a 9 ft.

I "jumped" a level in a few months when I took lessons from Jeff Carter and then Mark Wilson and then Sailor and now am makeing another move by taking lessons from Little Joe Villalpando. But I practice a lot!

From your description of your game it sounds to me like you are a better player than I am but your stroke may need some work... especially if you are nervous about the long table. Go practice on one and get a lesson in your area, from Ray or Tony.. as has been suggested. Or better yet, imo , take a couple days and go see Blackjack. That's what I would do. I'd love to work on my game with him.

No matter where you go for lessons you will have to drop all prior ideas about the game and do what you are told. The student must put himself in the teachers hands with full trust.... or it's a waste of time. As David said, you gotta take the cotton out of your ears and put it in your mouth. Great advice that I've heard more than once in my life.

14-1StraightMan
06-18-2009, 04:47 AM
Johnny: all the comments above are very good and have great points. I started out taking lessons from a great "Old School" player named LeRoy Kinman who became my mentor. He helped me on my defense, which took my game to another level. Remember, you do not have to run that 100 balls every time you get to the table. A player that can run 25 to 40 balls and leave the table on a safety can beat those once in the blue moon 100 ball runners. Good luck with your game. I enjoy reading your posts that you come up with.

tigerseye
06-18-2009, 04:52 AM
I practiced with Shannon Daulton for about an hour and played to my potential for the next couple of days.... I just need to do that once a week...=))

thefifteen
06-18-2009, 06:07 AM
I took two lessons from Darren Appleton around 4 years ago. I was a decent player and it helped me immensely. More because he made me actually think about exactly what I was doing instead of playing on instinct.

I had good results for me, beating several top pro's in the next twelve months.

However, we are good friends, and his advice was along the lines of my cue action was terrible, kept dropping my shoulder, and I would never really be any good. Harsh but true, and I had already been playing for 15 years so too late to change.

Sometimes it takes a friend to tell you the truth, I enjoy the game more now. Did beat him once for $40 on a challenge table best of 3, some satisfaction. Won't tell you how many times he beat me.

Always good to be around the top players, it makes you realise how good they are and it is always a learning experience if you love the game.

pooltchr
06-18-2009, 06:10 AM
I know taking some lessons is a long shot for me at my age, but I just got to know if there is something that might bring my game up a notch. . Johnnyt

RandyG and I are doing a 3 day class in Charlotte in September. I can almost promise you that at the end of those 3 days, you will have found a couple of somethings that will improve your game.
Steve

NewStroke
06-18-2009, 07:32 AM
I did (Archer and Strickland) and picked up a few tidbits. I took a 3 day course from randyg (spf) and no my options are limitless depending on how much I decide to practice.

3kushn
06-18-2009, 07:35 AM
Improvement will not come "almost instantly: no matter who works with you. You can learn new things quickly, but actually incorporating what you learn into your game consistently takes time and effort on your part. You don't walk out of a lesson a better player. If you want to, you can walk out of a lesson prepared to become a better player.

Steve


You can lead a horse to water but.......
Don't waste your money if you're not willing to do the work.

Don't take offense at this, but the question reminds me of people that bring their puppy to obedience class with the belief that after 6 weeks the pup will have learned everything. The lessons only teach the owner how to teach. After that it's a lifetime of work depending on your goals. Same with pool lessons.

My experience has usually been, my game instantly Drops Off. The reason is easy to understand. You'll be learning new stuff within the fundamentals which will throw something else out of sync. With diligent work you will advance. If your fundamentals are perfect and only need info on cue ball control, aiming, diamond systems... then I'd say yes you will see immediate improvement.

Choose a Professional Instructor. They've studied the reasons why things are done and the reasons why things happen as they do, and will be able to explain them.

I just saw this from another thread: http://www.poolstudent.com/ go to "Don't Waste Your Money on Lessons"

GG11
06-18-2009, 08:27 AM
Hi Johnny --

I've seen a huge jump in my game in the last year and that's with the handicap of not practicing as much as I would have liked b/c of my job. But personally I think people go into a lesson and think they are going to magically come out of it a new player. Two reasons this doesn't happen:

1. They don't go practice their new found knowledge over and over again until they can't do it wrong. Then it comes up in a match and they don't execute it properly and they wonder why.
2. Whenever you change anything about your game, there is small window of time that your game actually gets worse before it gets better b/c you're not a master of these new skills yet and it takes time to become comfortable with them. Some players see this drop in their game as a sign that this new knowledge is wrong and stop implementing the change all together.

Personally I think it's a combination of lessons, practice, tournament play (or any pressure competition) and watching people better than you.

Playing on a Pro-AM tour up here in NY, I play people ALOT better than me all the time and it exposes so many of my weaknesses that I wouldn't see if I were playing someone my own speed or lower. When I don't kick properly, or get out of a rack I should, or play the right safe, or hell, if I break and don't squat the cue ball in the center, these higher players punish me! I see shots I struggle with alot more clearly when I play in these tourneys b/c under the pressure, the shots I'm scared of don't fall in.

I then go to my coach and say, "hey, this shot came up or this was the layout, why didn't this work?" or "I'm struggling with kicking, or stop shots, or ....." You get the picture. Sometimes TR and I will just play racks and after the break, he gives me ball in hand and simply says, "what's your strategy?" Then he can see both visually and verbally what I'm comfortable with, what I'm not comfortable with and usually the stuff I'm not comfortable doing is stuff I just haven't practiced enough or don't know yet.

And the just watching better players ... wow -- so many shots I've learned simply watching the higher players play -- strategies I never would have seen -- safes that never occurred to me.

Sorry if this is more info than you asked for but I kinda don't see this as a simply question. A top pro can give you the tools to get better, but it's up to the player to give those tools the best chance to work for them.

Scott Lee
06-18-2009, 08:48 AM
...and I'm putting together a 3-day school in Tampa, in early August. :D

Scott Lee
www.poolknowledge.com

RandyG and I are doing a 3 day class in Charlotte in September. I can almost promise you that at the end of those 3 days, you will have found a couple of somethings that will improve your game.
Steve