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stillanoid
09-22-2010, 01:49 PM
When players of different skill levels practice together, what are some ways to make sure both players are challenged and get the most from practice or warmup? I am a SL7 and my regular practice partner is an SL4. When warming up for league she recently said "nothing personal but I don't want to practice with you because I never get to hit the balls". We usually play 8 ball and have tired variations where I can only shoot two balls in a row on my turn at the table or where I have to bank everything but playing like this doesn't help me to get in stroke.

I want the practice to be fun and usefull for both of us!

ctyhntr
09-22-2010, 01:57 PM
Have you thought about handicapping by ball? Say, she has to make 4 balls and then has a shot on the 8. This will give her a chance to shoot, and keep you on your toes and not slack off.

stljohnny
09-22-2010, 02:19 PM
I'm the lowest rated player on my team and when we warm up the challenge is on me to keep those others guys from running out. if they do get out, the leave all my balls on the table and i play the rack from where they left the cb and try to get out from there, playing position on the rack-spot for the 8. it allows the loser to still hit balls and work on position - while also mimicing game situation (not letting your opponent back, or a shot if you have a play safe).

Also - if your lower ranked players are eager to learn, have them explain to you (or the other higher ranked/smarter players) why they're shooting each shot and what they want to accomplish. the higher players should give feedback on each shot explaining that it's the right shot or or why it's not. so practice is then two-fold - educational and getting in stroke.

i'm still a 4, but i beat most other 4's and some 5's because i've learned a lot from practicing like that.

peter_gunn
09-22-2010, 02:23 PM
How to determine SL ?

h2o4170
09-22-2010, 03:28 PM
Thats tough. I have a guy that comes in the poolroom that always wants to hit balls with me he plays probably the 8 maybe 7 under me but if I play with him for an hour he gets me so outa stroke id be lucky to win even.I hate to be rude to him but when practicing I dont want him on the table.Another guy whos a pro will hit balls with ya but if he misses a 7 or 8 he just rakes the balls and racks so u never get in stroke.

justadub
09-22-2010, 03:36 PM
Interesting this came up today. Last night at our league match, I started practicing with my best buddy who is an SL7. I'm an SL5, but only just recently. (I still consider myself a four, especially after the last week and a half!:p )

My buddy isn't on a team currently, but he was there so we started playing. I play with him all the time, and have no issue with his beating me regularly. I get my licks in occasionally, and I learn alot from playing with him. But I wonder if he got me off my game last night. Playing him is a whole lot different than playing the folks I'm gonna play in league, for the most part. Position play, safeties, the whole thing is different playing him.

Then again, given how poorly I played, it really wouldn't have mattered who I warmed up with. :grin: Interesting food for thought, though...

marek
09-22-2010, 03:38 PM
I found my own system of handicaping which works just about with everyone. If my opponent is lesser skilled than me he can shoot two/three/four etc. innings to my one + breaks. You can always find a balance this way to make things competitive! :D Once you find that balance the better player mostly has to run out to win a game. This way both players get their share of balls to pot. :)

Neil
09-22-2010, 05:01 PM
............

9bizzle
09-22-2010, 08:37 PM
To expand on what Neil said, you could even alternate every shot in a scotch doubles sort of format which will force the both of you to play precise position and make your shots.

stillanoid
09-23-2010, 08:25 AM
It's really very simple. You are warming up, you aren't supposed to be trying to beat your warmup partner. If 9 ball, one of you shoot the first 4, the other shoots the last 5. Alt. each rack that way. If you miss, you keep shooting till your group is gone. Shoot some banks, some draw shots, some follow shots. See how the tables react, and how you react.

Neil I understand what you are saying about warming up and maybe I am being too competitive. I do make sure not to play safe during warm up but if the run-out is there, I go for it. We share two tables between sometimes 8 players before our matches so I do try to win to stay at the table. I can only get to a table once a week right now and that is on league night so I am sure once I have access to my table again to actually practice (living in an apartment temporarily) I will not need as much warm up.

Thanks everyone for your suggestions, I will see what works best the next time we have some practice time.

Jimbojim
09-23-2010, 09:15 AM
how do they rate you by the way? I don't understand what this SL3 or SL5 mean...

Black-Balled
09-23-2010, 09:28 AM
I think the best way is to trade racks.

If it takes the weaker player too long to finish a rack then trade 5 min blocks instead of racks.

Noice thing about playing with yourself is that you can retry things...noice thing about the retry is that you can get a feel for subtle changes.

Black-Balled
09-23-2010, 09:30 AM
how do they rate you by the way? I don't understand what this SL3 or SL5 mean...

It is specific to where they play... I wouldn't worry too much about SL, for purposes here.

If you wanna know how you rate, then sorry for the ASSumption above.

LeagueShirts
09-23-2010, 09:33 AM
During practice time at our league, we let teammates get ahead in the line to start, but we just play winner keeps the table. It's not very good for a cold player who gets booted though. Keeps some pressure to play well though, or else you'll get the chair! haha

snarzberry
09-23-2010, 11:01 AM
Tell them to harden up!

The way I learned how to shoot good pool was getting my butt kicked daily by one of the best players in my state for about a year solid. But my desire to beat him drove me to watch and learn until I achieved a skill level where I could genuinely compete.

Today if I take on a practice partner who is young, inexperienced and has a lot to learn about the way around a pool table it'll only be with a kid who has fire in his/her heart and really wants to get good.

Beware_of_Dawg
09-23-2010, 11:11 AM
9 ball scotch doubles against the ghost.

Playing Safe successfully (ghost would be required to kick to hit a ball) are continuations of the teams turn with the partner getting ball in hand to continue the run.

This is a "team" against the ghost so communication is highly recommended. ("this is why I'm doing this" "this is what I want you to do", etc..))

the420trooper
09-23-2010, 11:17 AM
Tell them to harden up!

The way I learned how to shoot good pool was getting my butt kicked daily by one of the best players in my state for about a year solid. But my desire to beat him drove me to watch and learn until I achieved a skill level where I could genuinely compete.

Today if I take on a practice partner who is young, inexperienced and has a lot to learn about the way around a pool table it'll only be with a kid who has fire in his/her heart and really wants to get good.

This.

I don't like handicaps, and I don't like weight.

The way that I learned to play pool was by playing players who were much better than me...even. For a couple of years, I didn't win very much. I was lucky enough that a couple of those guys were friendly and knowledgeable, and willing to teach me a few things. That, coupled with endless hours of practice, allowed me to reach a decent level of play.

The first time I ever won an even match against one of my mentors was one of the sweetest moments of my life, because I got there by myself, without having them give me X number of balls or games on the wire.

As far as simply warming up for a tourney or league, I like practicing alone.

Jimbojim
09-23-2010, 11:29 AM
Tell them to harden up!

The way I learned how to shoot good pool was getting my butt kicked daily by one of the best players in my state for about a year solid. But my desire to beat him drove me to watch and learn until I achieved a skill level where I could genuinely compete.

Today if I take on a practice partner who is young, inexperienced and has a lot to learn about the way around a pool table it'll only be with a kid who has fire in his/her heart and really wants to get good.

Amen to that!

Big Perm
09-23-2010, 12:05 PM
You should come on here, complain that she's a being a big baby, beat your chest about how you are so good, how you practice 7 days a week, and how everyone else should just pay you money to play every time you walk into the room....

Oooops, my bad, wrong post.....I was thinking this was another world beater local beyotching about handicapping :D

I had the same exact situation....my best friend and one of my playing partners in Jacksonville was a 4.....here are a few things we did:

1. If I missed, he gets ball in hand
2. Mix up the games - he enjoyed 1 pocket and it was easy to handicap
3. When she starts to get frustrated, tank a shot, but actually plan to miss it in a specific spot, with a specific leave just to challenge yourself....

That's all I got....good luck...

Black-Balled
09-23-2010, 12:39 PM
Not that there's anything wrong with not playing for $!

This.

I don't like handicaps, and I don't like weight.

The way that I learned to play pool was by playing players who were much better than me...even. For a couple of years, I didn't win very much. I was lucky enough that a couple of those guys were friendly and knowledgeable, and willing to teach me a few things. That, coupled with endless hours of practice, allowed me to reach a decent level of play.

The first time I ever won an even match against one of my mentors was one of the sweetest moments of my life, because I got there by myself, without having them give me X number of balls or games on the wire.

As far as simply warming up for a tourney or league, I like practicing alone.

stillanoid
09-23-2010, 01:45 PM
how do they rate you by the way? I don't understand what this SL3 or SL5 mean...

I play in an APA 8 ball league and they set our skill levels. The league manager inputs the stats into a computer (total games played, games won, games lost, innings at table each match etc.) and the computer has a formula that it uses to rank the players. SL just means Skill Level and I think there are levels 2-7 in 8 ball.

Hope that helps!

Jimbojim
09-24-2010, 08:01 AM
Thank you for the clarification

ShootingRazbone
09-24-2010, 08:09 AM
I'm the lowest rated player on my team and when we warm up the challenge is on me to keep those others guys from running out. if they do get out, the leave all my balls on the table and i play the rack from where they left the cb and try to get out from there, playing position on the rack-spot for the 8. it allows the loser to still hit balls and work on position - while also mimicing game situation (not letting your opponent back, or a shot if you have a play safe).

Also - if your lower ranked players are eager to learn, have them explain to you (or the other higher ranked/smarter players) why they're shooting each shot and what they want to accomplish. the higher players should give feedback on each shot explaining that it's the right shot or or why it's not. so practice is then two-fold - educational and getting in stroke.

i'm still a 4, but i beat most other 4's and some 5's because i've learned a lot from practicing like that.

I like this way TBH. One of you gets to the 8 first and then it's the other players shot. Continue to play the game as if he missed the 8.

Siz
09-24-2010, 08:44 AM
There have been some good replies about handicap methods. But I think that the primary aim of these should be to give both players a reasonable amount of table time - not necessarily to make the game competitive.

Neil is right: Don't try to compete. The better player will not be able to concentrate (no matter how hard he/she tries), and will end up practicing how to play badly.

As the better player, when it is your turn you need to play the table. Ignore your opponent. And set yourself goals accordingly.

Jason Robichaud
09-24-2010, 10:00 AM
I posted this practice on AZ before and works great for mismatched skill levels, so here it is again.

Play the ghost scotch double style. You shoot, your buddy shoots.... this really helps the stronger player improve shape and gives the weaker guy a chance to shoot. Fun, Fun!

Ratta
09-24-2010, 10:10 AM
Agree,

no matter what discipline you are playing- the *lower lvl player* will get a lot of experience with this type of training. Further he usualy is forced to pay really attention and thinkin about the game-

i prefer to play straight-pool with this kind of training. Fun and it makes much sense,

lg
Ingo

Cephalus
09-24-2010, 10:20 AM
I found that playing scotch doubles with players better then me taught me the most, by far. Looking at a shot and having them tell me what they would do really revealed the shots I didn't know, the simple patterns I was missing, etc. We normally did it for straight pool, as that seemed to be the best format for this - since you weren't playing directly against someone else. Every time you missed you just started a new run.

As far as regular practice against someone goes, I by far prefer to play against people better then me. But when I have to play with people worse, I like to give them a spot - which then punishes me if I leave them at all deep into a rack. It makes me bear down on the last several balls at least.

Ghosst
09-24-2010, 10:35 AM
To expand on what Neil said, you could even alternate every shot in a scotch doubles sort of format which will force the both of you to play precise position and make your shots.

This is how I play with partners as well because they start to see patterns and what we're trying to accomplish instead of simply knocking a ball in and hoping for a good result.