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Flip_dat_Quarta
07-13-2016, 07:32 AM
How do you improve once you become a great pool player?

I think this is a problem that every pool player faces and the main reason that most players reach their final plateau.

In the beginning years of playing pool the information highway seems endless and you are constantly learning new things, whether it's fundamentals, strategy, physics, consistency, shot pictures, etc. you are always improving.

Then you reach the intermediate stage where you first hit a major plateau. You understand most aspects of the game but you just don't have the consistency or experience to take you to the next level. Eventually, with enough practice you'll naturally move up.

So now you're a pretty solid player. You're a favorite to pocket most shots and you usually get out when you should. Running a rack here and there is expected. But you're stuck and don't seem to be improving anymore.

So now what? How do you keep pushing forward? You can gamble and play tournaments but is that really improving your game very fast? You can try practicing alone but playing without any pressure makes you lazy and develop bad habits. You don't like trying drills either. So what do you do?

Ever wonder what top players have done to stay on the fast track? It can't just be natural ability can it? So what did they do? Why are they different than you? Did they just want it more? Are they better at evaluating their game and improving on weaknesses? Do they practice more or better than you? Do they have the focus that you couldn't devote to the game? What is it? What are you missing?

philly
07-13-2016, 07:54 AM
They never vary their PSR. They usually go through it without even thinking. If they are off it is because of their PSR not being automatic. My opinion only.

Flip_dat_Quarta
07-13-2016, 08:02 AM
They never vary their PSR. They usually go through it without even thinking. If they are off it is because of their PSR not being automatic. My opinion only.

Who are "they"? The questions in my post are directed toward you!

O wait, I think I understand. You are saying that top players are great because they have a consistent pre-shot routine? Hahahaha, come on now...you think someone is a master at pool because of how they setup their shot? Not the actual execution of the shot? lol

That's like saying a baseball player is great because of how he lines up in the batter's box...

Flip_dat_Quarta
07-13-2016, 08:07 AM
I dunno, man. Efren says he just plays 15 ball rotation. Try that, I guess.

Well, Efren stopped improving a long time ago so maybe that's not the best solution...

dardusm
07-13-2016, 08:23 AM
I think that you have to play as much competition as possible. One of the reasons that I feel that the Americans lag behind the Europeans in the Mosconi Cup is the lack of pressure competition on the 9 foot tables. You can practice all you want but getting in the tournament grease gains the needed experience. And gambling doesn't help enough because it's a different type of pressure.

The difference in the pro's games is small. They all pocket balls well, move the cue ball well, etc or they wouldn't be pro's. It's the small things that can determine different fates such as a better break, learning to kick better, etc. In other words, keep learning and evolving to improve.

michael4
07-13-2016, 08:26 AM
1) play (try to master) other games, 14.1 etc, which will force you to improve in other areas....

2) compete more, at a higher level.....

GideonF
07-13-2016, 08:30 AM
Who are "they"? The questions in my post are directed toward you!

O wait, I think I understand. You are saying that top players are great because they have a consistent pre-shot routine? Hahahaha, come on now...you think someone is a master at pool because of how they setup their shot? Not the actual execution of the shot? lol

That's like saying a baseball player is great because of how he lines up in the batter's box...

There are many jumps along the way, and many different reasons people jump a skill level, like improving fundamentals and pocketing skills to learning advanced shots and strategy.

However, to the extent that I am able to tell (as a hack watching good players), the difference between the great players and the almost great players (say pro vs A players) is mainly consistency, especially under pressure. The A players can make every shot the pros can make and make great outs. But they miss shots, or shape, when they shouldn't. One possible reason for the difference might be pre-shot routine, or perhaps it is the ability to stay focused, or better fundamentals that don't falter under pressure.

And regarding the baseball player analogy, all great hitters seem to have consistent pre-hit routines, and they have hitting coaches that spend a lot of time watching their mechanics.

Flip_dat_Quarta
07-13-2016, 08:32 AM
I think that you have to play as much competition as possible. One of the reasons that I feel that the Americans lag behind the Europeans in the Mosconi Cup is the lack of pressure competition on the 9 foot tables. You can practice all you want but getting in the tournament grease gains the needed experience. And gambling doesn't help enough because it's a different type of pressure.

The difference in the pro's games is small. They all pocket balls well, move the cue ball well, etc or they wouldn't be pro's. It's the small things that can determine different fates such as a better break, learning to kick better, etc. In other words, keep learning and evolving to improve.

Interesting answer but I think you missed the question. I didn't ask you to evaluate the differences between top pros. I wanted you to evaluate your own game and tell me why you haven't broken through to the next level.

For example, let's take your level of play. We'll call it B+. At some point or another, a top player such as SVB played at the B+ level. So what did he do to break through to the next level? And why haven't you done it yet?

measureman
07-13-2016, 08:39 AM
I think once a player has reached the limits of physical ability the only way to play better is to play smarter.
I don't play as good as I once did due to age and not playing as much so I try to make up for it by playing smarter.

ps611846
07-13-2016, 08:45 AM
Interesting answer but I think you missed the question. I didn't ask you to evaluate the differences between top pros. I wanted you to evaluate your own game and tell me why you haven't broken through to the next level.

For example, let's take your level of play. We'll call it B+. At some point or another, a top player such as SVB played at the B+ level. So what did he do to break through to the next level? And why haven't you done it yet?

May I ask what have you done to break through to the next level...... of trolling ????? :grin-square:

Tramp Steamer
07-13-2016, 08:55 AM
Well, Efren stopped improving a long time ago so maybe that's not the best solution...


One way to look at it is that Efren, for instance, got to as high a level as he could. From that point on all he had to do was to maintain that level.
Maintenance became his goal. :smile:

lee brett
07-13-2016, 08:57 AM
They never vary their PSR. They usually go through it without even thinking. If they are off it is because of their PSR not being automatic. My opinion only.

Who are "they"? The questions in my post are directed toward you!

O wait, I think I understand. You are saying that top players are great because they have a consistent pre-shot routine? Hahahaha, come on now...you think someone is a master at pool because of how they setup their shot? Not the actual execution of the shot? lol

That's like saying a baseball player is great because of how he lines up in the batter's box...

Flip a pre shot routine from what Philly is referring to is the whole shot, not just 1 & 2 of the PRS.

Here is the Pre Shot Routine i teach players. 1,2,3,4,5.

1- Sighting/Aiming
2- Stance/Alignment
3- Bridge Hand/Arm
4- Backstroke/Pause
5- Follow-Through/Finish


Hope this clarifies things.

Lee

alphadog
07-13-2016, 08:59 AM
OP the way your post reads,it would be imposible to improve. That being said if one wants to get better thay need to be honest with themselves and identify their weaknesses. Practice their weakness until it is better.
Play other players,play other games,keep a open mind. Efren says he learns watching lesser players(of course most players are lesser then Efren). Players have differant ways of doing things. Watch and you may see a better way.

bdorman
07-13-2016, 09:04 AM
Who are "they"? The questions in my post are directed toward you!

O wait, I think I understand. You are saying that top players are great because they have a consistent pre-shot routine? Hahahaha, come on now...you think someone is a master at pool because of how they setup their shot? Not the actual execution of the shot? lol

That's like saying a baseball player is great because of how he lines up in the batter's box...

Well, Efren stopped improving a long time ago so maybe that's not the best solution...

Interesting answer but I think you missed the question. I didn't ask you to evaluate the differences between top pros. I wanted you to evaluate your own game and tell me why you haven't broken through to the next level.

For example, let's take your level of play. We'll call it B+. At some point or another, a top player such as SVB played at the B+ level. So what did he do to break through to the next level? And why haven't you done it yet?

Great. We have another one of the "Ask-a-question-and-then-deride-the-responders" posters.

Go back to Trollville.

Mrdodd72
07-13-2016, 09:08 AM
Interesting answer but I think you missed the question. I didn't ask you to evaluate the differences between top pros. I wanted you to evaluate your own game and tell me why you haven't broken through to the next level.

For example, let's take your level of play. We'll call it B+. At some point or another, a top player such as SVB played at the B+ level. So what did he do to break through to the next level? And why haven't you done it yet?

I think this may be somewhat of a loaded question. If most of us, truly knew, the reasons why we haven't broken through to the next level, then we would make the adjustments to do just that.

We all have speculations as to why we haven't improved, i.e. lack of practice, lack of competition, lack of time, anger issues, and generally, life getting in the way. But if we understood exactly what the missing piece was, w'ed correct it.

Physiologically, I can always improve my consistency by improving my PSR. Mentally I need to improve on letting my mistakes go, and maintaining a consistent aggressive attitude (not folding when behind, and going for the jugular when ahead).

book collector
07-13-2016, 09:39 AM
The ones that keep improving , keep practicing.
The ones that don't improve , have forgotten that you have to keep playing to keep the feel, especially speed.
Jay Helfert has already said that whenever any of the pinoys stay at his house , they play each other for 8 or 10 hours a day.
Then you watch another player, that used to beat everyone, and he comes in the poolroom, and sits around for an hour, and leaves, and never hit a ball.
Who do you think wins, when they next play?
If your practice turns into lazy habits and wasted time , you probably aren't practicing correctly.

Tramp Steamer
07-13-2016, 09:40 AM
I don't believe that a pool player (any pool player) has infinite levels of skill that he can attain.
We have spoken before about reaching plateaus. It is my contention that a player will eventually reach his or her last plateau and go no further.
Staying on that plateau (or level) requires constant play and practice in order to offset the ravages of advancing age, poor eyesight, loss of muscle memory and coordination, etc.
If the progress of a pool player's skill was a continuum, and his age was of no consideration, then at some point he would be able to walk up to the table and simply will the balls into the pockets. If this were possible then tomorrow's headline might read: Efren Reyes, 175 year old professional pool player defeats 214 year old Luther Lassiter, by expertly willing in the nine-ball in the final game of their much publicized match.
Mr. Lassiter, as you all know, was exhumed and revitalized only last year. In a recent interview he (Mr. Lassiter) said, "I'm a little stiff, but it feels good to be playing again."


I couldn't help it. Screw that serious shit. :smile:

BasementDweller
07-13-2016, 09:46 AM
If you always view your game as a work in progress you will continue to improve. At least that mindset has worked for me. I think too often players conclude that the work on their stroke, or their stance, or their pattern play, etc is complete and now all they need to do is compete and they will get better. These players get stuck.

Skratch
07-13-2016, 09:47 AM
I don't believe that a pool player (any pool player) has infinite levels of skill that he can attain.
We have spoken before about reaching plateaus. It is my contention that a player will eventually reach his or her last plateau and go no further.
Staying on that plateau (or level) requires constant play and practice in order to offset the ravages of advancing age, poor eyesight, loss of muscle memory and coordination, etc.
If the progress of a pool player's skill was a continuum, and his age was of no consideration, then at some point he would be able to walk up to the table and simply will the balls into the pockets. If this were possible then tomorrow's headline might read: Efren Reyes, 175 year old professional pool player defeats 214 year old Luther Lassiter, by expertly willing in the nine-ball in the final game of their much publicized match.
Mr. Lassiter, as you all know, was exhumed and revitalized only last year. In a recent interview he (Mr. Lassiter) said, "I'm a little stiff, but it feels good to be playing again."


I couldn't help it. Screw that serious shit. :smile:

HAHAHA!

"If you had one Super Power, what would it be?" I would say Telekinesis!! Now I can WILL the balls in!! :p:p:p:thumbup:

Did you see that sick table roll?!

StuartTKelley
07-13-2016, 09:49 AM
I think there are a lot of good points being made here and a lot of common sense here too. I do believe there are fundamentals that can be improved by coaching and a solid PSR can help consistency as well but after all of those things are in line then improving comes down to playing a lot with better players and watching better players in my opinion. And like someone else said, learning all games. I still believe that most people are only going to get so good and that's it without utter dedication and training and even with that..just so good. If all players could get to SVB level with dedication then we'd all be world beaters if we knew that's all there was to it. Who wouldn't make the sacrifice if it was that easy.

Pro's do work hard and their life is playing but they didn't get to that level on that alone. I really think there are natural abilities and incredible aptitude in all of these top players and most people don't have it in them. It's intangible and hard to prove I suppose and some egos refuse to swallow that pill but that's my opinion. Explain to me for example why a 12 year old kid has a monster stroke and can break and run out racks like it's his job......he didn't get that by simply training and coaching...the kid has it in him or ..the talent is there to be molded into something greater but it didn't get there simply because they got bored with playstation and decided to play a little pool on Daddy's table.....Right?

fastone371
07-13-2016, 10:19 AM
The only way to continue to improve is by spending more time at the table. For casual players, non pros basically, if you spend 4-5 hours of good hard practice time at the table playing the ghost you should be playing better that last hour than the first hour. Your break should be very nice, consistently pocketing balls and parking the cue ball, you should know the speed of the table better than the back of your hand, etc.. Now by not being a full time player every time you go back to the table its not that you need to re-learn everything but you do need some time to get fine tuned. The more time you can spend practicing the less fine tuning you need, everything you do at the table becomes second nature and comfortable without thinking about it. I play at least an hour a day 6-7 times a week, if I take a few days off it will take me a few racks to start feeling comfortable, my stroke feels different, my eye patterns are not good, etc..Its kinda like a job. You see some people and its enjoyable to watch them practice their trade because they are very skilled at it and they make it look effortless, but they also do that 8 hours a day for years and years. I think its the same thing with pool, there is no magic that makes your stroke perfect, your aim dead on, banks center pocket on every shot, only hard work if you want to be at the top.

Mr. Bond
07-13-2016, 10:29 AM
The key to improvement at any age or skill level is knowing what you don't know, and/or accurate analysis of what you can and cannot do well. In other words, you must first define " better than what? " and then define where you are currently at on that scale.

Then, a higher goal should be set, appropriate steps taken, and another analysis made.

Rinse and repeat.

Dimeball
07-13-2016, 11:14 AM
The only way to continue to improve is by spending more time at the table. For casual players, non pros basically, if you spend 4-5 hours of good hard practice time at the table playing the ghost you should be playing better that last hour than the first hour. Your break should be very nice, consistently pocketing balls and parking the cue ball, you should know the speed of the table better than the back of your hand, etc.. Now by not being a full time player every time you go back to the table its not that you need to re-learn everything but you do need some time to get fine tuned. The more time you can spend practicing the less fine tuning you need, everything you do at the table becomes second nature and comfortable without thinking about it. I play at least an hour a day 6-7 times a week, if I take a few days off it will take me a few racks to start feeling comfortable, my stroke feels different, my eye patterns are not good, etc..Its kinda like a job. You see some people and its enjoyable to watch them practice their trade because they are very skilled at it and they make it look effortless, but they also do that 8 hours a day for years and years. I think its the same thing with pool, there is no magic that makes your stroke perfect, your aim dead on, banks center pocket on every shot, only hard work if you want to be at the top.
Amen brother, preach it!

thintowin
07-13-2016, 03:50 PM
i haven't a clue ..

Cameron Smith
07-13-2016, 04:54 PM
If you always view your game as a work in progress you will continue to improve. At least that mindset has worked for me. I think too often players conclude that the work on their stroke, or their stance, or their pattern play, etc is complete and now all they need to do is compete and they will get better. These players get stuck.

This.

There is always work to be done on your technique. A top snooker coach named PJ Nolan has tons videos of pros and aspiring pros practicing on youtube. In the coaching videos, you see them making very slight adjustments, even though these guys are already consistent century break players.

Here are some examples,

David Hogan
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_XSAc6wvolk

Brendan O'Donoghue - working on the stance
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_VX87h6i9QU

The better these guys get, the smaller the adjustments that need to be made. But they are no less crucial, especially when aiming to achieve such exceptional consistency.

There are other aspects of course like shot selection, but a strong technique makes it easier to experiment and learn the proper patterns and shot selection.

dnbnt
07-14-2016, 02:47 AM
First, I think its hard to objectively evaluate your own play. Admit shortcomings, weaknesses, faults, etc...

I know when I'm playing someone not my speed my game suffers. That angers & frustrates me and I slide further down that slope.

My Dad said one time when I had beaten a friend of his and commented on his weak play (to just my Dad), he admonished me and said many times after, "You can learn something from the worst player you ever face. If your eyes are open to it." :thumbup:

philly
07-14-2016, 04:47 AM
Flip a pre shot routine from what Philly is referring to is the whole shot, not just 1 & 2 of the PRS.

Here is the Pre Shot Routine i teach players. 1,2,3,4,5.

1- Sighting/Aiming
2- Stance/Alignment
3- Bridge Hand/Arm
4- Backstroke/Pause
5- Follow-Through/Finish


Hope this clarifies things.

Lee

Exactly Lee. I don't think that Flip has gotten to the point in the game that he realizes that a PSR equals consistency. I think he is worried about potting balls and getting shape and not realizing to do it consistently you need that consistent PSR.
And yes good hitters in baseball do the same thing every time they get into the batters box. It is their Pre Swing Routine.

erhino41
07-14-2016, 09:26 AM
There is no such thing as a plateau, you only stay still if you allow yourself to. And yes someone like Shane is better at evaluating his weaknesses and improving them than most people, that is why he is as good as he is. That is also a learned skill like anything else. If one can't overcome the boredom of practice for the sake of actually improving their weaknesses, they will never truly improve. Even though they will make small natural improvements, they will not make gains in the areas they need and will seem to plateau. All of this is mental though, any body can learn to assess and correct like Shane does, finding the time is the hardest part.

I also never quantify anything to myself using superlatives. An honest self assessment should never include things like "very good player" etc.. You should have the confidence to do the things you know you can do and the honesty to know what you can't do, and constantly seek to improve those things.

HawaiianEye
07-14-2016, 10:03 AM
I used to beat 99% of the people I played and gambled over 90% of the time when I played, except when practicing by myself...when nobody would play.

I made more money playing pool than I did working a full-time job at the same time.

In those days, I worked all day and then played pool 5 or 6 (or more) hours a night, 5 or 6 days a week.

I don't know high a level I could have reached if I had spent the entire work-day and night playing, but I didn't need to. The 1% that I maybe couldn't have beat, either didn't gamble, or didn't want to play.

I didn't need to be the world champion to make money in those days. There were plenty of players and lots who liked to gamble. Today, everyone wants a "lock" to play or some kind of outrageous spot. In the old days, you walked in and jumped in with the big dogs and either won some money or got busted. At some point your winnings started outnumbering your losses and you went from there. If your losses outnumbered your winnings, you either quit or found some smaller fish to play with.

Today, there is no reason for anybody to put in the number of hours it takes to "be all you can be". What is the outcome? You are still a broke pool player or making less than the guy selling hot dogs at Costco.

I play once a week, for only a couple hours on Sunday, and can still beat 99% of the all the league players that I've seen in our pool leagues. They spend tons of dollars and what do they get? Maybe a couple patches saying they made an 8-ball once, or if they are extremely lucky, they get a cheap trophy.

What would be the purpose of being able to spot Johnny Archer or Earl? All of those guys can beat any other guy or any given day. There is nothing to gain by being the world champion of pool.

You could take Efren, Allison Fisher, Earl, the Rocket, Daz, and 90% of the other world champions into Costco, and somebody would walk up to them and ask, "can you tell me what time you close?" The average person is clueless to pool and pool players. 90% of the people in the leagues can't name more than a couple pro pool players...except for maybe Jeanette Lee.

I'll practice up and start taking it serious again when I reach 75...

jasonlaus
07-14-2016, 10:10 AM
Interesting answer but I think you missed the question. I didn't ask you to evaluate the differences between top pros. I wanted you to evaluate your own game and tell me why you haven't broken through to the next level.

For example, let's take your level of play. We'll call it B+. At some point or another, a top player such as SVB played at the B+ level. So what did he do to break through to the next level? And why haven't you done it yet?

First you say evaluate your own game(you dont know what you dont know) and then you say what did Shane do(a pro). You cant have it both ways.

book collector
07-14-2016, 10:06 PM
I remember reading a while back that Shane had done the Billiard University test and had not scored at the level a player of his calibre should in one of the shot categories.
He said he was surprised and would be practicing that, until he had it mastered!

justinb386
07-14-2016, 10:25 PM
How do you improve once you become a great pool player?

I think this is a problem that every pool player faces and the main reason that most players reach their final plateau.

In the beginning years of playing pool the information highway seems endless and you are constantly learning new things, whether it's fundamentals, strategy, physics, consistency, shot pictures, etc. you are always improving.

Then you reach the intermediate stage where you first hit a major plateau. You understand most aspects of the game but you just don't have the consistency or experience to take you to the next level. Eventually, with enough practice you'll naturally move up.

So now you're a pretty solid player. You're a favorite to pocket most shots and you usually get out when you should. Running a rack here and there is expected. But you're stuck and don't seem to be improving anymore.

So now what? How do you keep pushing forward? You can gamble and play tournaments but is that really improving your game very fast? You can try practicing alone but playing without any pressure makes you lazy and develop bad habits. You don't like trying drills either. So what do you do?

Ever wonder what top players have done to stay on the fast track? It can't just be natural ability can it? So what did they do? Why are they different than you? Did they just want it more? Are they better at evaluating their game and improving on weaknesses? Do they practice more or better than you? Do they have the focus that you couldn't devote to the game? What is it? What are you missing?

If you really want to get better (past a solid B rank for example), then I think that you really do need to do all of the boring drills that you do not care to do. I do not know, but I imagine that all of the top pro players, and even the good short stop (semi pro players) did all of the boring drills in order to get to the level they are at. You must also get a lot of experience by playing better players (that are stronger then you). You need to travel to some of the big tournaments, and get some good experience against the really great players (I think that really helps too, to move to the next level). If you are stuck at a certain speed, then you just have to will yourself into trying to learn more. Find a good instructor (like Mark Wilson for example, and pay for a weekend or a day with him). Mark Wilson helped a friend of mine greatly improve his game (he went from a solid B player to a solid A player within a short time after a a few days with Mark Wilson). You also need a great deep love for the game. If you get burned out, then there is no hope (I do not think).

Str8PoolPlayer
07-14-2016, 10:32 PM
If you really want to get better (past a solid B rank for example), then I think that you really do need to do all of the boring drills that you do not care to do. I do not know, but I imagine that all of the top pro players, and even the good short stop (semi pro players) did all of the boring drills in order to get to the level they are at. You must also get a lot of experience by playing better players (that are stronger then you). You need to travel to some of the big tournaments, and get some good experience against the really great players (I think that really helps too, to move to the next level). If you are stuck at a certain speed, then you just have to will yourself into trying to learn more. Find a good instructor (like Mark Wilson for example, and pay for a weekend or a day with him). Mark Wilson helped a friend of mine greatly improve his game (he went from a solid B player to a solid A player within a short time after a a few days with Mark Wilson). You also need a great deep love for the game. If you get burned out, then there is no hope (I do not think).

This thread is now complete. The All-Knowing Justinb386 has spoken.