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driven
02-26-2007, 06:34 PM
Hi all
I grew up with straight pool, It was the only game we knew. Whatever we knew about the game we either learned on our own, or from watching
Willie vs. whoever on W.W. of Sports. Very few people were willing to show us anything. Now we have Straight Pool forum on az billiards. TY to those who teach without asking anything in return. I hope others appreciate it as I do.
Now...
If you haven't seen Niels Feijen's 259 here it is:

http://video.google.nl/videoplay?docid=-4055665300780803274&q=Niels+Feijen

If that doesn't work search google for Straightpool Druch record.

I noticed a couple of times he gets himself in trouble by taking a secondary break shot, sending balls into other balls that maybe should have been pocketed first. He is able to work out of these problems.

I would like to know what some of the better players see in this run. I know we can all learn from such a great talent as Niels.
thx
steven

Gerry
02-27-2007, 04:43 AM
First off, that was a stellar run! He is a world class player, and thanks for the opportunity to see it!

I may not have the most popular opinion on the run, I'm not in the same league as Niels, but I'm going to be honest here (and most likely get flamed). From a classical straight pool point of view, the run was average with a bunch of "get out of trouble" shots that his pure pocketing ability pulled him through. He has the ability to be one of the best ever if He was to study with an "old school" instructor to make the game much easier for him. Here's what I saw...

> Niels plays 14.1 like a 9baller moving the cue ball WAY too much and relying on superior pocketing ability to pull him through. If he learned better/easier patterns he would run 1000!...without breaking a sweat.

> He hits the break shots way too hard in some instances. Most likely to open the rack early because his secondary break outs and clustered rack patterns are a little weak. I saw him go into the back and side of clusters without insurance balls a few times, BUT he got away with it.

> I saw trouble/rail balls left too far into the rack on many occasions and it caused him a lot of stress to get around them. Again with old school knowledge, he would have breezed through and got rid of them much earlier.

Again, please don't think I'm slamming the man on his abilities, thats not the case, I would like to see him learn the easy way to play 14.1 and run twice that many with less effort. If you were to compare his run with say one of Mosconis run side by side, I think we would all see the difference.

Great run Niels, but you have the ability to do better.....much much better! :)

Gerry

VKJ
02-27-2007, 08:55 AM
I have two different opinions on Gerry's comments.

First let me say I was lucky to learn 14.1 from Ray Martin. I grew up at Clifton Billiard Lounge before, during and after Ray was the owner and during his 3 world champoinships. He would play many of the regulars 25 to 100 and you couldn't help but learn a ton. He played the classic 14.1 game and I couldn't agree more with all of Gerry's observations of the video.

BUT ever since Oliver Ortmann invaded our 14.1 shores and introduced a much more wide open offensive style of 14.1 I have changed from a classical 14.1 purist to a player that thinks there is a whole lot to be appreciated in how Oliver, Neils and many of the European players 'attack'14.1.
Unlike here where 14.1 has lost popularity in Europe they love it and play constantly. They are much more offensive minded and somewhat more open and less structured in there pattern play. They are putting up huge 400 ball runs and 14.1 tournaments are rare compared to the days of Mosconi, Crane etc. when 14.1 was the most popular game.

John Schmidt also mentions on his 245 ball run ( very similar in style to Neil's run) video that he plays very offensivly and he will play safe when absolutly needed but if there is a shot he is going for it.

I also seem to remember that on the video of Ortmann vs.Mizerak in the championship match to 200 points in Chicago, one of the commentators mentiones that while that match was not brilliantly played Ortmann's 14.1 style shows there is a different way to approach the game because he destroyed all his opponents to get to the finals with a good many runs of over 100.

So while I think Neils could benefit from Gerry's comments I also think the 14.1 players that play the classic pattern style could also benefit from the more free flowing european style.

One last point that I just thought of, Over the last 15 or 20 years many of the few 14.1 events have been won by 9 ball players or had 9 ball players in many of the top five places. I think this shows that while knowing how to play correct, classic patterns are important, shot making and ball pocketing to get out of trouble are also important (like Neils). Since the 9 ball players are always in action they are sharp and very in stroke and can win even by playing very unorthodox 14.1.

I think Efren played a cross side bank break shot in a match on his way to winning it. Go figure!

Donovan
02-27-2007, 10:25 AM
Niels is one of my all-time favorites!

This was a real treat. Thanks so much for sharing this....I did not know this happened back in March of 2002.

It seemed he got tentative around 98 and 190, but hell, who wouldn't? LOL

I thought it was interesting how many time his break shot went straight to the side rail and then he stopped doing that altogether. Also there were a few break shots he hit so hard, that the balls came back in the rack. For the most part, I think he did a great job of playing his style and really rose to the occasion when he had to.

Congrats Neils!!!

BTW I love the discussion going on!!!

berry
03-01-2007, 04:42 AM
Just to top this topic because straightpool fans around the world must see this free video!

Next to that Niels has 3 European Champion titles in 14.1

Visit Niels his website: www.nielsfeijen.nl

Gerry
03-01-2007, 04:59 AM
Good points guys, and I'm surprised nobody thrashed me!:) Funny thing is I come from a 9ball back ground and my 14.1 teacher did his best to beat that out of my 14.1. I still consider 9ball my strongest game....maybe I should start studying the "Euro" style of 14.1 because it might just fit my game as well? There can't be anything wrong with learning another style
and incorporating it back into my game.

Gerry

acedotcom
03-01-2007, 07:38 AM
Just to top this topic because straightpool fans around the world must see this free video!

Next to that Niels has 3 European Champion titles in 14.1

Visit Niels his website: www.nielsfeijen.nl

Thanks for the link. Quite a spiffy site. I've added it to my collection. :)

VKJ
03-01-2007, 08:14 AM
Another thread as this site made me think of an additional reason I think Gerry's comments about classic 14.1 are very important.

As a run gets higher (over say 150) the laws of percentages that something will happen to stop the run also get higher. Classic pattern play and a more intimate knowledge of all the do's and don'ts of 14.1 become much more important to keep the run alive. If a player has to shoot themselves out of trouble to much because of loose patterns eventually as the run gets higher the shotmaking falls short.

The classic approach fights against those negative percentages.

Serge
03-01-2007, 09:48 AM
Gerry’s and VKJ’s comments are accurate in every aspect of their analysis. I would like to add something of my own what I discuss with a friend of mine for 20 years now: efficiency vs. aesthetics.

The fact is that a guy who is able to shoot 259 balls in a row is a world class player (there are some straight pool big names who never reached the 200 barrier) and he deserves respect and recognition only for that.

Now, did I like the run? Definitely no! I certainly do not put in question Niels’s skills and ability but the fact is that from a simple aesthetical point and IMO this run was very scrappy: he is loosing the cue ball numerous number of times, his ball selection is sometimes very questionable, he is waiting to put away problem balls, he is putting a very small angle on the break and has to shoot with a lot of strength in the pack, he has plenty of good rolls etc.

So what? He pocketed 259 balls! What’s the matter with me?

Well, I am playing this game for 25 years now, actually from the point in time I have read “the hustler” and the description of Minnesota Fats’s way of dancing around the table. Though it was a very poetic and improbable description, it left a very deep impact on my game perception: Pool has to be beautiful and the way it is played too. But what does it mean beautiful in straight pool?

I am playing one hour and half 14/1 every day, making a high run between 50 and 60 and pocketing a 100 every now and then, with a high run of 176. So I know a bit about straight pool, but I do not play competitions so I am really focusing on the creational and recreational aspect of the game.

Let me explain my thoughts:

- VKJ is talking about the European aggressive way of attacking the balls. Look, I have seen Steve Mizerak, Mike Sigel and Nick Varner at their peaks playing straight pool and they were extremely aggressive. I guess I don’t even have to mention Efren Reyes and the few times he played it, it was just crazy and awesome (VKJ is mentioning Efren’s shot against Mike Sigel at the 2000 Us open, which was simply foolish and stunning). But you are correct: Niels, Oliver, Ralph E., Ralph S., Mika and (not to forget him) Thorsten are all very, very, very aggressive players.
- I don’t believe aggressiveness makes it all, straight pool requires and always has required awesome pocketing abilities, it is not just about attempting shots and the cue ball control
- The fact is the better you read the game and the better your patterns are, the easiest it is going to be and this makes the huge difference. Personaly I think the 245 run from John Schmidt is way above in this particular area.
- The ultimate straight pool game to watch to understand my point is the 150 & out from Mike Sigel against Mike Zuglan. It is like a swiss clockwork (well, I live in Switzerland…), I think that he lost the cue ball 3 times during the whole run but besides that it is simple perfection.
- The trouble begins when a common mortal like myself, tries to emulate Mike Sigel’s game, the reality just takes over: it is very difficult to reach the stars! That’s why it is maybe not the best tape to show to a straight pool beginner: it looks too easy and it is difficult to appreciate without a certain game knowledge.
- This may certainly be a paradox, but Niels’s run is certainly profitable to watch from this aspect: look all what he made wrong (this is very subjective) and he managed to pocket 259 balls though!
- Another aspect of the game nobody of you guys mentioned is creativity. The creativity king is with no doubts Efren Reyes. I have watched his straight pool games over and over again. He is playing it without any common straight pool sense but his overall phenomenal talent and skills allow him this kind of play. Niels is coming out difficult situations through his pocketing skills but he is not really creating anything during his run.
- So where does this bring us:
o Do I have to be able to pocket a ball from every single table corner every time?
o Do I have to be able to play it exactly the books describe it with perfect positioning?
o Do I have to be creative?
Certainly a little bit of all these things is valid but to bring a conclusion: straight pool (as pool overall) requires consistency in every single game aspect: pocketing, cue ball control, patterns, imagination, when put together and played by a great player it is “straight pool beautiful”

Niels’s break is impressive but not beautiful; Efren Reyes’s 100 and more breaks are stunning but not “straight pool beautiful”. Steve Mizerak’s and Mike Sigel’s had “straight pool beautiful” games!

One last point: I would certainly be delighted to be able to play the game as Niels is able to but IMO straight pool is just much more than a game or than a competition it is the ultimate expression of pool on a table: it is like music there are several possible interpretations and the experience makes you hear (see) the difference.

Remember the beginning of this discussion: aesthetics vs. efficiency!

VKJ
03-01-2007, 09:58 AM
Serge,

What a great post!

Thank you!

Gerry
03-01-2007, 11:32 AM
Well thought out post there Serge, and it brings a few thoughts to my mind.

> All things equal who would win a 1000 point match? the new school player, or the classical player?....discussion on this could go on for ever, but it would be a good conversation.

My money would be on the more classical player because of the simplicity and economy of his game. In a looooong match I feel this comes into play. Its like the classic gambling match between the young gun that comes out firing and gets ahead....only to be worn down over time by experience.

My main point is in short the objective to great 14.1 is to run as many points as needed with as little work/chances possible. To have to come with difficult position play or difficult shots over and over HAS to catch up with a player eventually.

Gerry

RobertR
03-01-2007, 01:59 PM
259 is an awesome achievement. For anyone. However they do it.

Calling it 'scrappy' or 'not technically correct' or any other backhanded insult borders on the snobbery that contributed to the game's demise.

This discussion reminds me of the scene in Top Gun where the female instructor is explaining how Maverick did everything wrong in his dogfight and then one of his peers leans over and tells him 'gutsiest move i ever saw, man'.

Neil
03-01-2007, 03:03 PM
...............

Gerry
03-01-2007, 04:07 PM
259 is an awesome achievement. For anyone. However they do it.

Calling it 'scrappy' or 'not technically correct' or any other backhanded insult borders on the snobbery that contributed to the game's demise.

This discussion reminds me of the scene in Top Gun where the female instructor is explaining how Maverick did everything wrong in his dogfight and then one of his peers leans over and tells him 'gutsiest move i ever saw, man'.

snobbery contributed to the demise? how do you figure that? 9ball maybe a little, but snobbery? its not like they said you can only play the game at a country club or something.

nah man you got it wrong. Every poster here gave MAJOR props to Niels before commenting. Nobody is trying to look down their nose here, just have interesting discussions about different ways to go about this great game.

Gerry

StraightPoolIU
03-01-2007, 04:29 PM
I think this discussion brings up a somewhat interesting tangent. Does anyone think that because the game of the recent era has been 9-ball pro players have adapted and became a breed of incredible ball pocketers vs. precision pattern players? Conversely, were the old masters as skilled ball pocketers as today's players?

RobertR
03-01-2007, 04:34 PM
snobbery contributed to the demise? how do you figure that? 9ball maybe a little, but snobbery? its not like they said you can only play the game at a country club or something.

nah man you got it wrong. Every poster here gave MAJOR props to Niels before commenting. Nobody is trying to look down their nose here, just have interesting discussions about different ways to go about this great game.

Gerry

You have a point Gerry. I re-read what I wrote and it probably read a lot harsher than I meant it. Just as I probably misinterpreted what was written about Mr. Feijin's accomplishment. With the absence of inflection, it's sometimes hard to determine intent on a forum.

You wrote "Nobody is trying to look down their nose here" and from what I've seen so far, you are absolutely correct.

I was merely trying to point out the danger of coming across in a snobbish way.

Serge
03-01-2007, 05:44 PM
Thank you guys for the nice comments.

I would like to add 3 more things that came through my mind by reading your add ons :

1) All the european great players grew up with straigth pool and use it on regular base for practice (even Johnny Archer is doing it!), I would like to remember you that almost all the last us straigth pool competitions were won by europeans, so just to tell that the 9Ball shooting skills are killing "classic" straight pool is not quite true, I would pretend the opposite: those guys are just as good as they are in 9Ball because they master straight pool, even in a different way - I repeat : 259 Balls is world class -! (there is a post from Tom Rossman somewhere on the web about this one related to taiwanese players, if any interest I can try to find it out and to attach it here)
Just for the record :
Oliver Ortman won the Us Open in 1989 and 1993
Ralph Souquet won it in 2000
Niels Fiejen is a triple European straight pool champ between 2002-2004
Thorsten Hohman won the last World Open beating Thomas Engert in the finals with Mika Imonnen finishing third
In 2005 Thorsten Hohman won the european 14/1 championship by beating his oponents in 1/4, 1/2 and finals with 125 and out, he played the whole tournament with an insane 50 balls average/innings !

All these guys have great achievements in 9Ball, all of them but Thomas won the 9Ball world title once !!!

2) I definitely agree with Gerry, a classic way of approaching the game allows much more frequent high runs than the "sharp shooter" way. Dallas West used to practice every day until he reached a 100 run, I did not mention him before because I think he is not only a classic player but a very conservative one but certainly a master of the game. I can bet quite a bit that none of those guys does it today unless he switches to a more oriented pattern way. A "sharp shooter" way is exhausting and one reason those guys are able to sustain play like that is because they are physically very fit. Ask Niels and Mika how many hours they spend in a fitness center every day (just let me make a snooker digression: Ronny O'Sullivan is running miles every day, Peter Ebdon is swimming miles every day...by the way most of the snooker players are great 9Ball players and snooker skills are very similar to 14/1 skills). This aspect is something you cannot neglect today: Billiards is a sport and requires perfect fitness at the top level.

3) "De coloribus..." : Some might like to look 9Ball games, I don't particulary(with exceptions of course, I would certainly take a bunch of 9Ball games videos on a desert island). Some find 14/1 played by Willie Mosconi, Dallas West or Ray Martin boring, I don't: I can spend hours taking those games apart. I perfectly understand that straight pool does not fit within our modern era, where action, speed, emotion and drama is required, something 9 Ball provides in quantity (remember the last game at SRO between Reyes and Archer in 1996 !). My point is if you want to look at sharp shooting take 9Ball and not straigth pool, it is usually much more fun to watch, I just told why. But if you want to look beyond and realy get good at pool then you will enjoy a perfectly executed rack from the pocketed break ball, to the exact cue ball positioning for the break ball for the next rack.

Gerry
03-02-2007, 11:36 AM
You have a point Gerry. I re-read what I wrote and it probably read a lot harsher than I meant it. Just as I probably misinterpreted what was written about Mr. Feijin's accomplishment. With the absence of inflection, it's sometimes hard to determine intent on a forum.

You wrote "Nobody is trying to look down their nose here" and from what I've seen so far, you are absolutely correct.

I was merely trying to point out the danger of coming across in a snobbish way.


No problem man, we all have our moments....excuse me now, I have to get the help to bring me lunch, and wax my jag! ;)

Gerry

Takumi4G63
03-03-2007, 05:40 AM
Serge I also have to agree with your post 100%. In my book any run over 100 is impressive, over 200 is insane. Neils definitely has a stellar mental game to get through racks like the one where he passed 125 - he gets into so much trouble here and you can almost feel his mental anguish. But while it is definitely an amazing achievement, it is nowhere near the level of play that Sigel displayed in his 150&out (which he likely could have continued a long ways). I think precision position play is a far better and prettier game of pool vs. power pocketing. As some have said I think this is why Mosconi would run out basically every other game.

Nobody is saying anything about Neils not being a skilled player - we are saying that the game can be played at a much higher level.

Gerry
03-04-2007, 05:03 AM
YEA! I got my first negative feedback on this thread. I figured it would happen here. Thanks Kyros, 8 posts here and you throw me a bad rep. :rolleyes:

Gerry

driven
03-04-2007, 06:04 AM
Bad Rep? You didn't deserve that.

I will learn how to give reps out and get you another green one
steven

Roy Steffensen
11-03-2008, 07:11 AM
Just found this thread, and it is very interesting!!! Thought it deserves a bump