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View Full Version : Stuck on a skill level


bythecliff
04-25-2008, 10:31 PM
I've played pool seriously for a year and a half now, and I seem to be stuck at that stage where I can run a rack of 8 ball or 9 ball if the balls are in convenient shape, but I can't consistently make runs (more runs than not runs). It seems that my cue ball control is good but not consistent - sometimes I can't get the cueball exactly where I want. So how do you guys who can string together racks get to that skill point? It seems right now that aiming is not my problem (I have a good developed sense of where to aim). I just have problems with consistency - I make several uncalled for errors in shot making or cue ball positioning.

But I've noticed that if I use pocket reducers to make the pockets smaller, and play for while with small pockets, and then remove the pocket reducers, then for a day or two I seem to be "high" and find running 9 ball racks easy - it's like I don't need to focus that much to make shots. I'm also noticed the same accelerated result whenever I play snooker for an hour or two at the local bar.

So... any advice on improving your game past this level?

Thanks

Tim-n-NM
04-25-2008, 10:39 PM
I've played pool for 30 years. At 1 1/2 years everyone feels the way you do. You just got to keep hitting balls. Thats it, there is no magic there is no special formula its just getting in there time and time again and playing. It will come if you have the hand/eye cordnation. Just relax and play the game. If you play long enough, You will wake up one day and see it. Just like that it happens. Little steps at a time but you will see it.

branpureza
04-25-2008, 11:11 PM
I've played pool seriously for a year and a half now, and I seem to be stuck at that stage where I can run a rack of 8 ball or 9 ball if the balls are in convenient shape, but I can't consistently make runs (more runs than not runs). It seems that my cue ball control is good but not consistent - sometimes I can't get the cueball exactly where I want. So how do you guys who can string together racks get to that skill point? It seems right now that aiming is not my problem (I have a good developed sense of where to aim). I just have problems with consistency - I make several uncalled for errors in shot making or cue ball positioning.

But I've noticed that if I use pocket reducers to make the pockets smaller, and play for while with small pockets, and then remove the pocket reducers, then for a day or two I seem to be "high" and find running 9 ball racks easy - it's like I don't need to focus that much to make shots. I'm also noticed the same accelerated result whenever I play snooker for an hour or two at the local bar.

So... any advice on improving your game past this level?

Thanks


Your local bar has a snooker table? I can't remember the last time I saw a table in a bar that wasn't a vomit stained 6 footer.

If you aren't improving it's probably because you aren't practicing right...

What do you do when you practice? How long do you practice? How often? What are you trying to achieve?

Johnnyt
04-25-2008, 11:12 PM
I believe you answered your own question when you said "I lose focus". Depending on how many hours you play a week and whom (how good they are) you play, running a rack of 9 is pretty good IMO for the short time you've been playing.

If you don't gamble, you might want to match up with someone a tad better than you for cheap sets. This should make/help you focus more. I think some lessons could help by a good instuctor in your area also. Good luck to you. You sound like your well on your way to becoming a good player. Johnnyt

branpureza
04-25-2008, 11:19 PM
You just got to keep hitting balls. Thats it, there is no magic there is no special formula its just getting in there time and time again and playing.

I understand what you are saying but I feel like there is a little more to it than just hitting balls over and over... I know guys that have been playing for decades and still play the same speed they did 20 years ago. Mostly because they have the same routine... they get out there on the table, throw a few balls on it and try to run out. After an hour or two of "hittin balls" they have done their practice for the day... leaving exactly the same player as when they walked in. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result... practice doesn't make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect. An hour of good practice is worth a week full of "hittin balls"....

Tim-n-NM
04-25-2008, 11:27 PM
I understand what you are saying but I feel like there is a little more to it than just hitting balls over and over... I know guys that have been playing for decades and still play the same speed they did 20 years ago. Mostly because they have the same routine... they get out there on the table, throw a few balls on it and try to run out. After an hour or two of "hittin balls" they have done their practice for the day... leaving exactly the same player as when they walked in. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result... practice doesn't make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect. An hour of good practice is worth a week full of "hittin balls"....
And agree with you, without a doubt perfect practice is crucial. And putting yourself out there in the box is practice. But high quality practice also. Find someone that plays better and get in there!

av84fun
04-26-2008, 12:16 AM
A LOT depends on how serious you are about developing your game. If you want to get up to a league 8-9 and beat most of your buddies when you're out tossin' a few back then get some of the well respected books and videos...all of which have recommended practice routines and practice as much as you can.

But if you want to become a serious contender to beat most of the better players that frequent your pool room...and you want to be able to do that as quickly as possible...then sign up for at least 2 full day private lessons...spaced about 6 months apart...from one of the top teaching pros...severel of whom post here frequently.

Trying to learn from "better players" is a hit and miss proposition AT BEST. Better compared to what??? If you're a C and you try to learn from a B...I guarantee you that all B player's games are FULL of mechanical flaws and "knowledge gaps" so it's sort of a garbage in/garbage out process.

And don't let anyone tell you that "Willie never took a lesson." As a very young man he traveled the nation and played THOUSANDS of innings of pool with Ralf Greenleaf who was only the best player on planet earth...if not EVER...when he was sober and not so sober.

And fortunately for Willie, Greenleaf had a "classic" or "traditional" style.

Trying to learn stroke mechanics by watching Reyes or Bustamante would be a DISASTER for most players because they would never be able to control those loopy strokes...or drag the tip on the cloth during warm up strokes and then hit a force FOLLOW shot!!

The great teachers will cut through all the stylistic variations and give you a REPEATABLE stroke and they will get you there YEARS before you will likely be able to by any other means.

Two sessions with Scott Lee...for example, for $500 bucks a toss spread out over several months is a NO BRAINER.

Regards,
Jim

commswatch
04-26-2008, 05:06 AM
Play better players. Period. You need to have a genuine desire to BEAT the better player, and for many, that means gambling. While your fighting for your life to break even (or crying for a bigger spot), you WILL learn as you go. The other recommendations in here work as well...and may work better, but cannot advise, as I've never paid for lessons other than in the school of hard knocks and bad beats. (Never play old, skinny, white haired guys 1 hole in a strange pool room - they might turn out to be Danny Diliberto....=).
Something else I do when I find myself in a slump is get into a big tourney (Not US Open big, but something regional). That always wakes me up inside, gets the nerves pumping, and makes me focus. 9 of 10 times, I come out of the tourney on top of my game, if not a 1/2 ball better.
Also, when I had access to snooker, I played 9 ball on the 10 or 12 footers with standard balls - brings a whole new meaning to accuracy.

pooltchr
04-26-2008, 05:22 AM
... practice doesn't make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect. An hour of good practice is worth a week full of "hittin balls"....

Just guessing here, but it sounds like you may have spent some time with one of our family of SPF instructors at one time...

Very good comment!

Steve

Neil
04-26-2008, 05:54 AM
...............

branpureza
04-26-2008, 11:22 AM
Just guessing here, but it sounds like you may have spent some time with one of our family of SPF instructors at one time...

Very good comment!

Steve


Actually I've never taken lessons from anyone and never even had a conversation with an instructor regarding pool before... after 20 years of playing pool I just know what works for me. I put a lot of value on the time I spend practicing so when I'm playing I try learn something every time I'm at the table...

Snapshot9
04-26-2008, 01:47 PM
You've had some good advice so far.

I would advocate 'practice sets'. By that I mean, as you progress up the ladder, your practice sets that you practice should be leading the way for you to get to the next level. They should be 'stretching' you to perform better, and you should practice them until you have mastered them completely.

Practice is done by yourself, or with the assistance of an instructor or a mentor. They can evaluate your current skill level and determine what practice sets will help you get to the next level.

One I used to do a long time ago:

1) Put a ball on the rail at each middle diamond. Run the balls without touching any of the other object balls. (levels 2-4)
2) Then put object balls at the 1st and 3rd diamonds on the rail. Run the balls without touching any others. (levels 3-5)
3) Now, put object balls at all 3 diamonds on the rails, and run them without touching any other balls. (levels 4-7)

That is what I mean by stretching yourself. When you can do each of the above 3-5 times in a row without a mistake or missing, then you have pretty well mastered that particular practice set.

You can also use the above practice sets, only you have to bank each ball.

mantis99
04-26-2008, 10:30 PM
Take a lesson from a good instructor. They will help improve your fundamentals and give you drills that will move you to the next level if you do them judiciously. I believ taking a lesson is the fastest way to decrease the learning curve!!!!!

3andstop
04-27-2008, 09:05 AM
I've played pool seriously for a year and a half now, and I seem to be stuck at that stage where I can run a rack of 8 ball or 9 ball if the balls are in convenient shape, but I can't consistently make runs (more runs than not runs).



Practice a game that allows you to exceed running 8 balls. The problem with running out in 8 ball is that the table is clear and your done. On the other hand, if you are used to running 15 or 20 balls, when you get into a game that requires you to run only 8, its like a walk in the park.

IMO its time to advance. Play straight pool. Allow your mind to get used to extended concentration. Get running racks in that game and the others will seem much easier.

Jason Robichaud
04-27-2008, 10:07 AM
Sounds like you have the skill level required to keep improving. I would start practicing with focus.

It is strange for me... not sure about others, but when I start hitting my shape during a match, my potting improves! Once my potting improves, my shape starts getting better. After a few racks of all parts feeding each other and the confidence building I find my self in the zone and playing my best.

My practice....

Potting with purpose:

I try to make each shot like it is a game ball. Banging kills me...

Shape with purpose:

I don't say over there or close to there. I walk behind my next shot and find the best place to be... I play for a small zone. I like 1 sq diamond shape when possible. To see how easy a table can be with shape try the table with ball in hand every shot. That is what shape is, now try playing it.

CB speed/weight with purpose:

I don't guess how hard to hit the CB to find my shape... I practice my CB speed after contact with OB. Like a lag. If you can't lag to within a diamond, how can a person play diamond shape.

CB line/anlge:

I practice my line after OB contact... I try different CB speeds to see the change in angles. I also take a little look at the line the CB will travel. Sometimes the CB has obstructions along the path and I was too lazy to look.

cuetable is posting actual match layouts and how they got run out. Copy these and watch the run then practice. Find a match online and copy it for practice. Try to hit the same ball position they do. I have been doing this for a bit and it really helped. If you can't find an instructor to tell you what is wrong find matches that are done right and practice that.

Good luck