MN Pool Boot Camp Review
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MN Pool Boot Camp Review - 09-15-2020, 11:03 AM

In early July, I flew to Minneapolis to train pool with Demetrius Jelatis (Tin Man on here, as many of you know).

First, I’m going to eliminate all suspense and say that the boot camp was awesome and well worth the money, travel costs, time away from home/family, etc.

Now, I’m going to describe why it was awesome:

Demetrius is a great host and a super friendly guy. I would imagine that the biggest hang up for a lot of people thinking about going through this boot camp is flying to a new city to get picked up and housed by a guy they’ve never met, and then spending 30+ hours with him in close quarters over the next three days.

There’s a lot that could go wrong there, right? But he’s an awesome dude who is super passionate about pool, and the time absolutely flies by. It feels like I blinked and it was day three and I was packing my bags to go to the airport.

In addition, the sleeping arrangements are solid, meals are provided (and were all excellent), and you get everything you need to be comfortable from the moment you arrive. No fuss—it’s all set up to keep you fully immersed in pool for three days with no concerns about the outside world, which is perfect if you’re flying in from halfway across the country.

The boot camp is well structured, and he immediately identified my speed and what I need to work on. I’m a student of the game and I learned a lot of very practical information and knowledge—stuff you just don’t really get anywhere else. I quickly learned that a YouTube-based billiards education is a decent starting point, but it doesn’t even come close to painting the entire picture.

Another hugely important and valuable part of the boot camp was just having Demetrius provide immediate and constant feedback throughout. He quickly realized that I wasn’t putting nearly enough spin on the ball to replicate some of the shots he showed me. I had trained myself over the years to play using only a minimal amount of spin. But within 5 minutes he helped me “unlock” the outer edges of the cue ball and get far more action than I had ever seen in my own game previously.

He also emphasized a slower, smoother stroke. I had seen my stroke on video before and thought it was “okay,” but when watching it on Demetrius’s phone and with him also looking on, it just screamed “rank amateur,” especially after watching his for many, many hours. I’m still working on fixing it, and it’s going to take a while.

It can be a bit intimidating to play under his watchful eye, but that’s where the “boot camp” thing comes into play. In the military, boot camps are designed to break you down from your lazy, carefree civilian life and build you back up into someone ready for action at a moment’s notice. This boot camp is designed to exorcise every last bit of “banger” that resides within you and draw out the “player.”

Demetrius accomplished this by putting me through the ringer in terms of drills and a session against the 6-ball ghost that I completely flunked by going 0-5 (the pressure…oh God, the pressure!). We also worked through certain patterns over and over again with various stipulations and rules, which helped emphasize how difficult even some 6 ball outs can be if you aren’t incredibly precise with your speed control and positional route choice.

In addition to learning a lot of solid, practical advice that I’m already using all the time, the biggest takeaway from the boot camp for me was a total mindset change. Demetrius’s mind works very quickly when it comes to identifying patterns. I, on the other hand, arrived with a “I just need to leave an angle” mindset. Never mind the fact that “leaving an angle” didn’t guarantee anything for me, as I was too low percentage to hit many of the necessary transitional shots consistently (that was another major takeaway—I’m not comfortable enough using spin on many routine shots).

He got me thinking about pool in a much more cerebral way. Previously, I was obsessed with it from a mechanical perspective—i.e., refining my fundamentals and trying to become a cue-testing robot. But Demetrius proved that while he’s an excellent shotmaker, hard shots are hard shots for anyone, and it’s far better to spend practice time shoring up pattern play and cue ball control than it is to try and emulate Shaw or Filler and just bomb in balls from anywhere on the table.

The boot camp was challenging, eye-opening, occasionally frustrating (because of my own lack of skill and focus at times), enlightening, and oh yeah—fun. Demetrius is good about keeping the agenda fresh, which makes it easy to stay at the table for 10+ hours a day. One of my favorite parts of all three days was playing Scotch Doubles with him. On many shots, he would call out where he wanted the cue ball and also give me a hint or a full-on explanation of how to get there if I seemed uncertain, leaving me free to simply execute the shot.

It was a blast to work through racks with him, nail some tough shots under pressure to keep the runs going, and to see him bomb some long-distance recovery shots when I lost the cue ball. He was also complimentary of my game throughout. I’m not a good player, but he gave me a few compliments about various aspects of my game that I’ll never forget, and they certainly buoyed my confidence both throughout the boot camp and after I arrived home.

Bottom line, if you sign up for the boot camp, chances are you’re going to have your pool world rocked. I know I did. And I think even if I was 100 Fargo Rate points stronger, I still would have had my pool world rocked. Because his approach to the game is so heavily pattern dependent and focused, and I feel like that’s something that isn’t emphasized enough.

One of the exercises during the boot camp is watching pro matches that include examples of both great pattern play and bad pattern play. Previously, I viewed pro matches as “okay, he got out there,” or “oh, he didn’t get out there,” or even “he got a little out of line but still got out.” But watching the matches with Demetrius made it obvious WHY those things happen, even if it looks like everything went to plan.

He has such a strong eye for patterns, and after three days with him, it was clear to me that I can spend 10 hours a day trying to become the next Filler and improve by maybe 15 FR points over the next year, or I can focus on making the game easier by being better at identifying patterns and key transitions and improving my ability to hit those key transitions—not spending hours and hours fruitlessly training myself to become a cue-testing robot.
  
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09-15-2020, 11:14 AM

I agree with your assessment completely. Demetrius is one of the best teachers and mentors of the game I've come across.


I attended his Boot Camp last November and can echo your positive comments. Keep up the great work, Demetrius!

Here is a link to my trip review: https://forums.azbilliards.com/showt...19#post6529219

I hope to fly back out to his home for another 3-day experience later this year if COVID will allow it!


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09-15-2020, 12:59 PM

So he's not the heartless bastard we heard about?

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09-15-2020, 02:25 PM

great review and very similar to my experiences also.
demetrius is highly recommended.......
  
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09-15-2020, 04:24 PM

I have talked to him before about getting some time to go see before this dam Covid thing started. Still want to get out to see him, great review.
  
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09-15-2020, 09:58 PM

Quote:
at the table for 10+ hours a day
<sigh>... <prolly a 9 footer, too>
  
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09-16-2020, 12:57 AM

Wow. Thank you for the amazing write up BlueRaider!!! And to Aaron and bbb for the kind words as well.

I really liked the write up because when I read it you said all the things that showed you heard what I was trying to get across. I really can't wait to see what your game looks like in 3-6 months. I know you have the tools, and I feel you have a much better picture of what you are trying to assemble. Now it just takes some good old fashion elbow grease. But it's a heck of a lot more fun to put in the work when you can see an exciting new vision and are making progress towards it. Simply outstanding!

What a great game. I love training with others, on my own, competing, and I'm sure lucky to get to share the road with others like you guys. It was a blast having you out and sharing a table with you. Looking forward to seeing you again. And we will be in touch before long. I've got plans...


Demetrius Jelatis
www.mnpoolbootcamp.com/

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09-16-2020, 10:04 AM

Thanks for the report. I'm jealous!


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Demi is the best.....
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Demi is the best..... - 09-16-2020, 05:28 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by aaronataylor View Post
I agree with your assessment completely. Demetrius is one of the best teachers and mentors of the game I've come across.


I attended his Boot Camp last November and can echo your positive comments. Keep up the great work, Demetrius!

Here is a link to my trip review: https://forums.azbilliards.com/showt...19#post6529219

I hope to fly back out to his home for another 3-day experience later this year if COVID will allow it!
I've been around Demi for years and have become pretty good friends. This guy can play.

Plus he not only plays good but understands why. Rare part of most great players. Being able to teach what he knows is a great asset.

Been at his house and seen the operation. All centered around doing the best he can do for each and every player he works with.

Beautiful house in a great neighborhood with a beautiful 9' diamond. Pool players paradise.

This is one of the best setups in the country to improve your game.

Definitely in the top 2 or 3 places in the country to improve your game. Might be the best.

I know it's the best bang for your buck. All you need to do is listen to any of the players he has worked with.

  
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Geno! - 09-18-2020, 12:34 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by genomachino View Post
I've been around Demi for years and have become pretty good friends. This guy can play.

Plus he not only plays good but understands why. Rare part of most great players. Being able to teach what he knows is a great asset.

Been at his house and seen the operation. All centered around doing the best he can do for each and every player he works with.

Beautiful house in a great neighborhood with a beautiful 9' diamond. Pool players paradise.

This is one of the best setups in the country to improve your game.

Definitely in the top 2 or 3 places in the country to improve your game. Might be the best.

I know it's the best bang for your buck. All you need to do is listen to any of the players he has worked with.

Hey Geno! Thanks for the support!

Gene and I have played a lot over the last 15 years. The first time I played him was actually earlier, back in '97 when I was 17. I made the final four of a 64 man regional tournament and was playing pretty well. Gene beat me on the winner's side and I ended up 5/6th. Gene won.

These days we still like to get together and spar now and then in between fighting over local tournaments. It's great to have him around. He's shown me a lot of things about pool when it comes to sighting, aiming, stance, set up, stepping into shots, etc. He is so solid. When he's on his game you just get the feeling that he can put anything he aims at in the pocket. And even on a 9' Diamond he just drills full court shots and bombs balls down rails like he's connecting dots. And he is extremely mentally tough. Very impressive and inspiring.

I will mention that for Gene is in my area for anyone who wants to fly in and train with me that also wants to work with Gene. We have 3 days, so if someone wants to spend 3-4 hours with Gene we can work that out. What I work with people on and what Gene focuses on don't overlap in any way so it can work out well. Just wanted to throw that out there.

Thanks again Gene and looking forward to our next session!


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www.mnpoolbootcamp.com/
  
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09-18-2020, 05:14 AM

Well said. I have to agree with this entire review. I also felt like he did a good job identifying my speed and then proceeding accordingly. I think is was key to a productive class.

I fully plan on going back after I'm more proficient at a few fundamental things we worked on. It's one thing to be knowledgeable about something. His ability to teach and convey said knowledge effectively is something entirely different.


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