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Practice Sessions - Struggling to Focus - 05-16-2016, 09:06 AM

I'm looking for some good practice advice:

I love to play the 7 ball ghost more than anything however I run into some problems:

1. I shoot too fast
2. I don't spend as much time focusing
3. I'll sometimes want to experiment with an alternative way to get shape however I don't b/c I am in the middle of the set.
4. When I'm playing good I only get to shoot a few tough shots per rack b/c of good position.
5. I'll start to slack off

It's hard to give 100% effort against the ghost when you're just playing for fun. Therefore I usually develop bad habits. So that being said, I am trying to stop playing the ghost as much.

I have been changing my practice sessions to focus on one specific aspect of my game. For example, shooting the same shot over and over and over until I master it. This type of practice is really boring but it's obviously the best way to improve.

This type of practice is so boring that it makes me never want to practice. I need to find something that is in-between the two extremes that I've mentioned. I need something that is challenging but not extremely boring. I need something that practices my whole game which I can use to warm up before a match. I need something that I can easily start and stop without going through a whole set or workout.

What kind of practice sessions do you guys like? Do you encounter any of the same problems I've mentioned? Do you have any recommendations? I'd love to start something new...Thanks!
  
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05-16-2016, 09:18 AM

IMO, that type of practice (shoot it 1000x) is counter-productive to good practice. Short duration, high focus, with a way to measure your results is the best way to practice. Throwing balls out on the table and trying to run them off, or playing the ghost, is not deliberate practice. That's practicing playing...which may yield only sporadic results.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flip_dat_Quarta View Post

I have been changing my practice sessions to focus on one specific aspect of my game. For example, shooting the same shot over and over and over until I master it. This type of practice is really boring but it's obviously the best way to improve.


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05-16-2016, 09:45 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Lee View Post
IMO, that type of practice (shoot it 1000x) is counter-productive to good practice. Short duration, high focus, with a way to measure your results is the best way to practice. Throwing balls out on the table and trying to run them off, or playing the ghost, is not deliberate practice. That's practicing playing...which may yield only sporadic results.

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So what do you recommend?
  
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05-16-2016, 09:49 AM

I agree with Scott.

My favorite practice session is to start with a speed drill to get my stroke focused and smooth. This takes about 3 minutes. From there I use the Qskills challenge to combine practice of ball pocketing, position, and thinking out more than 1 or 2 balls. I play at least 10 racks of that, and keep score of every single one. Tracking over a long period of time, you can see yourself improving (and slumping!).

This takes less than an hour. If I have more time, I'll play multiple sets of Qskills. If not much more time, I'll set up and replay some of the specific shots I missed during the racks I played until I make at least 5 in a row.

By the way, playing multiple racks like this really makes you focus on stretches where you're struggling. My wife has asked me why I keep doing it if I'm "not enjoying myself." I explain to her that when playing in a match or tournament, you have to play your way out of sucking, you can't just walk away.

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05-16-2016, 10:08 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flip_dat_Quarta View Post
So what do you recommend?
Take Scotts 4 hour course l. He'll put you on track with the proper drills. Give Scott or a qualified instructor some thought





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Instructional source: "One Pocket...A Game of Controlled Aggression" by Tom Wirth. This book is a players best friend.
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Last edited by GoldCrown; 05-16-2016 at 02:29 PM.
  
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05-16-2016, 10:09 AM

Really interested in seeing what others have to say. So far, some great input.

I just started playing after an 18 year layoff. I suffer from the same mental challenges that I struggled with as a kid. The only time I can bear down and play is if is for money or in a tourney (to a lesser extent). I can not keep my mind sharp during practice or playing others for fun. This really bothers me, because I love the game. I am just a wreck mentally. Maybe I am practicing the wrong way?? I love the input here. Thanks!!
  
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Focus, focus, and more focus.
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Lightbulb Focus, focus, and more focus. - 05-16-2016, 10:16 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flip_dat_Quarta View Post
I'm looking for some good practice advice:

I love to play the 7 ball ghost more than anything however I run into some problems:

1. I shoot too fast

Slow down. There isn't any good reason to shoot fast unless there is a shot clock.

2. I don't spend as much time focusing

Focusing is the most important element to good playing. Focus on position, contact points of cue ball to object ball, see the angle, feel for speed.

3. I'll sometimes want to experiment with an alternative way to get shape however I don't b/c I am in the middle of the set.

Use your imagination only if comfortable doing so. Don't experiment when unsure.

4. When I'm playing good I only get to shoot a few tough shots per rack b/c of good position.

This is key. Leaving good easy position reduce misses and makes the game look easy.

5. I'll start to slack off

Be mentally tough. Don't show emotion and give 100% heart.

It's hard to give 100% effort against the ghost when you're just playing for fun.

Therefore I usually develop bad habits. So that being said, I am trying to stop playing the ghost as much.

I have been changing my practice sessions to focus on one specific aspect of my game. For example, shooting the same shot over and over and over until I master it. This type of practice is really boring but it's obviously the best way to improve.

This type of practice is so boring that it makes me never want to practice. I need to find something that is in-between the two extremes that I've mentioned. I need something that is challenging but not extremely boring. I need something that practices my whole game which I can use to warm up before a match. I need something that I can easily start and stop without going through a whole set or workout.

What kind of practice sessions do you guys like? Do you encounter any of the same problems I've mentioned? Do you have any recommendations? I'd love to start something new...Thanks!
Don't just strive for general area for position. Strive for exact position by seeing angle, rail targets, and how spin is working. Use a 6 dot cue ball to see spin. Focus 100% on every shot, especially the easy ones. Good luck!
  
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05-16-2016, 10:20 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldCrown View Post
Take Scotts 4 hour course l. He'll put you on track with the proper drills. I called Scott. Give Scott or a qualified instructor some thought
haha funny
  
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05-16-2016, 11:25 AM

Dr Dave's test accomplishes this for me. I too cannot commit to focusing as well in practice compared to competition. It makes me wonder if it is better to save some of that focus for competition.

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05-16-2016, 11:47 AM

Focus is focus. Focus is not motivation.
  
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05-16-2016, 12:13 PM

I used to get bored practicing, too. I realized that unless I set up a challenge for myself, I wasn't going to stay focused.

What worked for me was that I set a prize for myself that I would only win if I met my goal. Many times my prize would be letting myself enter in my local pool room tournament. But first, I had to beat the ghost 'x' number of times out of 10 --- or something like that ---- or I had to make a ball on the break 'x' number of times out of 10, or I had to have position on the one ball after the break, 'x' number of times out of 10. (It was usually all of the above.)

If I didn't meet my goal, I wouldn't enter the tournament that week. I really enjoyed playing in those so I started really focusing when I practiced so I wouldn't make stupid mistakes. When I did play in the tournament, that good habit I developed of staying focused usually came along with me. Worked out pretty well.
  
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05-16-2016, 12:17 PM

Before a tournament I like to practice lightly for about 10-15 minutes to get warmed up.

I'll usually start with some long table length shots down the rail into the bottom corner pocket (about 10)
Then I'll shoot the same shot with a firm Follow on the cue ball for aiming warm up.
(About 10 as well)
Set up a 4-5 Diamond straigh-in shot to the lower corner pocket and draw the cue ball back up to the Head Rail
(About 10)
Set up a back-cut (to corner pocket) slightly (a few inches) past the side pocket and 1 Diamond out from the long rail. Set the cue ball (2-3 diamonds away) directly inline with the object ball or slightly closer to the rail for a back-cut. Use a Draw shot with outside
English to send the cue ball across the table and back to Center for control/stroke practice.
(About 10-15 times or until you are making most of them)

After you get acquainted with the Table conditions and how much *Throw will
Be factored in from sidespin on the cueball/object ball relationship, it's now an
Appropriate time to practice your break and figure out how to drop the wing ball
Reliably while simultaneously playing shape on the 1 ball.

This is my short warm-up drill before a tournament to get loose.

The best practices are always going to be under pressure. That's how you learn to
Play your best all of the time, if you practice half-heartedly... You're guaranteed to see
That habit leak out she the pressure is on.

Hope this helps you some.


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05-16-2016, 02:34 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flip_dat_Quarta View Post
haha funny
Was not sure what you're looking for. Simply concentrate. Push yourself





Favorite Game...Pocket a Piece
Instructional source: "One Pocket...A Game of Controlled Aggression" by Tom Wirth. This book is a players best friend.
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I need more cues like a snail needs airbrakes
  
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05-16-2016, 02:50 PM

If it doesn't matter, it doesn't matter...without trying to be flippant, I contend it is true.

As long as you can bring when it counts, who cares what you do in the gym?
  
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05-16-2016, 04:36 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldCrown View Post
Take Scotts 4 hour course l. He'll put you on track with the proper drills. Give Scott or a qualified instructor some thought
PM Scott Lee and see if he will be in your area for a lesson, or he can recommend someone for you.

Those guys have specific actions to take for practicing that will help you quickly and more easier than just banging balls.

My experience, anyway, yours may differ.


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