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ddadams
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Everyone says pool is dying... My question for you guys.. - 12-09-2013, 04:33 PM

So I'm at the hall right now and I've seen this time and time again... Some younger people come in with friends, or themselves, not knowing how to play at all.

They hit the balls around, missing 95% of the shots because they don't know what they're doing at all. Meanwhile they hear balls dropping left and right seeing some people make it look so natural.

They get self conscious maybe, miss a bit more, feel bad even maybe. Start blaming the stick, the fact that they usually play while drinking or drunk, etc..


My question about pool to you guys...

Is pool too hard? Is it just too hard compared to most sports to play even at a low level of competence?

Some of the new players that talk to me ask me why I practice straight in shots sometimes. I always try to help and be friendly but its "too boring" to practice the same shot 100 times in a row.


What do you guys say? Is it just too hard for the people who like it, but don't want to put the initial investment into learning very very basic fundamentals?





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12-09-2013, 05:11 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by ddadams View Post
So I'm at the hall right now and I've seen this time and time again... Some younger people come in with friends, or themselves, not knowing how to play at all.

They hit the balls around, missing 95% of the shots because they don't know what they're doing at all. Meanwhile they hear balls dropping left and right seeing some people make it look so natural.

They get self conscious maybe, miss a bit more, feel bad even maybe. Start blaming the stick, the fact that they usually play while drinking or drunk, etc..


My question about pool to you guys...

Is pool too hard? Is it just too hard compared to most sports to play even at a low level of competence?

Some of the new players that talk to me ask me why I practice straight in shots sometimes. I always try to help and be friendly but its "too boring" to practice the same shot 100 times in a row.


What do you guys say? Is it just too hard for the people who like it, but don't want to put the initial investment into learning very very basic fundamentals?
I think there's some validity to what you're saying. There's no doubt pool has a very long and steady learning curve. My wife has been playing a couple hours a month since we met and she's still a novice player. I told her it could be another year or two before she can be considered truly "intermediate" and really, that's when the fun begins.

I remember the days when a friend explained spin to me. My head exploded. I think measle cue-balls make it easier for people to conceptualize spin now but back then, stuff like that seemed very mysterious to me.


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12-09-2013, 05:18 PM

No one wants to make that kind of investment in something with no reward.
Example: tons of young people still take up golf.


" Reduce expectations to avoid disappointment"
  
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12-09-2013, 05:27 PM

It's true that pool is a difficult game to become proficient at a high level. I have seen many of the same people the OP referred to and have asked them if that would like some hints on how to play. Some are receptive and naturally some are not. The ones that are have been lots of fun to talk to and I have helped some on more than one occasion. More often than not it is a couple out on a date that do not want to just sit at the bar and get bombed. The trick is to not make the guy look bad for obvious reasons and honestly I don't blame him. I spend a limited amount of time giving them hints on stance and how to deliver the cue stick to the cue ball. Then I back off and tell them to ask away if there is any other things they want to know. If you approach folks like you just want to share your knowledge they truly do appreciate the few minutes it takes. It's fun to see the light bulb in there minds when you explain things to them.
  
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12-09-2013, 05:34 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by ddadams View Post
So I'm at the hall right now and I've seen this time and time again... Some younger people come in with friends, or themselves, not knowing how to play at all.

They hit the balls around, missing 95% of the shots because they don't know what they're doing at all. Meanwhile they hear balls dropping left and right seeing some people make it look so natural.

They get self conscious maybe, miss a bit more, feel bad even maybe. Start blaming the stick, the fact that they usually play while drinking or drunk, etc..


My question about pool to you guys...

Is pool too hard? Is it just too hard compared to most sports to play even at a low level of competence?

Some of the new players that talk to me ask me why I practice straight in shots sometimes. I always try to help and be friendly but its "too boring" to practice the same shot 100 times in a row.


What do you guys say? Is it just too hard for the people who like it, but don't want to put the initial investment into learning very very basic fundamentals?


Interesting you mention this, Here is a post I made quite a while ago. I hadda hunt it down. Here is the copy & paste of the text.
-----------------------------------

Exposure to sports / games is what makes them popular to a large degree along with the ability to enjoy performing them, even if only at a novice level.

Once again take for example bowling. Exposure to the game is a natural. A guy and girl go on a date and decide to go bowling. Within one or two attempts they are both at least able to knock down pins with a REAL chance to see themselves make a strike.

Since it is relatively easy to knock down pins and perhaps strike, it even draws kids, families, couples. The resulting atmosphere is an open, fun laugh and jump enjoyable experience.

Golf is another, and different example. Golf is an outdoor game where spectators and players can enjoy the outdoor environment without feeling inhibited or closed in.

Even if they don't perform well, wives and girlfriends are with their men enjoying a day outdoors. Further, they actually can get a feel of golf in another family type environment with mini-golf, which provides yet another form of exposure to the game.

All these exposures spark interest.

Baseball, while worlds apart from the previous examples, still attracts huge TV and novice involvement. Its both an outdoor game, a family event, and just about anyone can catch a ball in a glove (which is an addictive feeling) as well as swing a bat. You go to enough ball games, feel the breeze, enjoy the excitement in the atmosphere of the stadium, and anyone can get hooked on the sport.

Now take pool. It comes from a seedy past. It certainly is intimidating to walk into a pool room as well. You don't really have a great deal of "your own space" while playing. When I had my poolroom, it was obvious to see newcomers lost for a place to stand, what to hold, or how to act when it wasn't their turn. Newcomers are intimidated by the complexity of the game.

Newcomers often came in slightly larger groups also. Maybe, double dates trying it out. Perhaps for the extra moral support. They stood between tables holding the shaft of the sick with two hands, balancing on the butt end placed on the floor. When it was their turn, they were so uncomfortable that they were happy to wail at a shot quickly just to get back to trying to find a space to stand where no one would notice how badly they had just embarrassed themselves.

Now, add to that, the fact that playing the game itself,for the most part is very frustrating to a beginner. Nothing at all like the open fun feeling from bowling or even golf.

Did you ever try playing opposite handed? Try it, maybe while playing with your eyes closed, which is about the same as a newbie who has no idea where to hit the OB or CB. It won't be long before you get a feel for how most new to the game get christened. Nothing like bowling where they are knocking down pins right away.

How long would most of us play with a Rubic's Cube before we wanted to throw it through a window? It simply is more frustrating than fun. By its very nature and complexity it destroys it's own chances of motivating folks to continue to play.

Unlike miniature golf, the idea isn't to laugh and giggle amongst yourselves when the ball bounce off the Windmill. Rather, you stand there, uncomfortable, holding the stick, feeling people around you look at you like you don't have a clue what your are doing. Its just not a comfortable thing for most to do.

And these days you add to that, ridiculously loud intimidating garbage music and the atmosphere becomes even less appealing to neophytes. With so many other choices of things to do, its no wonder to me that pool is much less popular than other sports.

The only chance is to create better, friendlier atmospheres for people so they can be given half a chance at being comfortable playing.

I always thought a poolroom in an indoor shopping mall, well lit with lots of room and no off the wall ( I use the term loosely) music blaring, would offer a more inviting atmosphere. Maybe even a nice pizza area for folks to come in for a bite and a quick look at folks playing.
------------------------------------

But the very best chance pool has to gain popularity with this current generation is to turn it into an instant fad.

A few movies perhaps, maybe a dancing with the pool player reality show where the first prize is a new Iphone with auto texting features.

Kidding of course, but the point is, for the masses, as the quoted poster stated, the game is too difficult, and additionally, too frustrating and set in a too uncomfortable environment for the masses to take interest in.


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Times are changing my friend...
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Times are changing my friend... - 12-09-2013, 05:46 PM

Back in the day it paid to practice so you could win a wager instead of paying out. Today its all mouth how I beat that guy in my league match or whatever plus it don't help that we have probably the worst economic leadership in the world leading us down a path to socialism. Shooting good pool is like a business so you either win tournaments or wagers or else you starve. Most players are starving with very few living large. I personally know guys that would be in the top 50 nationwide yet quit playing cause they didn't like starving. Personally, my advice is to stay in school get a decent job and make pool a hobby-it sure beats starving!
  
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12-09-2013, 06:56 PM

The bowling reference puts it in perfect perspective...a novice can get almost instant gratification knocking down a few pins and getting a strike here and there... while in the pool room most novice players will not progress fast enough to make it fun...

The other issue I see is that the couples out on dates, the groups of high schoolers and a lot of the other people that wander into the pool hall are not really interested in pool they are just there to have somewhere to hang out...I still point at video games as a big part of the problem. Sad to say but for the most part we live in a lazy society that thrives on instant gratification...Its too easy for the youth of today to plug in the x-box and shoot each other on call of duty after school...Its action packed and they never have to leave the house...

I was once told that "nothing good in pool happens fast...you have to put your time in on the table before you will see the rewards"....


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12-09-2013, 07:04 PM

Discipline and positive thinking are key factors for playing pool well. Improve your focus and concentration. These two are too important in playing pool, as distraction is a big factor that can lead you to a poorly played game.
  
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12-09-2013, 07:07 PM

Pro pool is dying. Far as I know. League play is strong. Pool halls are suffering.

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12-11-2013, 07:26 AM

I think there is definitely something to what people have said comparing bowling to pool in terms of how it is for novices. I would also add that even little kids as young as 2 or 3 can go bowling with bumpers on the lanes. In pool a kid has to be what 10 or 12 before they are tall enough to reach shots on the table comfortably? In terms of comparing it to golf I think the pool learning curve is a lot longer, but much less steep than it is for golf. For example, my wife has never really played golf or pool but she can pick up a cue and with some basic pointers pocket a couple of balls here and there. If I tee up a golf ball she wouldn't even be able to make contact let alone get one airborne let alone hit it in the right direction.


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12-11-2013, 07:30 AM

Also, regarding people not playing pool because there is no money in the game. Yeah perhaps the lack of scholarships, collegiate competition, and ability to make money as a pro is a reason kids don't focus on it like other sports, but the truth is most of the people playing golf are playing it only for recreation just like those of us that are playing pool. In fact most people spend a lot more money on golf with never having the expectation of making a penny back from leagues or tournaments. Yet the game is still popular.


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12-11-2013, 07:40 AM

It's one of those things that looks harder than it is. "Hitting a little 3 mm patch from 8 feet away? No way."
They think you must have hawk eyes or be a master of geometry or something.

But really pool players have it easy.
Making a shot in basketball can seem almost as tough at first and it's demanding physically
to play with others. But anyone can step up and at least make a decent stab at sinking pool balls.

The guys who come in with buddies and bang balls and miss 95% of them,
I'm not sure they feel all that insecure about it, as long as their circle of friends is there
and failing just as badly. It's when one guy is obviously way below the others that
they can't have fun and start wondering what they need to buy to stop getting embarrassed.
  
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12-11-2013, 07:50 AM

pool has ALWAYS had the same level of difficulty yet it was popular before.....

Times have changed, pool hasnt changed
  
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12-11-2013, 08:22 AM

I find the irony humerous that there are many more "less accesible" sports that are way more popular with the masses. I doubt a large percentage of dedicated "fans" have ever truly played the sports they are fans of. Pool is a game that is easily accessible that anyone can play at any level. Sure it has probably one of the largest learning curves of any other game out there, but that's what makes it so great.

Either a person is going to "get it" within the first few seconds of even seeing a pool table or they aren't. Those that do are the types that would even consider being members here, and those that don't will stick with occasional recreational play for the rest of their lives.

The amount of dedication it takes to get competant at pool is not something that can ever be learned, taught, or forced. Hell even most league players don't like the game enough to actually improve at all. I know many APA "3's" that have been and will be forever that skill level. They just don't care.
  
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12-11-2013, 10:23 AM

I think video gaming and PC's in general are one of the biggest reasons young kids aren't getting into the game as much as they were in the past...
  
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