Deep Knowledge

MattPoland

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I think there’s a few things that come to mind.

1) There’s no knowledge to be passed down that can’t be earned on the table.

2) There’s nothing that can be earned solely by being told

3) A competitive circle is required to continuously show what’s possible and inspire you to accomplish the same (this may be family)

4) You can get great at very minute facets of the game by committing to the ideal that those facets can be mastered

5) Nobody is going to be the best in the world without starting their path to be a world beater at a very young age (something about brain development)

In other words, there is deep knowledge. It can be passed on through exposure and accomplishment but not passed on purely as information.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
 

sjm

Sweating it at Derby City
Silver Member
I think there’s a few things that come to mind.

1) There’s no knowledge to be passed down that can’t be earned on the table.

2) There’s nothing that can be earned solely by being told

3) A competitive circle is required to continuously show what’s possible and inspire you to accomplish the same (this may be family)

4) You can get great at very minute facets of the game by committing to the ideal that those facets can be mastered

5) Nobody is going to be the best in the world without starting their path to be a world beater at a very young age (something about brain development)

In other words, there is deep knowledge. It can be passed on through exposure and accomplishment but not passed on purely as information.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro

Wow, great post! Well reasoned and well presented.
 

Tin Man

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
I believe there is.

I'm sure there are many things about the game I don't know. To date whenever I spend time with a great player I pick something up. Sometimes it is a rare 'one off' situation like a one pocket move or a better way to kick. Dr. Dave's 2 kick video clarified a few adjustments I wasn't making correctly on that system and I am feeling more confident than ever. Other times there are serious boosts. I trained with Neight Mindham last weekend and while he came to train with me he showed me some things that immediately helped both my elevated shots as well as my power shots. This was black and white. I was able to consistently draw the ball two diamonds further than before, and I was able to get much further off the rail on shots down the rail with a flat angle. Jesse Engle and I talk often and I have picked up a lot of little things from him as well.

Meanwhile I have some understandings of pattern play that most players don't see. The more I teach the more I see it clearly and the better I get at explaining it. The general idea is that while there are many ways to move the cue ball from point A to point B, some are far easier to execute and far more consistent in terms of cue ball direction and speed. Those are my core shots. I've found a group of core shots that accommodate 95%+ of my needs in terms of cue ball transitions provided that I set my self up for them.

It's like when a beginner plays they shoot balls but don't play shape so have many hard shots. They'll never be consistent. But then they learn to play shape and the shots are easier to make. Well, I have a group of core shots that I lean on, and I play shape so that I ONLY use those shots to get through the rack. Now, this is super tough to do because it requires great cue ball positioning, but the great news is that because I always have easy shots with core shot transitions, I am usually confident about making my ball and I am using a shot that is really easy to control, so I am actually able to do this.

I've talked about this when I watch Ralf play. You hardly notice it because it just looks so natural and they aren't tricky shots. But I am super dialed in on this stuff right now. When you watch a player you can learn a lot about how they read the table. Their choices of whether to accept a difficult shot or risk moving the cue ball, whether they risk shooting hard to force the cue ball off the rail from a flat angle or whether they shoot the next shot half elevated, whether they risk getting hooked to get closer with a better angle or whether they lean on a stroke shot. Every decision tells you a ton about how that player weighs percentages. When I watch Ralf play I see what he is doing and what he is choosing not to do and what looks boring to so many players is mesmerizing to me. JL Chang as well.

So yes, learning which positional shots are the most consistent, learning the subtleties of those shots, and learning how to connect them to navigate through racks with minimum necessary force (keeping them as easy as possible) is my passion. I'm not the best in the world at it but I understand it. And when I watch anyone non-elite play they look silly. Just like a beginner that shoots the one ball then looks around to see where the two ball is looks silly to everyone here, I see people accepting and trying things so difficult in their run outs I ache in compassion for their struggles. But they've seen the videos and know the shots and on their best days they run tables so they think they know how to play. To them it's because they have a job, or lack talent, or they have poor fundamentals that they can't play more consistently. But they need to not just play shape for their next shot, but to play shape for their shape.

That rant over, I'll say I do wonder how much more I'm missing. I enjoy where I'm at and what I'm able to do at the table, but it's such a rich game I just love it when the pieces come together more and more clearly.
 

Charlie Hustle

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Corey Deuel def comes to mind. Even watching his matches today, I learn something that I've never would shoot at myself. And I've been playing for 20 years or so. If I recall correctly, he recently kicked into a cluster of 2 or 3 frozen balls playing 8 ball, and the way the ball reacted to the cluster, it shot straight into the side pocket. I would have never seen that ball reacting the way it did. Now this may not be deep knowledge for most advanced players, but lets just put it this way, you don't see too many guys, if not very few shooting shots like that.
 

lfigueroa

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Some really great, well thought out posts -- thank you to all.

So yes, I believe there's much deep knowledge out there. That's why Earl can describe a certain technique that a player will use on an up coming shot, or why a 14.1 or 1pocket specialist can accurately predict what the player will select to do when there are multiple choices but really only one correct choice.

Many years ago I was hanging out with JoeyA and he set up a particular shot and showed me something that a pro, who shall remain nameless (BH), showed him with the caveat of not spreading it around. And I was surprised because the answer to the question, "How would you choose to shoot this shot?" wasn't obvious but once shown and explained, one way was clearly preferable to the other.

I also believe there are techniques that fall under the category of "deep knowledge" because they are not self-evident and are only learned after literally years spent on the table with a keen eye and a lot of self-awareness.

So what I think this means is that if you have access to an actual or potential mentor you should try to become a student, if you trust what they might have to share. And maybe that topic is best for a separate thread.

Lou Figueroa
 

The_JV

Local_Pro
What exactly qualifies as "deep knowledge"..?

When I first started reading the thread, the first things that popped to mind were those shots that the vast majority don't consider for their arsenal. Like flattening out a cut by throwing the OB with inside, or hopping the edge of a obstruction with the OB by jacking up on the cueball.... things of that nature. ...But then that's not really deep knowledge if you're exposed to those shots early on I suppose.

I believe deep knowledge exists but in imo it is solely in the realm of shot selection and/or pattern play. I'd also venture to say that that the deepest part of it is in safety play. Usually this is the last aspect of the game that people embrace. I'll include the "two way" shots mentioned early in this category.
 

xradarx

Radar is the name, billiards is the game
Silver Member
Deep knowledge is an in-depth conversation and not for those in a hurry. One might pick up a tidbit here and there from posted articles and commit it to memory for recall when necessary. It is usually for sale in some form or fashion in the market place. To place it openly in a forum, would likely be seen as plagiarism.
 

sjm

Sweating it at Derby City
Silver Member
I believe there is.

I'm sure there are many things about the game I don't know. To date whenever I spend time with a great player I pick something up. Sometimes it is a rare 'one off' situation like a one pocket move or a better way to kick. Dr. Dave's 2 kick video clarified a few adjustments I wasn't making correctly on that system and I am feeling more confident than ever. Other times there are serious boosts. I trained with Neight Mindham last weekend and while he came to train with me he showed me some things that immediately helped both my elevated shots as well as my power shots. This was black and white. I was able to consistently draw the ball two diamonds further than before, and I was able to get much further off the rail on shots down the rail with a flat angle. Jesse Engle and I talk often and I have picked up a lot of little things from him as well.

Meanwhile I have some understandings of pattern play that most players don't see. The more I teach the more I see it clearly and the better I get at explaining it. The general idea is that while there are many ways to move the cue ball from point A to point B, some are far easier to execute and far more consistent in terms of cue ball direction and speed. Those are my core shots. I've found a group of core shots that accommodate 95%+ of my needs in terms of cue ball transitions provided that I set my self up for them.

It's like when a beginner plays they shoot balls but don't play shape so have many hard shots. They'll never be consistent. But then they learn to play shape and the shots are easier to make. Well, I have a group of core shots that I lean on, and I play shape so that I ONLY use those shots to get through the rack. Now, this is super tough to do because it requires great cue ball positioning, but the great news is that because I always have easy shots with core shot transitions, I am usually confident about making my ball and I am using a shot that is really easy to control, so I am actually able to do this.

I've talked about this when I watch Ralf play. You hardly notice it because it just looks so natural and they aren't tricky shots. But I am super dialed in on this stuff right now. When you watch a player you can learn a lot about how they read the table. Their choices of whether to accept a difficult shot or risk moving the cue ball, whether they risk shooting hard to force the cue ball off the rail from a flat angle or whether they shoot the next shot half elevated, whether they risk getting hooked to get closer with a better angle or whether they lean on a stroke shot. Every decision tells you a ton about how that player weighs percentages. When I watch Ralf play I see what he is doing and what he is choosing not to do and what looks boring to so many players is mesmerizing to me. JL Chang as well.

So yes, learning which positional shots are the most consistent, learning the subtleties of those shots, and learning how to connect them to navigate through racks with minimum necessary force (keeping them as easy as possible) is my passion. I'm not the best in the world at it but I understand it. And when I watch anyone non-elite play they look silly. Just like a beginner that shoots the one ball then looks around to see where the two ball is looks silly to everyone here, I see people accepting and trying things so difficult in their run outs I ache in compassion for their struggles. But they've seen the videos and know the shots and on their best days they run tables so they think they know how to play. To them it's because they have a job, or lack talent, or they have poor fundamentals that they can't play more consistently. But they need to not just play shape for their next shot, but to play shape for their shape.

That rant over, I'll say I do wonder how much more I'm missing. I enjoy where I'm at and what I'm able to do at the table, but it's such a rich game I just love it when the pieces come together more and more clearly.

Nice post encapsulating that the deep knowledge is out there but that you have to make a special effort over a long period of time, paying more attention to the details of shot design than all but a few ever have if you expect to attain much of it.

When it comes to the shot planning process in pool, keeping it simple, one gradually comes to realize, actually is stupid. The most insightful players, as you wisely point out with regard to Ralf Souquet, only look like they are keeping it simple, but there are more ingredients in their decision making processes than meets the eye.

As you suggest, watching the masters is your best shot, but you have to have the passion to study and review all aspects of how they go about their business. To your credit, you have it, and that's why your comprehension of the game's finest points continues to develop so impressively.
 

Black-Balled

He Rides the Skies
Silver Member
I don’t think he was talking about new knowledge. I think he was talking about hidden secrets passed on from master to apprentice over the ages. Like the dragon scroll in Kung Fu Panda.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
I think he was talking about if I actuall knew the fantastic shot I claimed to.

It was a brilliant post, any way you look at it.
 

ShootingArts

Smorg is giving St Peter the 7!
Gold Member
Silver Member
mostly comes the hard way

There is certainly deep knowledge. Technology on an advanced enough level appears to be magic. No accident we call Efren the Magician! He has intensely studied the game for over forty years. Even when his eyes were rotten he continued to be the best in the world. Age seemed not to affect him until he finally decided it was time to relax.

Many of the full time players of yesteryear treasured every bit of deep knowledge and hoarded it or shared with a precious few. An impossible shot in hot or very humid weather becomes possible in cold dry weather.

Often the deep knowledge has little application. I chewed up road players on my home turf. I had noticed my game was a little off there after a couple months. Studying why, I finally realized it was the light. The light from one side of the tables was almost as strong as from the top. This made the balls appear to be very slightly to one side of where they were, maybe a sixteenth of an inch or less. This didn't matter on most shots on a bar table. However, those really tough shots that only a tough road player or shortstop or better attempts, these the lighting could cause you to miss. I damned sure didn't explain the lighting to strangers!

Every time I step into a strange place I read things most people never consider. Where are the doors compared to the table? Lighting? AC and heat vents? A kitchen or something else to affect conditions? A favorite trap at Buffalo's old place was a table that the old air conditioning system blew on 24-7 in the summer. One-half of each end rail was harder than the other half and the long rails on one side of the table were harder than those on the other side. One pocket anyone?

People often think that something they have discovered for themselves is a secret. Much more often than not, it is just something they didn't know. I have been sworn to secrecy and told things that have been in books for decades!

Most of the secrets are stored in the hand, eye, and brain of the player and telling won't help. Teaching might. I have been given a few secrets over the years. I didn't really understand, I tried it anyway, it worked!

Anyone that doesn't think that there is deep knowledge needs to get Ray Martin's book 99 shots. It is a dated old book but throughout he drops the kind of pool knowledge that is deep knowledge, you don't know it unless you do. You won't read these things in the average how to book. Ray probably has hundreds more of these secrets, most that he never thinks about until he needs them.

I usually "steal" a few balls a session shooting shots the other person didn't see. I wouldn't call it deep knowledge to look for and execute these shots but I suspect the people blindsided with these shots would!

Hu
 

goettlicher

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Do you believe there is such a thing as "deep knowledge" when it comes to pool?

I mean, stuff not found in books or generally discussed? Certainly not the science. More like the knowledge that great players come to learn after years of study, practice and experimentation, hand down from father to son, hoard, maybe occasionally share amongst themselves, and eventually take to their graves.

What say you?

Lou Figueroa



YES!

randyg
 

gogg

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
And I might add that from over here in the “shallow end” of the pool, an awful lot of “routine” shots that better players make, make them seem like they rose from the deep depths like Neptune to smite your effrontery down!
 

Ratta

Hearing the balls.....
Silver Member
In 2020 we have so much information available to help you play poolbetter. Books, DVD's Instructors, Learnig AIDS, and even U-Tube that is almost free.

Problem is even with all this information people hate to practice, people hate the word work. People want some gizmo that will turn them into a world class player without practicing, or working on build their skills.

Truth is most people who are in the top teer of any sports, if you see how they got to be great, or best at something. Most worked real hard to achieve the high level, or greatness.

Sorry people there is no Magic Pill you can take every a.m., between 6-7 am to make you a great at,___________________ fill in the blank.:D


JMHO.



Tap Tap Tap :)
Agree 100% mate.
 

jay helfert

Shoot Pool, not people
Gold Member
Silver Member
I think there may be almost as much deep knowledge as there is common knowledge. Even at the pro level, there are big gaps in the quality of shot design, and those with the deep knowledge have an advantage that surfaces several times in a typical match.

Sometimes, deep knowledge utilized is barely even noticed by either viewers or commentators. For example, certain types of two way shots seem to be the sole domain of the Filipino contingent, and the rest of the world hasn't caught up yet. Such shots are a good example of using deep knowledge in an innovative way.

There is also a lot of deep knowledge that pertains to the kicking game --- subtleties in the use of spin speed and angle to open up some additional possible good results.

Giving oneself subtle extra chances through extraordinary shot design is one of the trademarks of the elite few, and it's a consequence of superior deep knowledge, a comprehension of the game that exceeds anything ever written about the game. In the case of Efren, we called such shots "magic", but he's hardly the only one that saw extra chances by applying deep knowledge of everything going on at the pool table.

In my view, deep knowledge applies to practically every game played on a pool table.

I feel a 1,000 page book could be written called "pool theory that has never been documented in the game's history."

Most definitely on track here. There is a level of knowledge that the top pros have (in different degrees) that helps them to win matches. It's not all about shooting balls and playing safeties though. It has to do with other attributes that tilt things in your favor. It can be as simple as a timely word or two shared with your opponent or as complicated as where you lay your chalk/magic rack down and which way you walk after leaving or coming to the table. When to take a break and when to ask for the referee and when to talk to your opponent can also come into play during the course of a tight match.

I wouldn't exactly call it sharking to try to get into your opponents head, but I've seen all of the above take place and a whole lot more. Let's just say that there are things seasoned tournament players learn over the years that can benefit them in winning a match.

Yes, match strategy is very important as well and the best players know when to step on the gas and when to back off a little, as far as playing aggressively. If you can keep your opponent off guard as to what he/she can expect from you, that is gaining an advantage as well. There are definitely secrets that the best players are all aware of and they won't share them with anyone else.

Some of the best I know of at using this subtle knowledge are Corey, Rodney and Mika.

Shooting Arts touched on some other things that top players all understand as well. That is how to deal with changes in lighting and humidity, and what shots are doable on different tables (cloth, rails, Diamond, Gold Crown etc.). And of course the very best players have a greater knowledge/repertoire of pool shots to draw from. To this day I see pro players overlook obvious shots because they don't understand what is possible with the layout they are confronted with. Knowing how the balls interact with each other is critical when they are bunched together. This is where Buddy was the past master and Efren took it to another level.
 
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Geosnooker

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
If there is such a thing as "deep knowledge", maybe describing/understanding it "scientifically" would actually limit its power - like observing something makes it "resolve" to one of multiple possibilities in quantum theory.

pj
chgo

As a geophysicist I’m quite impressed by this answer. I salute you.

My answer to question in an emphatic ‘no’. Some ‘deep‘ knowledge would be based on physics. Billiards isn’t magic...it’s based on the physical properties of the Universe: Quantum mechanics and General Relativity.

Some individuals, like an Idiot savant, have alternate perception of Reality and can use his for special performance in one area. However, they don’t have the skills to present this as ‘knowledge’ to be shared.. They are often child prodigies in some field...math, music, chess, etc.

The best billiards player ever is Ronnie OSullivan and he was one of these child prodigies. Not in the extreme, but the Rocket Isn’t exactly gifted in social skills and dropped out of school. He couldn’t do math but somehow uses applied math every time at the table. Actually, my observation is that he is using Calculus without even knowing what Calculus is.

OSullivan is the only Billiards player that puts English ( spin)’ on 100% of His shots. My thought is OSullivsn doesn’t view hitting the balls using geometry but rather a series of subjective functions as when doing calculus. He’s not processing any numbers it’s all instinctual to him.

However, Ronnie doesn’t have ‘ Secret knowledge’ to share. He can’t explain how he makes many of the shots he does. If one was to interview the top 16 ranked players, he’s the one you’d come away with learning the least. He would need to ‘show’ what he does. Just to emphasize, the Rocket isn’t deficient or weird in any extreme. He just sees billiards differently. Perhaps, Strickland, although not the same as OSullivan, also sees the table differently...and also has a limited ouch of idiot savant‘ in him.
 
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alphadog

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Lou your ? relates to the recent example of Earl describing a execution of a draw shot that got multiple interpretations.

I had a great 3c player show me how to execute a dbl the cushion shot. His explanation was wrong but the technique was right and I still benefit from it often.
 

Patrick Johnson

Fish of the Day
Silver Member
If there is such a thing as "deep knowledge", maybe describing/understanding it "scientifically" would actually limit its power - like observing something makes it "resolve" to one of multiple possibilities in quantum theory.
As a geophysicist I’m quite impressed by this answer. I salute you.
Aw, shucks. Maybe it makes up for one of the dumb things I've said.

...Ronnie OSullivan ... can’t explain how he makes many of the shots he does.
Then I'm in good company. I'm pretty analytical about my pool game, paying attention to details, learning physics and techniques, and applying as much knowledge as possible to each shot. Yet on each shot there comes a moment when I have to trust my hard-earned "instinct" to tell me when I'm lined up and hitting the CB correctly. It still amazes me that I can do it at all.

pj
chgo
 
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lfigueroa

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
As a geophysicist I’m quite impressed by this answer. I salute you.

My answer to question in an emphatic ‘no’. Some ‘deep‘ knowledge would be based on physics. Billiards isn’t magic...it’s based on the physical properties of the Universe: Quantum mechanics and General Relativity.

Some individuals, like an Idiot savant, have alternate perception of Reality and can use his for special performance in one area. However, they don’t have the skills to present this as ‘knowledge’ to be shared.. They are often child prodigies in some field...math, music, chess, etc.

The best billiards player ever is Ronnie OSullivan and he was one of these child prodigies. Not in the extreme, but the Rocket Isn’t exactly gifted in social skills and dropped out of school. He couldn’t do math but somehow uses applied math every time at the table. Actually, my observation is that he is using Calculus without even knowing what Calculus is.

OSullivan is the only Billiards player that puts English ( spin)’ on 100% of His shots. My thought is OSullivsn doesn’t view hitting the balls using geometry but rather a series of subjective functions as when doing calculus. He’s not processing any numbers it’s all instinctual to him.

However, Ronnie doesn’t have ‘ Secret knowledge’ to share. He can’t explain how he makes many of the shots he does. If one was to interview the top 16 ranked players, he’s the one you’d come away with learning the least. He would need to ‘show’ what he does. Just to emphasize, the Rocket isn’t deficient or weird in any extreme. He just sees billiards differently. Perhaps, Strickland, although not the same as OSullivan, also sees the table differently...and also has a limited ouch of idiot savant‘ in him.


Many activities, such as pool, are as much art as they are science.

Yes, the round objects and the flat surface are subject to the laws of physics. But then come the variables such as cloth, cushions, pockets, conditions (such as humidity), the idiosyncratic physical mechanics of the player, and the mental gymnastics he is able to accomplish with varying degrees of composure under different circumstances.

That is not to forget tactics and strategies that can be deployed with great variety, timing, and aplomb. In his book on Louie Roberts, MO writes about being put in an incredibly difficult 1pocket table position by his opponent, Big Jake. And then it comes to him. He rolls the CB to a spot where Big Jake is jacked up over a ball AND belly hooked. Just a little facetiously: if having awareness of your opponent's girth and that a particular CB position will turn the worm because of the size of his gut ain't deep knowledge, then I don't know what is, lol.

Lou Figueroa
 
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