Developing Expertise In Pool

Imac007

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
As players strive to get better they focus on the fundamentals, but is that the path to being an expert? They say elite athlete’s advancement lies in their ability to make finer and finer distinctions. Skiers learn to differentiate between types of snow, current weather effects, how packed it is and then minute shifts in the edges and placement of weight on the skis to make high speed adjustments. Where most race car drivers focus on the 3 basic parts of a turn, entry, apex and exit, and think 2 corners ahead, world renowned driver, Jackie Stewart, when tested, focused only on the current turn, it’s details and his descriptions and fMRI results showed he segmented turns into 8 parts. He knew the devil was in the details. Breaking down the skill into minute awareness bits allowed him to find the small ways he could gain time on his opponents. When tested he didn’t show better reaction time than other drivers. He learned where to focus to get his edge.

The question players, who want to take their game to the next level, need to ask themselves is "what part of what I’m doing can give me an incremental advantage."

What do you think is the primary area, of finer distinctions, that most likely will lead to expertise in pool?
 

Imac007

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Mental focus above all

On what? How would you know if you did it? Is it an inner cognitive thing? Or, is it outwards onto part of the execution like Jackie Stewart? How would you measure it? Please be more specific, there are tons of generalities out there like HAMB.
 

Texas Carom Club

play 1cushion & balkline
Silver Member
On what? How would you know if you did it? Is it an inner cognitive thing? Or, is it outwards onto part of the execution like Jackie Stewart? How would you measure it? Please be more specific, there are tons of generalities out there like HAMB.

Id know if i did when the shot goes and i win?
 

Imac007

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
When Greg Louganis was posting perfect dives at the Olympics, one of the commentators said the key to his success, was his perfect positioning at the top of the dive. Years later writing about his success, Louganis said his key was to be able to get into a great entry position from all the wrong places at the top.

"Octavio Antonio Fernández Castro (born June 30, 1962), better known as Tony Fernández, is a former Dominican Major League Baseball player most noted for his defensive skills, setting a nine-year record for shortstops with a .992 fielding percentage in 1989,[1] and a still active single-season fielding percentage record for third basemen with .991 in 1994. From Wikipedia."

Tony said that during his days as a child learning to field he set up a target to throw to. He then threw a ball against a wall and fielded the rebound. Whatever position the dive for the ball put him in his objective was to do it so that he could still throw the ball on target. He learned to throw the ball from all the bad positions he could find himself in. The standard training of infield positions involves fielding position, transitioning to throwing position while transferring the ball from glove to hand to execute. Trying to go through those base fundamentals takes time, time fielders often can’t afford.
Situations dictate needed tools.

Base fundamentals are primarily theoretical models. The reality of play on the table is about obstacle navigation, cueing from all the wrong positions. Navigating the environment, both the inner mental one and/or the potentially distracting outer one, it’s part of the imperfections (wrong positions), we find ourselves having to perform out of.

Where is a place in the pool game that being able to navigate more successfully is going to bring us expertise?
 
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9 Ball Fan

Darth Maximus
Silver Member
Here's the secret: Work on pocketing the object ball, without scratching; while at the same time getting shape to pocket the next object ball.
 

Imac007

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Here's the secret: Work on pocketing the object ball, without scratching; while at the same time getting shape to pocket the next object ball.

Actually the secret to success has two parts which I will share with you now

1. Never divulge everything you know.....
 

Bob Jewett

AZB Osmium Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
... The reality of play on the table is about obstacle navigation, cueing from all the wrong positions. ...
Without doing a study, I'd say that fewer than 1 in 10 shots requires something other than the top three bridges: hand on the table, bridging on the rail, using the mechanical bridge. Do you think it is higher?
 

Bob Jewett

AZB Osmium Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
Pool is all about execution, imo.

I keel ya.
It helps if the player knows what's actually possible. I've seen lots of impossible shots attempted, usually in what they are trying to do with the cue ball. Like shots Efren couldn't make.
 

Michael Andros

tiny balls, GIANT pockets
Silver Member
Without trying to seem accusatory, I'll say you're waaayyyyyyy overthinking this. If you're just starting this game, you need to play. And then play. Then play more... and then more.

And watch great players. In person, if possible. On Youtube if not. And if in person, even if they're not world-beaters ( like most at your local poolroom ), if they're *good* players, ask questions. All they can do is tell you to take a hike. Most will probably answer your questions.

And don't forget to play.

And play some more.

And then more...
 
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Imac007

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Obstacle navigation misunderstanding

Without doing a study, I'd say that fewer than 1 in 10 shots requires something other than the top three bridges: hand on the table, bridging on the rail, using the mechanical bridge. Do you think it is higher?

I was just trying to make the point that not every shot is under ideal conditions. We get too close to the rail. We don’t always navigate around the balls and hook ourselves or create cueing problems. The best players also face those problems but most of the time regroup and make the shot or safety. The same with position. Getting dead straight by under or over cueing can turn an otherwise simple run out into a problem.

I’m trying to mine the minds of players trying to get better for a sense of what they feel would take them to the next level. The finer and finer distinctions is just one idea. A skier could make finer distinctions between the different feel of the air on his face with different turns but you can bet he won’t get better from getting in touch with those differences. The differences that make a difference was the discussion I was hoping would occur. Instead I got platitudes Instead of something thoughtful. Thanks for your response it shows that you gave a part some thought.

I’m beginning to think that most players have no idea what they need to do to get better. They think hitting more balls is the answer. There is nothing specific that they can build a plan around. This platform seems an ideal place for them to share ideas and help find the nuggets that help players. I personally think that what players need is usually different at different times. The development of a players game benefits from what is most relevant for them at the stage they are at. This forum should help connect players with what resonates with their current game. Teaching a beginner the intricacies of massè is an example of a mismatch.

There is no right or wrong answer only twists and turns on the journey to a better game.

Few want to share. I will continue to share, but I’d like to find kindred travelers on the same road.
 
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Imac007

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Unconscious incompetence
Conscious incompetence
Conscious competence
Unconscious competence

I agree with those as the stages of learning and development. They can be applied to any skill or part of a skill. Management when practicing and competing during the playing season is important to understand. When we work on something we do two things. We need to bring the skill we are working on into consciousness. That singular focus exaggerates whatever is being worked on, in importance. Any undue focus can take attention away from other possibly important details. Competition preparation needs to have focus move to stage 4. That outward focus on bringing your best unconscious game to the table and keeping focused outward onto achieving outcomes is paramount. Keeping inward focused technique thoughts away from the competition can be difficult. It’s a matter of trusting that over all, practice will improve your game, and that you just must allow the unconscious game to emerge. That can be a struggle as recent work and thought processes fight for attention. You need triggers in place to kickstart your competition mindset.

The unconscious mind executes the shot but the conscious mind keeps us engaged with the uniqueness of each shot. That’s the paradox. The physical action needs to be unconsciously performed but the conscious mind notes the subtle differences and keys in engaging the player in the process.

Thanks for sharing. There will be plenty of players who can benefit by exploring that avenue. Do you have any specific skills you think they should work on to take to the unconscious competence level?
 
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one stroke

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
The fact is above all bar none is solid mechanics I don’t care how good your mental concentration game is you got no chance of reaching any higher level with out that first it’s like putting the cart in front of the horse period
After that has been established it breeds confidence and that brings success then you build on that

1
 

Imac007

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
The fact is above all bar none is solid mechanics I don’t care how good your mental concentration game is you got no chance of reaching any higher level with out that first it’s like putting the cart in front of the horse period
After that has been established it breeds confidence and that brings success then you build on that

1
That is true from the standpoint of those who don’t have sound mechanics. But you can’t be a one trick pony pocketing balls from everywhere. That catches up with those who try. Anyone who can pocket everything and has tamed whitey has already learned the differences that make a difference in their game. It sounds like you are dismissing the mental game as a skill to be worked on. Why is it so far down on your importance list? Isn’t that what truly separates the top players? Don’t they all have solid mechanics? Something separates them. Poise, superior strategy, patience all act as separators sifting out the winners. Give us your set of skills that separate the best. The difference that makes a difference.
 
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evergruven

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
I was just trying to make the point that not every shot is under ideal conditions. We get too close to the rail. We don’t always navigate around the balls and hook ourselves or create cueing problems. The best players also face those problems but most of the time regroup and make the shot. The same with position. Getting dead straight by under or over cueing can turn an otherwise simple run out into a problem.

I’m trying to mine the minds of players trying to get better for a sense of what they feel would take them to the next level. The finer and finer distinctions is just one idea. A skier could make finer distinctions between the different feel of the air on his face with different turns but you can bet he won’t get better from getting in touch with those differences. The differences that make a difference was the discussion I was hoping would occur. Instead I got platitudes Instead of something thoughtful. Thanks for your response it shows that you gave a part some thought.

I’m beginning to think that most players have no idea what they need to do to get better. They think hitting more balls is the answer. There is nothing specific that they can build a plan around. This platform seems an ideal place for them to share ideas and help find the nuggets that help players. I personally think that what players need is usually different at different times. The development of a players game benefits from what is most relevant for them at the stage they are at. This forum should help connect players with what resonates with their current game. Teaching a beginner the intricacies of massè is an example of a mismatch.

There is no right or wrong answer only twist and turn on the journey to a better game.

Few want to share. I will continue to share, but I’d like to find kindred travelers on the same road.

hey, you're the one that said "never divulge everything you know" :p
for real, I admire that you're reaching, digging for more..
I think there is a lot of both magic and science in hitting more balls, much we learn conscious and subconsciously.
and then of course, we can parse that down to drills, targeting strengths and weaknesses,
putting ourselves in positions to be challenged, giving ourselves opportunities to fail, and succeed.
I think before we consider efficacy, we should think first about priorities.
everybody says they want to improve, be better than they were the day before,
but this is a relative statement.
do you want to beat your bar, beat your city, beat your country?
do you just want to get to a place where you "feel good" about your game?
how "serious" are you about improving? how dedicated? how disciplined?
tcc had a point above, to the effect of "just put the balls in the hole"- there is wisdom there.
"keep it simple" can be a valuable approach, and if you want it bad enough,
and put a little work in, I think things are more likely to go your way,
things you might not even realize or have thought about..
those little things you allude to. they're there, but there's a lot to be said for doubling down on one's strengths,
spending time on what comes naturally, what we find easy to control,
and letting the rest fall into place.
the mind is crucial, but we must let it breathe. we must breathe.
time and space are also important..what if you don't have a table? too far to the bar?
what if you do have a table, but are up to your neck in it?
can you get better at pool without hitting a ball?
yes, yes you can...
 
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