Instructors

chas1022

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I would like to ask the instructors on here what is the 3 things that most pool players need to work on?
 

Bob Jewett

AZB Osmium Member
Silver Member
Their fundamentals, their mechanics and the basics. You need to remember that most pool players are incapable of running a whole rack. Some students will ask about pattern play when they can't draw the ball at all. It's hard to build patterns when you have no tools. I think if you watch any typical league night, you'll come to the same conclusion, and the lower-level league players are actually above average of all people who play pool.

If you mean more advanced players, it is often still fundamentals.
 

mikemosconi

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Just what Bob said. when teaching this game, you can forget about every other aspect until the entire foundation of shot approach, alignment, bridge, grip, stroke, and post shot routine are completely understood and able to be executed consistently. When you learn the game by just starting to pocket balls, you are on your way to giving up on the game or spending a lifetime trying to figure out what went wrong with your game- unless you never hold a job and just spend 2,000 hours a year in a pool room to make up for your actual lack of the correct fundamentals.

I think that you can throw out every book ever written on how to play pool correctly, until you FIRST master Mark Wilson's "Play Great Pool" book.
 

Quesports

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Their fundamentals, their mechanics and the basics. You need to remember that most pool players are incapable of running a whole rack. Some students will ask about pattern play when they can't draw the ball at all. It's hard to build patterns when you have no tools. I think if you watch any typical league night, you'll come to the same conclusion, and the lower-level league players are actually above average of all people who play pool.

If you mean more advanced players, it is often still fundamentals.
Bob nailed it ! 123...
 

Tin Man

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
The only answer is that it depends on what level we're talking about.

If someone started today they would need to work on holding the cue, making a bridge, and learning the basics of ghost ball aim.

If we're talking about a 620 Fargo Rated player who has solid fundamentals, knows all the shots, has days where they play nearly perfect and can win sets off tough players but not win entire tournaments, who has read all the books, seen the videos, and taken a lesson or two before, who practices on their home table, and who hasn't seen improvement for 5 years or more...well, then you have a different answer. For people to respond as if there is a universal answer shows a profound lack of understanding. There are many people trapped at the 600 FR level that have very solid fundamentals and have hurt their game by obsessing about them for years and hurting their confidence.

In short it is player specific. In my experience people first have to learn basics and get comfortable bridging, stroking, and pocketing balls. Then they have to learn the vertical axis (wagon wheel stuff, playing stun lines at different speeds, etc). Then they have to learn the horizontal axis. Then they learn pattern basics. Then they have to generate more opportunities by improving their break, shot-making (with different speeds and spins), and kicking. This should take them to 600.

From there it is usually about fine tuning a few things. It doesn't take much in any one area to go from 600 to 700. But you have to make fine tune improvements in all areas: Fundamentals (stroke, pre-shot routine and eye patterns in particular), shot making, cue ball position (tip accuracy, side spin usage, hitting points on 2-3rd rail with correct speed), and patterns (more than 'play two balls ahead' or 'be on the right side of the ball' or 'play with the shot line'). A very small increase in each of these areas will double someone's game. 600-700 is doubling your game. A cube that goes from 8x8x8 to 10x10x10 doubles in volume. That's what I'm talking about.

And that's what I teach. No magic bullet that will change everything. And I can't do anything for people that aren't willing to put in work, time at the table, competition, tournaments, sparring, practice, etc. I can't give someone something for nothing any more than you could get rich calling a financial planner and telling them to help you invest $0. I need a budget to work with. More than you've given in the past. So if you don't have a budget or aren't hungry for improvement I wouldn't be a good fit. If you're happy with your current trajectory or bought in on excuses about not having time/talent, wanting to believe in your helplessness regarding the situation to help cope with the disappointment of not achieving your pool goals, well, I'm the last guy to ask. But if you aren't satisfied with your current trajectory and are serious about digging deep to make an improvement that will allow you to see serious forward movement then I can help. I give people a roadmap from 600 to 700 and beyond. I can make sure your investment of time, money, and effort are put into the exact areas to see actual results. I don't do drills to post on Facebook or to feel like I'm making progress. I am focused, targeted, and effective. If it's not getting results you're not on the right road, period.
 

dardusm

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Develop a repeatable stroking motion is #1. It's the basis for everything from shot making, speed control, cue ball control, etc.
 

justnum

TesticularCancer Survivor
Silver Member
having fun playing solo

being courteous and social with pool players at events

getting to know the existing roster of top men and women pros.

Does anyone actually think they can show a hall of famer a new shot?
 

mikemosconi

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
The only answer is that it depends on what level we're talking about.

If someone started today they would need to work on holding the cue, making a bridge, and learning the basics of ghost ball aim.

If we're talking about a 620 Fargo Rated player who has solid fundamentals, knows all the shots, has days where they play nearly perfect and can win sets off tough players but not win entire tournaments, who has read all the books, seen the videos, and taken a lesson or two before, who practices on their home table, and who hasn't seen improvement for 5 years or more...well, then you have a different answer. For people to respond as if there is a universal answer shows a profound lack of understanding. There are many people trapped at the 600 FR level that have very solid fundamentals and have hurt their game by obsessing about them for years and hurting their confidence.

In short it is player specific. In my experience people first have to learn basics and get comfortable bridging, stroking, and pocketing balls. Then they have to learn the vertical axis (wagon wheel stuff, playing stun lines at different speeds, etc). Then they have to learn the horizontal axis. Then they learn pattern basics. Then they have to generate more opportunities by improving their break, shot-making (with different speeds and spins), and kicking. This should take them to 600.

From there it is usually about fine tuning a few things. It doesn't take much in any one area to go from 600 to 700. But you have to make fine tune improvements in all areas: Fundamentals (stroke, pre-shot routine and eye patterns in particular), shot making, cue ball position (tip accuracy, side spin usage, hitting points on 2-3rd rail with correct speed), and patterns (more than 'play two balls ahead' or 'be on the right side of the ball' or 'play with the shot line'). A very small increase in each of these areas will double someone's game. 600-700 is doubling your game. A cube that goes from 8x8x8 to 10x10x10 doubles in volume. That's what I'm talking about.

And that's what I teach. No magic bullet that will change everything. And I can't do anything for people that aren't willing to put in work, time at the table, competition, tournaments, sparring, practice, etc. I can't give someone something for nothing any more than you could get rich calling a financial planner and telling them to help you invest $0. I need a budget to work with. More than you've given in the past. So if you don't have a budget or aren't hungry for improvement I wouldn't be a good fit. If you're happy with your current trajectory or bought in on excuses about not having time/talent, wanting to believe in your helplessness regarding the situation to help cope with the disappointment of not achieving your pool goals, well, I'm the last guy to ask. But if you aren't satisfied with your current trajectory and are serious about digging deep to make an improvement that will allow you to see serious forward movement then I can help. I give people a roadmap from 600 to 700 and beyond. I can make sure your investment of time, money, and effort are put into the exact areas to see actual results. I don't do drills to post on Facebook or to feel like I'm making progress. I am focused, targeted, and effective. If it's not getting results you're not on the right road, period.
He said "most pool players" - THAT was the question! 620 rated players are Not Most pool players. I think that we, who replied that the answer is going back to the fundamentals; certainly know what we are talking about. MOST pool players here in the U.S.A. have poor fundamentals and they will never improve to any significant degree with instruction that glosses over that fact in order to teach either ball pocketing or cue ball movement when that person really does not how to handle the cue stick to begin with.

I have taken lessons from pros who never even knew how to analyze a stroke, those types of lessons are all patchwork at best. I think that folks really in the know about teaching pool properly realize that most players need to go back to ground zero, and rebuild starting with sighting the shot while standing and then understanding every aspect of properly completing the entire shot sequence until the cue ball is well on its way to the next desired position. This process is NOT a quick fix, it is not a one day lesson process, it involves time, dedication, and constant review and feedback from both a video standpoint and a knowledgeable person standpoint.
 

Tin Man

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
He said "most pool players" - THAT was the question! 620 rated players are Not Most pool players. I think that we, who replied that the answer is going back to the fundamentals; certainly know what we are talking about. MOST pool players here in the U.S.A. have poor fundamentals and they will never improve to any significant degree with instruction that glosses over that fact in order to teach either ball pocketing or cue ball movement when that person really does not how to handle the cue stick to begin with.

I have taken lessons from pros who never even knew how to analyze a stroke, those types of lessons are all patchwork at best. I think that folks really in the know about teaching pool properly realize that most players need to go back to ground zero, and rebuild starting with sighting the shot while standing and then understanding every aspect of properly completing the entire shot sequence until the cue ball is well on its way to the next desired position. This process is NOT a quick fix, it is not a one day lesson process, it involves time, dedication, and constant review and feedback from both a video standpoint and a knowledgeable person standpoint.
I read the question. My point was it’s like asking “What do most people who go to the doctor need to get better?” I agree most people have a common cold than cancer, but I believe all good diagnosis start with a good consult.


That said, if I had to give an answer blindly that would hit any and all levels of players, I’d say to improve ball pocketing. That answer is fairly useless by itself but anything else is further off course.
 

mikemosconi

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I'm not an instructor, but I'm going with developing a) good stroke fundamentals, b) sound angle management practices, and c) refined speed control.
Yes, this would be it for me too- getting the balls in the pockets is a direct result of doing all three of these correctly & consistently. It all starts with good stroke fundamentals which is a process with many facets from beginning to end. When almost every professional sports person goes into a slump- the very best instructors first go back to looking for any flaws that crept into the fundamentals.
 

tim913

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I watched a league player showing a lower level player how to play. He was actually telling his 'student', "if you have to cut the OB to the left use right hand english!" Then he placed the OB at one end of table with the CB about a foot away and made the shot drawing the CB to the other end of table using a whole lot of power and body contortions. He saw me watching and ask me if I thought I could do that, and I said yes. I then ask him if he could draw it back 6 inches, and then 18 inches and so on but he could not. I then ask him if he couldn't control it what good was it? He didn't talk to me anymore.
 

hang-the-9

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I would like to ask the instructors on here what is the 3 things that most pool players need to work on?

I think you first need to state at what level those most pool players are at. Almost everyone I see that is not a "real" player needs to work on their basic stance and stroke fundamentals to be able to pocket a ball not by accident. Most random players you see shooting at a bar? Most players at a tournament? Most players in your specific pool hall? The average pool player rating in Fargo is right about 550 so what do those players need to work on to get higher? I've worked with like 10 players over last half a year and most of those had different sets of things that needed adjusting. Funny enough for a handful of them the biggest issue with getting better was not so much someone showing them what to fix but their actual desire to listen and try changes, they were just too stubborn or lazy to work at it.

I guess if there is one thing that ALL players need to learn is the ability to set aside their ego and be open to trying things without saying "I'll just try shooting my own way".
 

MitchAlsup

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
The path from beginner to pro is not a straight line, but a series of plateaus.

Each Plateau ends (heading up the scale) when the player recognizes something about his game that is holding him back, makes an adjustment, and fixes some minor problem of their game (whether mechanical of mental).
As one reaches up to the next plateau, one is often beset by a nasty oscillation between the next upper plateau and the next lower plateau as the adjustment interacts with the other capabilities of the player (both mechanical and mental).
After a while, the player stabilizes at the plateau and continues at this new level until he realizes the next adjustment than needs to be made.
And the cycle continues.
 

chas1022

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Well thanks for the input. I was just asking in general what do instructors find are the most common problems with a lot of pool players game. Mark Wilson states that what he works on with people from beginner to Pro is stance, grip, Preshot routine, bridge stroke. Mark states that he gets a lot of calls from pool players and they state look my basics are fine I have that all down it’s the advance stuff I need. Mark says after meeting with them he sees that they have several problems usually.
 

CocoboloCowboy

Cowboys are my heros.
Silver Member
Their fundamentals, their mechanics and the basics. You need to remember that most pool players are incapable of running a whole rack. Some students will ask about pattern play when they can't draw the ball at all. It's hard to build patterns when you have no tools. I think if you watch any typical league night, you'll come to the same conclusion, and the lower-level league players are actually above average of all people who play pool.

If you mean more advanced players, it is often still fundamentals.

Think the one thing Bob left out was PRACTICING, and working on what you do not do well.

Fellow I know is very good player, he does everything very well.

Went he come to practice, he is like on a mission, seldom talks to anyone, just works on game. It is like he is on a mission, to make some sort of mission to be great.
 

arnaldo

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
. . . the very best instructors first go back to looking for any flaws that crept into the fundamentals.
That's the essential approach used by Hal Mix when pros (like Varner, Davenport, etc.) came to him for tuneups or for getting out of a slump. And it underlies the teaching of Jerry Briesath and his outstandingly insightful protege: instructor Mark Wilson.

Arnaldo
 

Scott Lee

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
That's the essential approach used by Hal Mix when pros (like Varner, Davenport, etc.) came to him for tuneups or for getting out of a slump. And it underlies the teaching of Jerry Briesath and his outstandingly insightful protege: instructor Mark Wilson.

Arnaldo
Not to mention the SPF group of instructors (randyg & I lead this group)...everything is first based on extensive video analysis. Video shows all flaws...once you learn how to record properly and analyze correctly.

Scott Lee
 
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