Modern Era Tournament Slow Play - (a rant)

King T

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I have heard the argument that this kind of painful slow play equates to higher level play by some of my European friends. I'm not sure I can agree after comparing to a faster pace of play done by previous greats and hall of famers. So long as great and elite play exists at a faster pace, this debunks slow play as causative since it isn't exclusive to it.

There was no shortage of rack running power in the past. These guys used to string many racks together. The previous gen players were able to process the table visually and make shot and position decisions faster and still get the same results. 6 and 7 packs were done by guys in the 1970's and 1980's too.

When I watch a guy like Earl in his prime moving about the table, how is his play any more primitive or of a lower level than today's players?

Even Buddy Hall played faster than most of these guys, and none of these guys plays better position play than he did in his prime. Some of the elite might equal it, but not better. What justifies then this slow play? Can anyone here show me how the slow-poke Euros get better lines, zones and distance in position play than Buddy in his prime? (good luck)

Slow play ≠ better play.

To be clear, the slow pokes today don't have a longer or excessive warm up stroke routine once they are down on the table.

The slowness is in the pre-shot routine. They walk around the table excessively. They repeatedly check angles they've already checked. They keep reassessing patterns even when they didn't get out of line. In other words, after an initial assessment to begin a pattern, they haven't got out of line requiring a plan-B or improvise or change of plan, they do a whole full reassessment. I can even grant them a quick reminder pause so they don't blunder due to extreme concentration in shot execution causing them to forget what they planned in the previous assessment. That can happen. No, they spend enough time as if it's their first time at the table planning it all out. Over and over and over again. They just stare at things on the table at times, motionless. It's absurd. It's also insulting to the audience and the fans. They are supposed to be professionals. There's nothing professional about taking 3 minutes to shoot a shot that non-pros can execute correctly and routinely at a better pace. We know they aren't incompetent, so what gives?

I was watching a match that Earl was somewhat commentating on. Earl complained about this very thing. He says "Ralf you know you're not going to shoot that shot so why are you looking at it" ..Ralf Souquet walked over and looked at the point of contact of shooting a ball into the side pocket after he did all the looking and assessing shooting it into the corner pocket. An amateur might say "he's looking at all his options"

NO.

There are no other options and he knows it too, because in this scenario, it's not even a possibility in any scenario whatsoever to shoot into the side pocket because there's no position play to be had shooting in the side given where the next ball was. The shot was in the corner. It was not one of these "could go either way" or "it could be done both ways" situations. Not at all. It was 100% only one choice.

So why he looking at it? Was it some kind of nervous energy? Is it a "just checking" thing? There's no just checking, there's only one position route. Now Ralf isn't that bad....I just using him as an example. There's much worse than him out there. Watch some of these lesser known Euro players...it's torture. The stuff they are looking at is just superfluous to what needs to be done at the table. Objectively speaking, there's simply no justification for what they are doing on a lot of these shots.

This is why players get accused of using this as a sharking tactic. It's intended to trigger other players and also slow things down. It's garbage. We all know that it's tougher to make a great shot coming out of the chair if you been there for a while and in the world of 14.1 due to the nature of long runs, this reality was well known. I believe these guys do the math, and if they can tack on so many extra seconds or even minutes to each shot, it adds up so that 2-3 racks of time is a lot longer for their opponent to sit in a chair getting cold. They are bringing this into the world of 9 ball.

Figure, the previous generation could go through a 3 rack run in about 10 minutes of play time. Not uncommon. These new guys will milk it to 30 minutes....sometimes more. WTH

Even in the late 1990's, I was watching from Charlie Williams put a 7 pack on a guy and he did it at a very brisk pace. There were challenging position plays in some of those racks, these racks weren't all no-brainers. Yet he could process the patterns, make decisions, assess the table and go shot to shot without making my hair turn gray during the match. It was fast, and exciting to watch. Euros? Whether it's the hardest shot of the match, or a duck sitting in front of a pocket, they will make you wait equally long for all of them. It's just a lame tactic.

Anyhow, thanks for the reply. You're probably right - this turtle pace mockery of the game is here to stay, which is another reason why pool will keep losing market share and keep declining. I don't have to get used to it, I will not watch or support it. I'll watch older matches or select ones by serious players that aren't wasting their time or mine.
Buddy, Varner, Rempe, Sigel and everybody else from that era played on 5'' pockets, they all played great and set the standard, but if they were playing today they too would slow their play way down. They would slow down or get run over because the equipment is faster, the pockets are tighter and rails have far more bounce.
 

BasementDweller

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
The thing I question is do the slower players REALLY practice like this? That seems like it would be absolute torture. If they do practice like that, then they may not be practicing very efficiently. If they don't, then way do they slow down so much when competing? Either way, it has never really added up for me.

There may be a reason why many of the all-time greats have played quicker. I think it's probably a combination of finding it easier to play subconsciously and a simple math exercise where the faster players complete significantly more shots during their playing and practicing life.
 

Poolplaya9

Tellin' it like it is...
Silver Member
So long as great and elite play exists at a faster pace, this debunks slow play as causative since it isn't exclusive to it.
You are ignoring that regardless of the era you look at, the speed demons weren't all clumped at the top. In fact what you see is more of the opposite, where the top ranks would tend to consist more of the slow to moderate paced players for the era. This is pretty telling when you give it some honest thought. Go watch Efren again sometime as just one example, he was was no speed demon to say the least, and few of the players at the top, comparatively, were. The reason that is what you tend to see is because fast play is detrimental to being able to play the very best that your abilities allow for.

You are also ignoring that pretty much without exception when a fast player slowed down, their game improved (Shaw, Woodward, and you could go on and on and I can't think of a single exception). Yes there are guys like Shaw and Woodward who play great fast, but they play even better when they slow down. Yes Strickland played great fast, but he would have been even better had he slowed down. He played great in spite of being so fast, not because of it. Again, its pretty telling that the game of a fast player improves when they slow down every time when they give it a fair chance.

Aside from it just being common sense, the evidence is overwhelming that a fast game does not allow for the very best possible pool to be played. It can still allow for a fantastic game to be played, but not the best possible game, and who would knowingly and intentionally choose to play at less than their full potential? Nobody. The only reason guys like Strickland and Butera (and yourself for that matter) and such never slowed down is because they simply never bought into the truth that it would improve their play and so they were never willing to give it a fair chance. More and more of the players of today know better though--the proof is out there if you look with an open mind--which is why pool has and will continue to trend slower with time.
There was no shortage of rack running power in the past. These guys used to string many racks together. The previous gen players were able to process the table visually and make shot and position decisions faster and still get the same results. 6 and 7 packs were done by guys in the 1970's and 1980's too.
6 and 7 packs were actually pretty rare back then too, but they occur today at least as often, actually more I think. What you are ignoring though is that the equipment is MUCH tougher today, like not even close. If today's players went back back to the equipment of the 70's and 80's they wouldn't miss for three weeks.
Even Buddy Hall played faster than most of these guys, and none of these guys plays better position play than he did in his prime.
You have what I'll call a comparison bias, were you tend to see someone as being even better than they actually were because of how good they were compared to their peers at the time. Hall played fantastic shape, especially for the time, but the best players of today play as good or a little better shape, and they do it on much tougher equipment. Another thing you have to keep in mind is that the bucket pockets of yesteryear made playing shape much easier because you had a lot more pocket you could cheat, and because you could devote more of your focus to position portion of the shot since the pockets were so much bigger and more forgiving and required so much less precision to make balls.
To be clear, the slow pokes today don't have a longer or excessive warm up stroke routine once they are down on the table.
I think this has slowed down too, although the slowing is certainly more significant prior to getting down on the shot.
The slowness is in the pre-shot routine. They walk around the table excessively. They repeatedly check angles they've already checked. They keep reassessing patterns even when they didn't get out of line. In other words, after an initial assessment to begin a pattern, they haven't got out of line requiring a plan-B or improvise or change of plan, they do a whole full reassessment.
This does two things. First, it allows them to occasionally spot a slightly better shot, strategical play, positional route, etc. They may only spot something that is 5 or 10% better, and it may only happen once or twice in a race to 9, but those occasional and incremental improvements make a difference. Think about how often a single shot ends up being a game changer, or just how often it is just a shot or two that made the difference in who won or lost a set. The second thing it does is that it allows them to get their mind into the most committed and focused state possible prior to the shot. Again, this might only save one or two mistakes a set, but one or two mistakes a set is very often the difference between a win and a loss. Anybody that doesn't believe playing slower will allow you to spot a better shot on occasion or prevent a mistake on occasion than what playing fast allows for simply hasn't tried it for long enough to give it a fair chance and/or just has a self imposed mental block against it.

I think people like you that hang on to the belief that you can play just as good or better fast as you can slow do so because that is what you want to believe, and you want to believe that because pool is so much more fun for you to watch and even play that way. You certainly can't be blamed for those preferences, but the evidence is pretty darn clear that your fullest potential can only be unlocked with slower more deliberate play, and as a result that is the style of play that is going to tend to end up at the top of the heap in the pro ranks, and they aren't going to be voluntarily changing it, to their own detriment, simply because it isn't to your or my most ideal viewing pleasure.
 

Mark V

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
1. Open up the pockets to at least 4.5”.

2. 15 or 20 second shot clock with a single chime when there’s 5 seconds remaining. 1 extension of 1 minute allowed per game.

3. Violation of time is ball in hand for opponent.

4. Jump cue has to stay in the case until it is needed. If you want to screw one together, you’ll probably need your extension if you haven’t used it already.

4. Winner breaks.

5. 9 on the break counts.

6. Table custodian racks. Balls go in to a small container. Gently shuffled. Gently balls are gently poured in to the rack. 9 and 1 ball are corrected to proper placement. End of pattern racks. No template.

7. Table attire is at least a polo shirt and jeans. No open toed shoes.

8. Low entry fee, large field. Sharpshooting shortstops from all around would flood to the event, knowing that they at least have a chance to win under these new rules.

Modern drag ass players would completely shit themselves over this format.

Mr. Thunderbreak sharpshooting nobody from nowheresville who has no problem letting you know how good he plays is what the sport desperately needs. This is his game. In this format, he may actually feel like he has a chance.

Begin an east coast tournament tour. Start in January in South Florida and work your way north. Try to include every state. Work with local middle of the road hotels to offer group rates. Keep outside temps warm so wife can come and have other non-pool things to do. Us married working class stiffs understand the relationship politics of taking off for 5 days worth of vacation time at work to take a solo trip.


Just some thoughts of mine. Probably way off but I do believe it would go a long way to bring energy back and dismantle the robot play.
 

Gatz

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
There is a reason why there is no shot clock in big gambling matches, or any gambling matches for that matter. Players want to focus on the game and not how much time they have left on the clock. Which keeps their focus on the game 100% and usually results in their best performance. There are times when everything falls into place and the rack is easy peasy and there are times where a lot of things need double checking and re checking.

There are so many things that need to happen right to play this game at their level. I play my best pool when I'm playing at a slow to medium pace of play. If I play fast I make all sorts of mistakes and the focus goes away as fast as I play lol.
 

BasementDweller

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
You are ignoring that regardless of the era you look at, the speed demons weren't all clumped at the top. In fact what you see is more of the opposite, where the top ranks would tend to consist more of the slow to moderate paced players for the era. This is pretty telling when you give it some honest thought. Go watch Efren again sometime as just one example, he was was no speed demon to say the least, and few of the players at the top, comparatively, were. The reason that is what you tend to see is because fast play is detrimental to being able to play the very best that your abilities allow for.

You are also ignoring that pretty much without exception when a fast player slowed down, their game improved (Shaw, Woodward, and you could go on and on and I can't think of a single exception). Yes there are guys like Shaw and Woodward who play great fast, but they play even better when they slow down. Yes Strickland played great fast, but he would have been even better had he slowed down. He played great in spite of being so fast, not because of it. Again, its pretty telling that the game of a fast player improves when they slow down every time when they give it a fair chance.

Aside from it just being common sense, the evidence is overwhelming that a fast game does not allow for the very best possible pool to be played. It can still allow for a fantastic game to be played, but not the best possible game, and who would knowingly and intentionally choose to play at less than their full potential? Nobody. The only reason guys like Strickland and Butera (and yourself for that matter) and such never slowed down is because they simply never bought into the truth that it would improve their play and so they were never willing to give it a fair chance. More and more of the players of today know better though--the proof is out there if you look with an open mind--which is why pool has and will continue to trend slower with time.

6 and 7 packs were actually pretty rare back then too, but they occur today at least as often, actually more I think. What you are ignoring though is that the equipment is MUCH tougher today, like not even close. If today's players went back back to the equipment of the 70's and 80's they wouldn't miss for three weeks.

You have what I'll call a comparison bias, were you tend to see someone as being even better than they actually were because of how good they were compared to their peers at the time. Hall played fantastic shape, especially for the time, but the best players of today play as good or a little better shape, and they do it on much tougher equipment. Another thing you have to keep in mind is that the bucket pockets of yesteryear made playing shape much easier because you had a lot more pocket you could cheat, and because you could devote more of your focus to position portion of the shot since the pockets were so much bigger and more forgiving and required so much less precision to make balls.

I think this has slowed down too, although the slowing is certainly more significant prior to getting down on the shot.

This does two things. First, it allows them to occasionally spot a slightly better shot, strategical play, positional route, etc. They may only spot something that is 5 or 10% better, and it may only happen once or twice in a race to 9, but those occasional and incremental improvements make a difference. Think about how often a single shot ends up being a game changer, or just how often it is just a shot or two that made the difference in who won or lost a set. The second thing it does is that it allows them to get their mind into the most committed and focused state possible prior to the shot. Again, this might only save one or two mistakes a set, but one or two mistakes a set is very often the difference between a win and a loss. Anybody that doesn't believe playing slower will allow you to spot a better shot on occasion or prevent a mistake on occasion than what playing fast allows for simply hasn't tried it for long enough to give it a fair chance and/or just has a self imposed mental block against it.

I think people like you that hang on to the belief that you can play just as good or better fast as you can slow do so because that is what you want to believe, and you want to believe that because pool is so much more fun for you to watch and even play that way. You certainly can't be blamed for those preferences, but the evidence is pretty darn clear that your fullest potential can only be unlocked with slower more deliberate play, and as a result that is the style of play that is going to tend to end up at the top of the heap in the pro ranks, and they aren't going to be voluntarily changing it, to their own detriment, simply because it isn't to your or my most ideal viewing pleasure.
I've read your view on this several times, and it's certainly well thought and laid out, but I do think it is a bit presumptuous and may ignore the counter evidence. When really slow players are put on shot clocks -- they seem to perform just as well. Maybe these are just exceptions to the general rule, and applies only to those players that can't seem to get out of their own head (to borrow a phrase) but it appears to be the case to me at least. Kaci leads the pack on this. The guy can come to a screeching halt at times and needs a nudge to keep him moving.

Two questions for you:
1. Do you believe the game is best played at a subconscious level? Sort of referring to the "zone" here.
2. What does it look like when a player plays too slow? Or is that not possible in your view?
 

RDeca

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Players play their best when they are lights out. Just like your running racks by yourself. Around 100 seconds for 9 ball.
. Alot of Good players get irritated with slow play if they aren't the ones doing it....so it's mostly a tactic to irritate and torture the guy In the chair. Specially if you have an easy run and kindof lolly gag Or if your up 3 or four games.. Let him sit and think about every ball your making for a full 45 seconds. But then some guys slow way down under pressure and think way more than normal....
I'd lay a bet that a pro almost never takes five minutes to run a rack of nine during practice. No matter how tough the patterns or shots might be
 
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Poolplaya9

Tellin' it like it is...
Silver Member
When really slow players are put on shot clocks -- they seem to perform just as well. Maybe these are just exceptions to the general rule, and applies only to those players that can't seem to get out of their own head (to borrow a phrase) but it appears to be the case to me at least.
More than anything I think this is just a case of not noticing the difference rather than it not being there. We say to ourselves "look, Kaci just sped up and he isn't shooting balls into the rail every other shot", and this is true. What we aren't looking for or at least noticing though is that he is at minimum now missing something like an extra shot or two, and/or position or two, a set on average. It can be hard to spot those kinds of differences in smaller sample sizes like one match though, especially because our performance also goes up and down from match to match whether playing fast or slow. I bet if Kaci played 3 tournaments fast and 3 tournaments slow it would be pretty easy to go through and clearly see that he plays better slower.

I am open to the possibility that there are exceptions, but they are pretty rare if there are.

Further complicating things is the fact that there are obviously degrees of "fast" and "slow", things are going to vary slightly from person to person, and there are also diminishing returns.
Two questions for you:
1. Do you believe the game is best played at a subconscious level? Sort of referring to the "zone" here.
2. What does it look like when a player plays too slow? Or is that not possible in your view?
1. This is a tough one to answer as it is a bit nuanced. But in general I think your execution should be more subconscious, and your table analysis/decision making/shot selection should be more conscious, at least a good part of the time anyway, but the exact ratios between the two vary based on the table layout or shot, your knowledge and experience, external factors such as how long you plan to be playing for, etc.

2. I believe it is indeed possible to play too slow, and I think where that exact spot lies varies a little by person, but I don't think we see it too often in the real world, as in there aren't many players out there whose game is suffering because they've crossed into the territory of just going way too slow (unless they still have some kind of mental block against playing slower that they haven't yet worked through which is a different story).

As far as what too slow looks like, the short answer would be the point at which they have slowed down so much that they are no longer able to perform at their peak potential (once they no longer have any self imposed mental blocks against playing slower). That last part is the key though, and takes some time and work to get used to a certain pace of play, more for some than others, so it will almost certainly take a good amount of time to find where that sweet spot lies for you. For example, if you made Strickland play slow for a whole set right now he would almost certainly not be able to perform at his fullest potential, but that isn't necessarily because the pace is too slow for him to perform at his fullest, it is just too slow for what Earl is currently used to and for the mental blocks against it that he currently has in place. If he worked through those mental blocks and got used to being able to play slower, he would after a period of time absolutely be able to play better at the slower pace that he does at his current fast pace. Actually Earl might not be the greatest example because he has some mental issues that may never allow him to get past the mental blocks and could make him one of the rare exceptions, but it still illustrates the point well enough.

There is a sweet spot where you will play your absolute best, and for most people, once you have gotten accustomed to it and don't have mental blocks against it, it will generally be in the range of what most people call slow. Not stupid ridiculously slow, but what most would at least consider fairly slow. Most people are currently playing faster than where their sweet spot pace lies that would allow them to reach their fullest potential, maybe a little faster, maybe a lot faster, or saying the same thing a different way, most people, as in the vast majority, would be able to improve their game if they slowed down some amount.

Reaching your fullest potential isn't the only consideration though, especially if you don't make your living from playing pool. Another major consideration is enjoyment, and for many people the enjoyment decreases when the pace decreases. Everybody has to find the right balance, for them, between what is most enjoyable and what allows them to perform at their highest level.
 
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RDeca

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Give each player 5 whole minutes (five as an example) when they are in control of the game.
9 ball anyways.
So I'm playing Steve.
After "Steve" breaks. gathers himself switches cues. clock starts l counting down from five minutes until he misses.

Then it stops.

I come up to the table my five minutes starts counting down.
if i Take two minutes on one shot. That means i got three minutes to run the rest out. Or if I miss . The clock stops and Steve has control . His clock starts running from where it left off....the last time he had control of the table.

A player runs his five off the clock while he's still at the table in controll. He's now got a strict 15 second shot clock that starts new every time you make your shot..

That 15 seconds runs out...loss of turn ball in hand to the opponent.

I think this makes sense. Anyways. I'm not sure if five minutes is the right number and 15 seconds is the right number.

Some experimentation is needed. Baseball didn't land on 60 feet 6 inches and 90 foot base paths right away

I think this would allow for good strategy and safety play early.. if needed. And still keep things interesting for everyone. Players gotta pick it up during crunch time. And spectators and players don't have to hear bells going off every 45 seconds
 
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skogstokig

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
1. Open up the pockets to at least 4.5”.

2. 15 or 20 second shot clock with a single chime when there’s 5 seconds remaining. 1 extension of 1 minute allowed per game.

3. Violation of time is ball in hand for opponent.

4. Jump cue has to stay in the case until it is needed. If you want to screw one together, you’ll probably need your extension if you haven’t used it already.

4. Winner breaks.

5. 9 on the break counts.

6. Table custodian racks. Balls go in to a small container. Gently shuffled. Gently balls are gently poured in to the rack. 9 and 1 ball are corrected to proper placement. End of pattern racks. No template.

7. Table attire is at least a polo shirt and jeans. No open toed shoes.

8. Low entry fee, large field. Sharpshooting shortstops from all around would flood to the event, knowing that they at least have a chance to win under these new rules.

Modern drag ass players would completely shit themselves over this format.

Mr. Thunderbreak sharpshooting nobody from nowheresville who has no problem letting you know how good he plays is what the sport desperately needs. This is his game. In this format, he may actually feel like he has a chance.

your delusion is atleast amusing. the same players would win and your shortstop ideal player would just donate.
 

BasementDweller

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
More than anything I think this is just a case of not noticing the difference rather than it not being there. We say to ourselves "look, Kaci just sped up and he isn't shooting balls into the rail every other shot", and this is true. What we aren't looking for or at least noticing though is that he is at minimum now missing something like an extra shot or two, and/or position or two, a set on average. It can be hard to spot those kinds of differences in smaller sample sizes like one match though, especially because our performance also goes up and down from match to match whether playing fast or slow. I bet if Kaci played 3 tournaments fast and 3 tournaments slow it would be pretty easy to go through and clearly see that he plays better slower.

I am open to the possibility that there are exceptions, but they are pretty rare if there are.

Further complicating things is the fact that there are obviously degrees of "fast" and "slow", things are going to vary slightly from person to person, and there are also diminishing returns.

1. This is a tough one to answer as it is a bit nuanced. But in general I think your execution should be more subconscious, and your table analysis/decision making/shot selection should be more conscious, at least a good part of the time anyway, but the exact ratios between the two vary based on the table layout or shot, your knowledge and experience, external factors such as how long you plan to be playing for, etc.

2. I believe it is indeed possible to play too slow, and I think where that exact spot lies varies a little by person, but I don't think we see it too often in the real world, as in there aren't many players out there whose game is suffering because they've crossed into the territory of just going way too slow (unless they still have some kind of mental block against playing slower that they haven't yet worked through which is a different story).

As far as what too slow looks like, the short answer would be the point at which they have slowed down so much that they are no longer able to perform at their peak potential (once they no longer have any self imposed mental blocks against playing slower). That last part is the key though, and takes some time and work to get used to a certain pace of play, more for some than others, so it will almost certainly take a good amount of time to find where that sweet spot lies for you. For example, if you made Strickland play slow for a whole set right now he would almost certainly not be able to perform at his fullest potential, but that isn't necessarily because the pace is too slow for him to perform at his fullest, it is just too slow for what Earl is currently used to and for the mental blocks against it that he currently has in place. If he worked through those mental blocks and got used to being able to play slower, he would after a period of time absolutely be able to play better at the slower pace that he does at his current fast pace. Actually Earl might not be the greatest example because he has some mental issues that may never allow him to get past the mental blocks and could make him one of the rare exceptions, but it still illustrates the point well enough.

There is a sweet spot where you will play your absolute best, and for most people, once you have gotten accustomed to it and don't have mental blocks against it, it will generally be in the range of what most people call slow. Not stupid ridiculously slow, but what most would at least consider fairly slow. Most people are currently playing faster than where their sweet spot pace lies that would allow them to reach their fullest potential, maybe a little faster, maybe a lot faster, or saying the same thing a different way, most people, as in the vast majority, would be able to improve their game if they slowed down some amount.

Reaching your fullest potential isn't the only consideration though, especially if you don't make your living from playing pool. Another major consideration is enjoyment, and for many people the enjoyment decreases when the pace decreases. Everybody has to find the right balance, for them, between what is most enjoyable and what allows them to perform at their highest level.
Do you not see that you are biased here? You believe that most players would benefit from playing SLOWER and you shape your entire argument around it. The truth is, no experiment has ever been done on this with pool, so we really don't know. If anything, maybe we should give the benefit of the doubt to the player and assume that they play at their perfect pace.

I do think a player's pace of play should mirror their practice pace as much as possible. This is were the faster players likely have an advantage. I know there are studies that point toward quality being more important than quantity when it comes to skill development, but if all else is equal I'd rather a player pot twice as many balls per practice session than not. So for this reason alone, I'd guess Earl, Shaw, Filler, and even O'Sullivan just to name a few have an advantage because they are comfortable playing so much faster. Also, you can't just change a players competitive pace of play and assume they would be the exact same player. It's quite possible that those players listed above are the players they are at least in part because they learned from an early age to just shoot the #$%# ball!

I do agree totally with your breakdown of the pre-shot vs. execution phase of pool and the conscious vs subconscious breakdown. As a fan, what I have a hard time watching isn't so much the studying of the table phase, but the part that should be more subconscious -- the execution phase. Players that stay down over the ball and feather the cue ball forever drive me nuts and my hunch is this isn't very helpful for them in the long run.
 

tomatoshooter

Well-known member
Give each player 5 whole minutes (five as an example) when they are in control of the game.
9 ball anyways.
So I'm playing Steve.
After "Steve" breaks. gathers himself switches cues. clock starts l counting down from five minutes until he misses.

Then it stops.

I come up to the table my five minutes starts counting down.
if i Take two minutes on one shot. That means i got three minutes to run the rest out. Or if I miss . The clock stops and Steve has control . His clock starts running from where it left off....the last time he had control of the table.

A player runs his five off the clock while he's still at the table in controll. He's now got a strict 15 second shot clock that starts new every time you make your shot..

That 15 seconds runs out...loss of turn ball in hand to the opponent.

I think this makes sense. Anyways. I'm not sure if five minutes is the right number and 15 seconds is the right number.

Some experimentation is needed. Baseball didn't land on 60 feet 6 inches and 90 foot base paths right away

I think this would allow for good strategy and safety play early.. if needed. And still keep things interesting for everyone. Players gotta pick it up during crunch time. And spectators and players don't have to hear bells going off every 45 seconds
Some have suggested a 2 minute time bank and 20 seconds is added every time you shoot, or something similar. I think that would be the best solution, a safety battle wouldn't burn up all the time available and fast play on simple shots would be rewarded with more time for difficult shots. There have been some matches where, if a certain amount of time has elapsed before a number of games has been played, they turn on the shot clock. I think it's something like more than 40 minutes and less than 7 racks but I'm not sure. This may be a decent compromise but if I think my opponent doesn't shoot well on the clock I am incentivized to burn up those 40 minutes.
 

tomatoshooter

Well-known member
I do think a player's pace of play should mirror their practice pace as much as possible. This is were the faster players likely have an advantage. I know there are studies that point toward quality being more important than quantity when it comes to skill development, but if all else is equal I'd rather a player pot twice as many balls per practice session than not.
That's something I think about a bit, too. I read of a study where they had two groups. One was told to make as many clay pots as they could in an hour. The other was told to make the best clay pot they could in an hour. The quantity group made better pots. It has to be considered that these were not experienced potters so I expect the results would be different in that scenario.

As far as practice pace versus game pace goes, I think my biggest obstacle is time spent in the chair in a match. Since I practice at home, I think playing in a different environment helps me adopt a different mindset regarding the decision making phase. Also, much of my practice is repeated execution so there isn't any decision making. Even the pros I watch are often comfortable executing a shot less than 10 seconds after their bridge hand touches the table. My biggest issue is needing quite a few shots to get warmed up and calibrated. i either need to find a way to speed this up or raise my base level of play to where I'm not helpless until I switch on. Honestly, some days it's like I can shoot terribly for an hour and then suddenly I jump 200 Fargoes.
 

Mich

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I don’t see “slow” play at all. If you are bothered by slow play, don’t watch the last 2 minutes of any NBA game! LOL
 

Cornerman

Cue Author...Sometimes
Gold Member
Silver Member
Buddy, Varner, Rempe, Sigel and everybody else from that era played on 5'' pockets, .
Why do people repeat this? They say this about Mosconi and his 526, but from Jay Helfert’s info, that’s not true. Many pro tournaments in the 80’s and 90’s were not on 5” pockets.
 

buckshotshoey

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Buddy, Varner, Rempe, Sigel and everybody else from that era played on 5'' pockets, they all played great and set the standard, but if they were playing today they too would slow their play way down. They would slow down or get run over because the equipment is faster, the pockets are tighter and rails have far more bounce.
Finally someone got it! Pockets are 10% to 20% tighter then in the past.
 

Grilled Cheese

p.i.i.t.h.
Silver Member
I'll reply in more detail to the folks who took the time to give detailed responses in a bit, but before that ...want to clarify a few things...

1. I am not arguing in favor of speed-demon rapid-fire machine-gun pool. I thought I made that clear being against the shot-clock in my original post. I do not think Lou Butera / Luc Salvas play is normal. I will say that even Earl is faster than the norm, and shouldn't be the "standard" - however, I mentioned that Hall, Varner, Archer, Davenport and many others WHEN THE RACK IS SIMPLE would not burn so much time as the Euro-Snails running out. It's not an Earl thing. That whole generation was faster when the rack allowed for it.

2. This isn't really about which era was higher skilled. That was injected into the topic because people want to correlate slow-play with better play as a justification. That hasn't been demonstrated. I will admit that today's level is higher over all for various reasons....one of which is there's always progress and one generation builds on another, there's also on average smaller pockets in more events. But a lot of that is negated by the easier cloth to play on, better balls, better racks....and other equipment improvements that makes the game easier. As Cornerman pointed out, pros did play on smaller pockets in the past too. Overall, I would say the level is higher, but not by much. Not enough to justify the slower play which makes it awful for the fans assuming we grant that slow play is a cause of the slightly higher level play. I won't grant that. I'm saying even if we did, it's not worth it. I don't see it being a direct cause, only a correlation that's not substantiated.

3. Pocket size has little to do with play speed. The slow play is not manifest in a slower, more deliberate warm up stroke routine while down on the table trying to bear down for tight pockets. All the slow play is taking place standing up, in the table / shot assessment phase.

4. Yes, I'm mostly picking on the Euros' who have institutionalized this absurd play pace. I will admit there are some bad apples on the American and Filipinos side of things that drag down the game. But the Euros have a widespread issue with this.


Here, forget all these long winded replies...let me be more terse and laconic with this argument...

3.5 HOUR race to 9, 9-ball matches. = 💀
 

buckshotshoey

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Why do people repeat this? They say this about Mosconi and his 526, but from Jay Helfert’s info, that’s not true. Many pro tournaments in the 80’s and 90’s were not on 5” pockets.
They certainly were not 4" or 4 1/4" either.
 
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Grilled Cheese

p.i.i.t.h.
Silver Member
Finally someone got it! Pockets are 10% to 20% tighter then in the past.

That's not entirely true in an absolute sense. Perhaps some of the billiard historians can provide their input, but I remember a lot of talk about this subject going back to the old rec.sport.billiards days where it was said by folks who were connoisseurs of vintage tables that for most of the pocket billiard era, pockets varied yes, but they were not typically large. It was a result of Brunswick and other table manufacturers trying to make the game more accessible and enjoyable for amateurs and more fun in billiard halls by introducing the slop bucket sewer pockets later on.
 

Nick8400

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Why are we always comparing pool now to pool of the old days? It’s like a constant debate. It’s not like this is any sport, is it?
 
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