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"
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.