My Day Yesterday (Lesson and a Tournament)

Mkindsv

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Yesterday I had the experience of spending a bit of time with a former World Champion Player/Instructor. I spent 200 bucks for a three hour session with C.J. Wiley. I went into this experience and came out of it with an open mind.

Overall I would say it was money well spent. I did learn a few things about the game, and he showed me a couple of drills that I feel will help me in my future development. I knew going in that I had a penchant for lining up differently on successive shots and he picked up on this immediately. He had me shoot an angled cut into the side pocket, watched what I was doing and said "that looked actually pretty good" then proceeded to show me how to do it right.

Now, I am not a person that will learn something immediately. I tried lining up and doing what he was saying, how he was telling me to do it about 15 times before I finally told him, "Don't worry, I will work on this at home and it will take me 3 weeks, but I will get it." We then moved on to a stroke trainer that it seems CJ is using to show stroke motion and the snapping of the wrist to facilitate acceleration upon contact with the Cue ball, and it also seemed to appropriately coincide with a firmer grip that he likes to use. Using a Slip Stroke, this was hard for me to do without letting go of my cue and letting it fly across the room, but we managed to get through it.

CJ then opened up an app on his phone to analyze my shot tempo from aiming to stroke release, I had no issues here so we moved on to 8 ball strategy. I won't go into the nuts and bolts of that portion but will note that I found it quite similar to some of the advice that I have seen Mike Sigel give in some of his instructional videos...it doesn't surprise me that two world champions could have similar reasoning when figuring out a rack of 8 ball.

So we played about 10-15 racks of 8 ball, he occasionally missing a shot as not to completely annihilate me. I won a couple of racks, but could see how his wheels were turning when he was at the table, quite an experience.

We moved on to 9 ball and just played about a dozen racks before exchanging some pleasantries and a little theory before I headed home. I had mentioned to CJ that the local tournament I played in had a pretty sizable 10 ball break and run contest, he asked how much and I told him it was up to 2300 for the week (nobody won it that night either) but he said he would see me there.

I got to the tournament right around 8 pm and CJ came walking in the door right after I did. We ended up playing our first matches right next to each other, me barely eking out a win against a player that was less able than me, and him beating the lights out of a player that doesn't lose a whole lot. Well, you know what that means, the next round (round 2) it was little ole me against a world Champion that I had the nerve to invite to the tournament...it went about as you are all expecting, he got up quick, I barely won the second rack to tie it 1-1 then he closed it out with a 1-9 combo and a 4-9 combo...but hey, I won a rack.

I stayed around to finally watch CJ double-dip the guy that had beat him out for the hill in a really good match and shook his hand and thanked him for his time that day.

All said, I waited a day to do this post, some of it due to the newness of the experience, and some of it to see if my mind would change about the experience in the waning hours. It has, to a degree, I initially thought "he didn't really teach me much", and granted, he didn't, a few hours really isn't enough time to do so. However I did take two or three things that I am going to work hard on and reassess my overall results in a few weeks to a month. So after all, I have to say, it was worth my time, and it was worth the money, to shoot the shit, and the balls with a world Champion that CAN definitely instruct...I may go back for an hour here or there, but that will depend on how my game progresses, I am sure it will be 6 months before lessons cross my mind again, and CJ Wiley will definitely be on the short list if I choose to go that route again.
 

I Got Lucky

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
My thinking is, going in to the lesson, you have to have something you want to get out of it. For me, when I get back to the states I will take a lesson and specifically want to work on my draw shot. Yes, we will go over the basic stance, psr, grip but coming out of the lesson I want my draw shot to be better.

I can see where people come out of a lesson with their head spinning. Sometimes too much knowledge in a short period of time is no good.
 

bbb

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
great report
you should be very happy that you played so well right after a lesson
often there is so much going on in your head you cant make a ball
you may not think you learned alot but if the few things improve your fundamentals
thats HUGE
 

garczar

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Well said(and written!!). Lessons often don't immediately sink-in. That's why most golf instructors choose multiple short lessons over time as opposed to just dumping it on 'ya all at once. You have to digest(and practice) the info. An old golf pro told me years ago, "Would you rather drink from a garden hose or a fire hose?" I got the point.
 

Prairie dog

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
We then moved on to a stroke trainer that it seems CJ is using to show stroke motion and the snapping of the wrist to facilitate acceleration upon contact with the Cue ball, and it also seemed to appropriately coincide with a firmer grip that he likes to use. Using a Slip Stroke, this was hard for me to do without letting go of my cue and letting it fly across the room, but we managed to get through it. n.

Good for you that you went to a pool champion and instructor. I wish everyone would do this and support them. Would you please describe CJ's stroke trainer? Is it commercial or did he make it? Did he mention the pendulum stroke and which do you use?
 

strmanglr scott

All about Focus
Silver Member
great report
you should be very happy that you played so well right after a lesson
often there is so much going on in your head you cant make a ball
you may not think you learned alot but if the few things improve your fundamentals
thats HUGE

That was my exact thought when I read the title of the thread. V hard to compete right after that. I got a couple pointers in a brief lesson and I didn't get my game back for couple weeks.
 

Island Drive

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
What I learned from teaching for a good 10 years was this. When one changes a flaw for the better into their game, it normally takes 2 to 3
months to incorporate that change permanently. Once it's been internalized and it becomes second nature, your able to move forward with your skill. Many people I've taught over the years never put in the amount of time needed after their lessons to change their game. I know of 3 players that I've taught that had dramatic changes, because they were willing and had the time to make change. One player finally beat and won a local 8 ball bar table event, beating the top league player in the finals in Colorado Springs. He went out of his way, and gave me a singed tournament flyer with his name and a thank you. One other kid became a Very, very good player, but thru time and winnings etc. he now is strung out and still playing, just ok. This kid had the talent to become a great player, but drugs got there first.

I always looked for fundamental problems with every player I taught. If your house doesn't have a good foundation, it won't last.

If you can learn TWO new things from ONE lesson that will change your game, mission accomplished. When ever I taught someone for the first time, I always found it very helpful for my first session what kind of work are they into etc, to find out how this person thinks while walking around the table, and utilize comparisons to make learning/internalizing easier.

During our first Free 30 minutes we'd talk about life, work, family and goals for his time spent while he's hitting balls. By understanding my students background, it was much easier for me to groom my wording to not "talk over'' my students, it helped them learn faster.
 
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Buckzapper

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
A lesson with CJ would be the ultimate. I once had Jim Rempe spend a couple hours showing me some things. It was amazing and I've always remembered what he showed me.
 

FeelDaShot

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I've never pursued lessons because I've always been skeptical about how much I can learn in such a short period of time. Unless I have a very specific portion of the game I need help with.

Otherwise, I can imagine half the time being spent on diagnosing problems and the other half working on maybe one or two things. It just seems like there's not enough time to diagnose, teach, comprehend, and implement much. Hopefully I'm wrong.
 

bbb

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
I've never pursued lessons because I've always been skeptical about how much I can learn in such a short period of time. Unless I have a very specific portion of the game I need help with.

Otherwise, I can imagine half the time being spent on diagnosing problems and the other half working on maybe one or two things. It just seems like there's not enough time to diagnose, teach, comprehend, and implement much. Hopefully I'm wrong.

i think you are wrong but most likely you (everyone) need more than one lesson
 

Island Drive

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I've never pursued lessons because I've always been skeptical about how much I can learn in such a short period of time. Unless I have a very specific portion of the game I need help with.

Otherwise, I can imagine half the time being spent on diagnosing problems and the other half working on maybe one or two things. It just seems like there's not enough time to diagnose, teach, comprehend, and implement much. Hopefully I'm wrong.

Sounds like you have your swing, rhythm and body mechanics where you want em. With that in place, your foundation for learning will quicken when you learn something new.

What the feel for me is lately....21st century, these pros are now starting to play/practice as much as all the us guys did in the 60's-70-80s. (they practice way MORE because they were not in action every day, like the sixties/seventies. Look at John Schmidt and the youngsters, they are staying in the zone. Back when Varner and I were going at it in College 68-69 70 (SIU and IU) we all played 30-50 hours a week for decades. Not as much to stay in stroke, its because there was that much action out there. Everyone gambled, some just a little but they did bet, you could almost always win an hourly minimum wage every day you walked in the door.
 

Mkindsv

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Good for you that you went to a pool champion and instructor. I wish everyone would do this and support them. Would you please describe CJ's stroke trainer? Is it commercial or did he make it? Did he mention the pendulum stroke and which do you use?

I did bring up the pendulum stroke, and we spoke about the impracticality of a perfect pendulum stroke. Something else always moves not just the elbow, and this leads to inconsistency in the stroke...since I switched to a slip stroke for this same reason CJ and I agreed on this and moved on...some can perform very well using that stroke, I am not one of them. As for the stroke trainer it was a piece of rubber tubing...was really just used for a minute or so to show an action he wanted me to grasp.
 

Mkindsv

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I've never pursued lessons because I've always been skeptical about how much I can learn in such a short period of time. Unless I have a very specific portion of the game I need help with.

Otherwise, I can imagine half the time being spent on diagnosing problems and the other half working on maybe one or two things. It just seems like there's not enough time to diagnose, teach, comprehend, and implement much. Hopefully I'm wrong.

Keep in mind that I went in knowing I have a pretty strong game, normally. Of course get in front of, or on a table with a world champion and your idea of strong changes drastically rather quickly. I personally was happy that we only focused on a few things...I assume those are the few things that the instructor thought could initially benefit me the most. I have already put about 7 hours table time practicing these things. Will they help??? Most likely, and even if only to a small degree then I would be quite satisfied with the result. Honestly, I have found that sometimes it is the smallest, silliest thing that can hold a person back from progressing...hopefully we have figured one or two of those out for my game.
 

Island Drive

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I've never pursued lessons because I've always been skeptical about how much I can learn in such a short period of time. Unless I have a very specific portion of the game I need help with.

Otherwise, I can imagine half the time being spent on diagnosing problems and the other half working on maybe one or two things. It just seems like there's not enough time to diagnose, teach, comprehend, and implement much. Hopefully I'm wrong.

You are wrong. Hal Nix/Mix? Taught Varner, Hal was by no means a great player, but he knew how to teach. Many great teachers in sports never reached the accolades of those they taught, but they can see things that your not able to.
 

FeelDaShot

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
You are wrong. Hal Nix/Mix? Taught Varner, Hal was by no means a great player, but he knew how to teach. Many great teachers in sports never reached the accolades of those they taught, but they can see things that your not able to.

I totally agree that a teacher can see things that you're not able to.

My comment was related to the questionable benefit of a one or two hour lesson. It doesn't seem like enough time to accomplish much. I think it would take regular weekly lessons for a few months to see major improvements. But who can afford $200 lessons every week?
 

Island Drive

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I totally agree that a teacher can see things that you're not able to.

My comment was related to the questionable benefit of a one or two hour lesson. It doesn't seem like enough time to accomplish much. I think it would take regular weekly lessons for a few months to see major improvements. But who can afford $200 lessons every week?

Lessons every week at any price for a non pro is waaaaaaaay to much. To change and ingrained flaw in your game, takes weeks/months....allot of work and ALLOT of time. Remember in this game we are always dealing with such infinitesimal differences, that small changes create HUGE differences when done correctly.
 
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