Practice Sessions - Struggling to Focus

I'm looking for some good practice advice:

I love to play the 7 ball ghost more than anything however I run into some problems:

1. I shoot too fast
2. I don't spend as much time focusing
3. I'll sometimes want to experiment with an alternative way to get shape however I don't b/c I am in the middle of the set.
4. When I'm playing good I only get to shoot a few tough shots per rack b/c of good position.
5. I'll start to slack off

It's hard to give 100% effort against the ghost when you're just playing for fun. Therefore I usually develop bad habits. So that being said, I am trying to stop playing the ghost as much.

I have been changing my practice sessions to focus on one specific aspect of my game. For example, shooting the same shot over and over and over until I master it. This type of practice is really boring but it's obviously the best way to improve.

This type of practice is so boring that it makes me never want to practice. I need to find something that is in-between the two extremes that I've mentioned. I need something that is challenging but not extremely boring. I need something that practices my whole game which I can use to warm up before a match. I need something that I can easily start and stop without going through a whole set or workout.

What kind of practice sessions do you guys like? Do you encounter any of the same problems I've mentioned? Do you have any recommendations? I'd love to start something new...Thanks!
 

Scott Lee

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
IMO, that type of practice (shoot it 1000x) is counter-productive to good practice. Short duration, high focus, with a way to measure your results is the best way to practice. Throwing balls out on the table and trying to run them off, or playing the ghost, is not deliberate practice. That's practicing playing...which may yield only sporadic results.

Scott Lee
http://poolknowledge.com

I have been changing my practice sessions to focus on one specific aspect of my game. For example, shooting the same shot over and over and over until I master it. This type of practice is really boring but it's obviously the best way to improve.
 
IMO, that type of practice (shoot it 1000x) is counter-productive to good practice. Short duration, high focus, with a way to measure your results is the best way to practice. Throwing balls out on the table and trying to run them off, or playing the ghost, is not deliberate practice. That's practicing playing...which may yield only sporadic results.

Scott Lee
http://poolknowledge.com

So what do you recommend?
 

Brian in VA

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I agree with Scott.

My favorite practice session is to start with a speed drill to get my stroke focused and smooth. This takes about 3 minutes. From there I use the Qskills challenge to combine practice of ball pocketing, position, and thinking out more than 1 or 2 balls. I play at least 10 racks of that, and keep score of every single one. Tracking over a long period of time, you can see yourself improving (and slumping!).

This takes less than an hour. If I have more time, I'll play multiple sets of Qskills. If not much more time, I'll set up and replay some of the specific shots I missed during the racks I played until I make at least 5 in a row.

By the way, playing multiple racks like this really makes you focus on stretches where you're struggling. My wife has asked me why I keep doing it if I'm "not enjoying myself." I explain to her that when playing in a match or tournament, you have to play your way out of sucking, you can't just walk away.

Brian in VA
 

tommypabs

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Really interested in seeing what others have to say. So far, some great input.

I just started playing after an 18 year layoff. I suffer from the same mental challenges that I struggled with as a kid. The only time I can bear down and play is if is for money or in a tourney (to a lesser extent). I can not keep my mind sharp during practice or playing others for fun. This really bothers me, because I love the game. I am just a wreck mentally. Maybe I am practicing the wrong way?? I love the input here. Thanks!!
 

PoolChump

Banned
Focus, focus, and more focus.

I'm looking for some good practice advice:

I love to play the 7 ball ghost more than anything however I run into some problems:

1. I shoot too fast

Slow down. There isn't any good reason to shoot fast unless there is a shot clock.

2. I don't spend as much time focusing

Focusing is the most important element to good playing. Focus on position, contact points of cue ball to object ball, see the angle, feel for speed.

3. I'll sometimes want to experiment with an alternative way to get shape however I don't b/c I am in the middle of the set.

Use your imagination only if comfortable doing so. Don't experiment when unsure.

4. When I'm playing good I only get to shoot a few tough shots per rack b/c of good position.

This is key. Leaving good easy position reduce misses and makes the game look easy.

5. I'll start to slack off

Be mentally tough. Don't show emotion and give 100% heart.

It's hard to give 100% effort against the ghost when you're just playing for fun.

Therefore I usually develop bad habits. So that being said, I am trying to stop playing the ghost as much.

I have been changing my practice sessions to focus on one specific aspect of my game. For example, shooting the same shot over and over and over until I master it. This type of practice is really boring but it's obviously the best way to improve.

This type of practice is so boring that it makes me never want to practice. I need to find something that is in-between the two extremes that I've mentioned. I need something that is challenging but not extremely boring. I need something that practices my whole game which I can use to warm up before a match. I need something that I can easily start and stop without going through a whole set or workout.

What kind of practice sessions do you guys like? Do you encounter any of the same problems I've mentioned? Do you have any recommendations? I'd love to start something new...Thanks!

Don't just strive for general area for position. Strive for exact position by seeing angle, rail targets, and how spin is working. Use a 6 dot cue ball to see spin. Focus 100% on every shot, especially the easy ones. Good luck!:)
 

Lou Loulacy

Registered
Dr Dave's test accomplishes this for me. I too cannot commit to focusing as well in practice compared to competition. It makes me wonder if it is better to save some of that focus for competition.

Sent from my SM-G900R4 using Tapatalk
 

FranCrimi

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I used to get bored practicing, too. I realized that unless I set up a challenge for myself, I wasn't going to stay focused.

What worked for me was that I set a prize for myself that I would only win if I met my goal. Many times my prize would be letting myself enter in my local pool room tournament. But first, I had to beat the ghost 'x' number of times out of 10 --- or something like that ---- or I had to make a ball on the break 'x' number of times out of 10, or I had to have position on the one ball after the break, 'x' number of times out of 10. (It was usually all of the above.)

If I didn't meet my goal, I wouldn't enter the tournament that week. I really enjoyed playing in those so I started really focusing when I practiced so I wouldn't make stupid mistakes. When I did play in the tournament, that good habit I developed of staying focused usually came along with me. Worked out pretty well.
 

CokerFan82

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Before a tournament I like to practice lightly for about 10-15 minutes to get warmed up.

I'll usually start with some long table length shots down the rail into the bottom corner pocket (about 10)
Then I'll shoot the same shot with a firm Follow on the cue ball for aiming warm up.
(About 10 as well)
Set up a 4-5 Diamond straigh-in shot to the lower corner pocket and draw the cue ball back up to the Head Rail
(About 10)
Set up a back-cut (to corner pocket) slightly (a few inches) past the side pocket and 1 Diamond out from the long rail. Set the cue ball (2-3 diamonds away) directly inline with the object ball or slightly closer to the rail for a back-cut. Use a Draw shot with outside
English to send the cue ball across the table and back to Center for control/stroke practice.
(About 10-15 times or until you are making most of them)

After you get acquainted with the Table conditions and how much *Throw will
Be factored in from sidespin on the cueball/object ball relationship, it's now an
Appropriate time to practice your break and figure out how to drop the wing ball
Reliably while simultaneously playing shape on the 1 ball.

This is my short warm-up drill before a tournament to get loose.

The best practices are always going to be under pressure. That's how you learn to
Play your best all of the time, if you practice half-heartedly... You're guaranteed to see
That habit leak out she the pressure is on.

Hope this helps you some.
 

Black-Balled

He Rides the Skies
Silver Member
If it doesn't matter, it doesn't matter...without trying to be flippant, I contend it is true.

As long as you can bring when it counts, who cares what you do in the gym?
 

chefjeff

No sides, only players
Silver Member
Take Scotts 4 hour course l. He'll put you on track with the proper drills. Give Scott or a qualified instructor some thought

PM Scott Lee and see if he will be in your area for a lesson, or he can recommend someone for you.

Those guys have specific actions to take for practicing that will help you quickly and more easier than just banging balls.

My experience, anyway, yours may differ.


Jeff Livingston
 

CJH

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I sometimes have the same problem as the OP. I went to pool school a few years back and learned lots of different drills for stroke, speed, position, etc. When I lose focus and start to have lazy stroke or routine behaviors I get back in the routine of doing the drills. Over time I find myself going to my table to unwind and escape and usually get back into skipping the drills for more fun table stuff. A vicious cycle which is why I improve so slowly.
 

tommypabs

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I sometimes have the same problem as the OP. I went to pool school a few years back and learned lots of different drills for stroke, speed, position, etc. When I lose focus and start to have lazy stroke or routine behaviors I get back in the routine of doing the drills. Over time I find myself going to my table to unwind and escape and usually get back into skipping the drills for more fun table stuff. A vicious cycle which is why I improve so slowly.
May I ask, what Pool School you went to? Was it worth it? Any advice? I ask, because I have been looking into it myself. I am sure what you put into it... is what you will take away from it. If I decide to go, I'd like to choose a reputable instructor as mentioned earlier in the thread.
Thanks!!!!
 

BmoreMoney

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
So what do you recommend?

There is an instructor on here - Geno Machino, Real name Gene Albrecht (sp?). Anyway he will give you a free lesson right over the phone and garuntees it will help you and improve your game. It's free so you have nothing to lose. If you decide you want to go further he does one on one instruction as well as dvd's. There have been a lot of people that swear by him and said he really helped their game, including some pros. Gene seems like a genuinely nice guy, plays REAL good, and has been on the road for decades. I think his phone # is in his signature line. Good Luck.

If you do do the phone lesson come back and tell us what you think, thanks!
 
Last edited:

Scott Lee

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
Since the poster is from TX, I would guess he went to see randyg in Dallas. PM him here for more information. IMO, without question, the best instruction that money can buy...but you still have to practice what you learn. :D

Scott Lee
http://poolknowledge.com

May I ask, what Pool School you went to? Was it worth it? Any advice? I ask, because I have been looking into it myself. I am sure what you put into it... is what you will take away from it. If I decide to go, I'd like to choose a reputable instructor as mentioned earlier in the thread.
Thanks!!!!
 

PoolChump

Banned
There is an instructor on here - Geno Machino, Real name Gene Albrecht (sp?). Anyway he will give you a free lesson right over the phone and garuntees it will help you and improve your game. It's free so you have nothing to lose. If you decide you want to go further he does one on one instruction as well as dvd's. There have been a lot of people that swear by him and said he really helped their game, including some pros. Gene seems like a genuinely nice guy, plays REAL good, and has been on the road for decades. I think his phone # is in his signature line. Good Luck.

If you do do the phone lesson come back and tell us what you think, thanks!

Lots of instructors advertise here. ;)
 
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