i wonder just how many of the players that agonize over their tips or shaft diameter can run say 50 or 60 balls in an afternoon of pool on a full sized table.
if you can then i feel you are at least good enough to be fine tuning your equipment more than just the basics.
most players that can can also do it with a cue off the wall.
The other day before I met a friend to play some pool, I arrived at the pool hall early.
Instead of doing drills since I anticipated his arrival shortly since I got there early, I
scattered 15 balls on the table and started shooting. I was experimenting in my shot
selection trying to pocket the balls not in the most obvious pocket but instead, the
hardest cut and bank shots. Well, I missed a lot more than I made but some of the
shots I attempted were difficult, long backward cut shots and getting shape was never
my intention. I was just warming up trying the toughest shots I could come up with.
I get a text from my friend letting me know he’s running 15-20 mins late. So I spread
another rack of balls on the table but this time I play with the intention of not missing
and I didn’t. So I did it again and it happened again. The balls were dropping and shape
wasn’t that hard when the balls have been scattered on the table and you can choose any
shot. About that time my friend arrives while I am shooting my 3rd rack of scattered balls
and he waves at me saying to finish the table and we’ll play. So I continue shooting and he
comes over and watches. Well, I finally miss a shot & he praises me for my great shooting not
knowing I had already run two racks. So we start to play…..3 matches….8 ball, 10 ball and
straight pool. Well, what do you think happened? I lost 2 of the 3 matches even though by
all appearances I was on my game warming up. And the match I won was really more of my
friend losing to me than me beating him. Practice is entirely different than playing a real match.
The element of pressure gets introduced and it affects how you perform. When it doesn’t count,
it’s easy to be free and loose but playing when it matters changes things. And I think the reason
is the position map you have in mind when playing. 15 scattered balls is easy because you can
change plans mid-stream when the CB rolls too far, not enough or collides accidentally with an OB.
Start playing a match where position will largely dictate your next shot and when you don’t attain it,
the game becomes a whole lot harder. I was reminded of what one of my mentors told me while I
was in my early years of learning to play pool. Always practice with a purpose or don’t bother trying.
When I was warming up before my friend arrived, I ignored that advice and just pocketed balls with the
idea of getting a feel for the table and my stroke. What I should have done is just stick to my practice
routine instead, especially since I knew my buddy would be arriving shortly. People that agonize over
their equipment and are uncertain what they like or prefer are undermining their chances of improving.
Just play with what you have until something better comes along & then figure out why you like it more.
Just make sure you have a practice routine that allows you to get better versus just enjoying a good day.