SJM Sizes Up the World Pool Championship

Fatboy

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
The color of the balls is another issue. The original ball color for pool balls remains the best possible colors for televised events. If you study the history of the game, there was a lot of thought that went into choosing these exact colors. It was not just some random thing.
From your lips to Gods ears.🙏🏼

Don’t mess with the proper color of balls-ever!!!!
 

TxBullDog

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
I’ve just finished watching all four days of the WPC and am putting my thoughts together about this new edition of the World Championship. Congrats to both Matchroom and Albin for snapping off something big this week. In most respects, the event was a triumph, but there were a few negatives. So that I can finish on a positive note, I’ll start with the negatives.

Negative #1: Biased Commentators
Far too often, the commentators were biased. They were, at times, a) far from objective in their introductory match comments, b) apologists for the errors of their preferred players, c) overly critical of the errors and even near errors of their opponents, d) less than objective about which player was having the better of the luck.

Negative #2: Unprepared Commentators
Not talking about guest commentators here, just those who are hired as commentators.

Have the contestants met in other tournaments? Who has had the edge? Have they ever met in a very big spot? Are they rivals? When did they last draw each other in a tournament and who prevailed? When did each contestant win their last title? Which of them is having a good year in tournament play? Questions like these are rarely, if ever, answered.

Commentators rarely furnished the kind of supplementary information that is standard in other sports, and I must attribute most of it to poor preparation by such commentators. It’s mind blowing how little some of them seem to know about the players.

Negative #3: Equipment Not Befitting a World Championship
This was the biggest negative. The equipment was way too easy for players of this caliber, a point reinforced in commentary by both Boyes and Shaw. This made the elite players more vulnerable and ultimately delivered an unusually weak final eight, in which no player whose Fargo rate placed them in the world’s top 15 was present. Watching balls poorly hit going in time after time was hard to bear, and the event was cheapened by the fact that the test was not stiff enough for the world’s best pool players.

Negative #4: Super-weak Field
This cannot be blamed on Matchroom, but the absence of the elite Asians made this what I believe to have been the weakest field in a World Championship since the late 1980s. Based on Fargo rate, just eight of the world’s top 25 players were present.

Positive #1: The Arena
Even if you didn’t attend, you had to admire the arena and the way Matchroom set it up. Great job.

Positive #2: The Ticker on the Screen
Although not in very frequent use, I loved the ticker at the bottom of the screen that offered updated scores of other matches, I hope Matchroom will continue to employ the ticker in future events.

Positive #3: Occasional Look-ins at Other Matches
Matchroom stayed abreast of all the matches, and gave us many look-ins at matches where something dramatic was in progress. That they were able to do so was a dividend of the superb setup of the arena.

Positive #4: Post-Match Interviews
In the later rounds, virtually every winner was interviewed and the interviews were excellent, adding some flavor to the production. Pre-match interivews were good, but not as good,

Positive #5: The Referees and Officiating in General
The highest compliment one can pay the officials is that they blended into the action and didn’t make any significant errors that influenced match results. That’s just how it went at the WPC and the officiating crew is to be congratulated.

Positive #6: Women in the Field
Yes, we all knew the women would not contend for the title, but their presence added to the flavor of the event. We look forward to seeing Han Yu and Siming Chen down the road at this event.

Positive #7: Great Commentary in the Final
Hooking up Boyes and Lely to commentate the final was a stroke of genius. They had great chemistry, stayed objective, showed great mutual respect for each other, and made the final more enjoyable.

In Conclusion
As you can see, the positives greatly outweighed the negatives. The event must be viewed as a great triumph and the fact that it was staged at all is impressive. All those at Matchroom can take a deep bow. Matchroom’s productions are still evolving, but the direction they are taking continues to raise the bar for what’s possible in pro pool entertainment. I couldn’t be happier to see that Matchroom is steering the ship that is pro pool into calmer waters.

Those are my impressions of the event. What are yours?
Well said and great review. I was also disappointed at how so many shots on the Predator table should not have gone and dropped anyway. I also was disappointed with the field of players and how many were not included. The only other item was the surprise to change the rack in the middle of tournament. Thank you for the review.
 
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JoeyA

Efren's Mini-Tourn BACKER
Silver Member
I’ve just finished watching all four days of the WPC and am putting my thoughts together about this new edition of the World Championship. Congrats to both Matchroom and Albin for snapping off something big this week. In most respects, the event was a triumph, but there were a few negatives. So that I can finish on a positive note, I’ll start with the negatives.

Negative #1: Biased Commentators
Far too often, the commentators were biased. They were, at times, a) far from objective in their introductory match comments, b) apologists for the errors of their preferred players, c) overly critical of the errors and even near errors of their opponents, d) less than objective about which player was having the better of the luck.

Negative #2: Unprepared Commentators
Not talking about guest commentators here, just those who are hired as commentators.

Have the contestants met in other tournaments? Who has had the edge? Have they ever met in a very big spot? Are they rivals? When did they last draw each other in a tournament and who prevailed? When did each contestant win their last title? Which of them is having a good year in tournament play? Questions like these are rarely, if ever, answered.

Commentators rarely furnished the kind of supplementary information that is standard in other sports, and I must attribute most of it to poor preparation by such commentators. It’s mind blowing how little some of them seem to know about the players.

Negative #3: Equipment Not Befitting a World Championship
This was the biggest negative. The equipment was way too easy for players of this caliber, a point reinforced in commentary by both Boyes and Shaw. This made the elite players more vulnerable and ultimately delivered an unusually weak final eight, in which no player whose Fargo rate placed them in the world’s top 15 was present. Watching balls poorly hit going in time after time was hard to bear, and the event was cheapened by the fact that the test was not stiff enough for the world’s best pool players.

Negative #4: Super-weak Field
This cannot be blamed on Matchroom, but the absence of the elite Asians made this what I believe to have been the weakest field in a World Championship since the late 1980s. Based on Fargo rate, just eight of the world’s top 25 players were present.

Positive #1: The Arena
Even if you didn’t attend, you had to admire the arena and the way Matchroom set it up. Great job.

Positive #2: The Ticker on the Screen
Although not in very frequent use, I loved the ticker at the bottom of the screen that offered updated scores of other matches, I hope Matchroom will continue to employ the ticker in future events.

Positive #3: Occasional Look-ins at Other Matches
Matchroom stayed abreast of all the matches, and gave us many look-ins at matches where something dramatic was in progress. That they were able to do so was a dividend of the superb setup of the arena.

Positive #4: Post-Match Interviews
In the later rounds, virtually every winner was interviewed and the interviews were excellent, adding some flavor to the production. Pre-match interivews were good, but not as good,

Positive #5: The Referees and Officiating in General
The highest compliment one can pay the officials is that they blended into the action and didn’t make any significant errors that influenced match results. That’s just how it went at the WPC and the officiating crew is to be congratulated.

Positive #6: Women in the Field
Yes, we all knew the women would not contend for the title, but their presence added to the flavor of the event. We look forward to seeing Han Yu and Siming Chen down the road at this event.

Positive #7: Great Commentary in the Final
Hooking up Boyes and Lely to commentate the final was a stroke of genius. They had great chemistry, stayed objective, showed great mutual respect for each other, and made the final more enjoyable.

In Conclusion
As you can see, the positives greatly outweighed the negatives. The event must be viewed as a great triumph and the fact that it was staged at all is impressive. All those at Matchroom can take a deep bow. Matchroom’s productions are still evolving, but the direction they are taking continues to raise the bar for what’s possible in pro pool entertainment. I couldn’t be happier to see that Matchroom is steering the ship that is pro pool into calmer waters.

Those are my impressions of the event. What are yours?
Stu, it is always a pleasure to read your fine observations of any pool event. Thanks for sharing your insights. As to the equipment being too easy, I believe Matchroom is trying to bring excitement to the sport for larger audiences. Who wants to watch 9 ball being played like one pocket? Could the equipment be slightly more difficult without dampening the excitement of run-out 9 ball? Possibly. Equipment seems to be a slippery slope and I feel certain Matchroom Sport will do what's right for the sport.

As to commentator biases, for decades, in all Matchroom Multi Sport Ltd events, it has been common for both American and European commentators to be severely biases toward the European players. That bias may not be something that is controlled by Matchroom Pool but is something that the commentators somehow feel "obligated" to portray for a variety of reasons.

As to your comments about commentators lacking intimate knowledge of each player including each player's history, it would take an awful lot of intel to cover all of those players. Many years ago, I thoroughly enjoyed working for Inside Pool Magazine doing commentary because the person they hired to do the live-streaming was familiar with television and was constantly feeding me lots of pool information through my headset and it allowed me to sound like I was more knowledgeable than I really was. For the most part, no live streamer that I know of, puts much investment in providing commentators with live information through their headsets. A full-time person feeding player information to the commentators through the headsets (where the listening audience could not hear the interaction of the live-streamer and the commentator) would be an excellent investment for any live-streamer, including Matchroom. Since I have never worked for Matchroom, I don't know if they provide valuable live-feed to the commentators or not. Regardless, commentators could improve their profession by investing in acquiring all of the items you mentioned in Negative #2. However, the facts are that most professional pool players do not want to have commentators, distracting them from the task they are about to undertake. So a lot of that information would have to be obtained days, weeks or months in advance.

The missing Filipino players were a travesty imho.

In summary, I think Matchroom Multi-Sport Ltd, should hire you as a consultant, paid or un-paid because your perspectives are always insightful.

JoeyA
 

rexus31

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Stu, it is always a pleasure to read your fine observations of any pool event. Thanks for sharing your insights. As to the equipment being too easy, I believe Matchroom is trying to bring excitement to the sport for larger audiences. Who wants to watch 9 ball being played like one pocket? Could the equipment be slightly more difficult without dampening the excitement of run-out 9 ball? Possibly. Equipment seems to be a slippery slope and I feel certain Matchroom Sport will do what's right for the sport.

As to commentator biases, for decades, in all Matchroom Multi Sport Ltd events, it has been common for both American and European commentators to be severely biases toward the European players. That bias may not be something that is controlled by Matchroom Pool but is something that the commentators somehow feel "obligated" to portray for a variety of reasons.

As to your comments about commentators lacking intimate knowledge of each player including each player's history, it would take an awful lot of intel to cover all of those players. Many years ago, I thoroughly enjoyed working for Inside Pool Magazine doing commentary because the person they hired to do the live-streaming was familiar with television and was constantly feeding me lots of pool information through my headset and it allowed me to sound like I was more knowledgeable than I really was. For the most part, no live streamer that I know of, puts much investment in providing commentators with live information through their headsets. A full-time person feeding player information to the commentators through the headsets (where the listening audience could not hear the interaction of the live-streamer and the commentator) would be an excellent investment for any live-streamer, including Matchroom. Since I have never worked for Matchroom, I don't know if they provide valuable live-feed to the commentators or not. Regardless, commentators could improve their profession by investing in acquiring all of the items you mentioned in Negative #2. However, the facts are that most professional pool players do not want to have commentators, distracting them from the task they are about to undertake. So a lot of that information would have to be obtained days, weeks or months in advance.

The missing Filipino players were a travesty imho.

In summary, I think Matchroom Multi-Sport Ltd, should hire you as a consultant, paid or un-paid because your perspectives are always insightful.

JoeyA
The broadcast was not a streamed event. It is televised in prime time in numerous countries around the world. We in the USA are a few of the poor saps that have to watch it via a stream service. Judging by the quality of the production, I would say there is a producer at a control desk outside or inside the arena, communicating with the commentators and camera men (unless they are manless cameras). Player bio information is something that can be done easily and would add another layer to an already stellar production.
 

sjm

Sweating it at Derby City
Silver Member
Stu, it is always a pleasure to read your fine observations of any pool event. Thanks for sharing your insights. As to the equipment being too easy, I believe Matchroom is trying to bring excitement to the sport for larger audiences. Who wants to watch 9 ball being played like one pocket? Could the equipment be slightly more difficult without dampening the excitement of run-out 9 ball? Possibly. Equipment seems to be a slippery slope and I feel certain Matchroom Sport will do what's right for the sport.

As to commentator biases, for decades, in all Matchroom Multi Sport Ltd events, it has been common for both American and European commentators to be severely biases toward the European players. That bias may not be something that is controlled by Matchroom Pool but is something that the commentators somehow feel "obligated" to portray for a variety of reasons.

As to your comments about commentators lacking intimate knowledge of each player including each player's history, it would take an awful lot of intel to cover all of those players. Many years ago, I thoroughly enjoyed working for Inside Pool Magazine doing commentary because the person they hired to do the live-streaming was familiar with television and was constantly feeding me lots of pool information through my headset and it allowed me to sound like I was more knowledgeable than I really was. For the most part, no live streamer that I know of, puts much investment in providing commentators with live information through their headsets. A full-time person feeding player information to the commentators through the headsets (where the listening audience could not hear the interaction of the live-streamer and the commentator) would be an excellent investment for any live-streamer, including Matchroom. Since I have never worked for Matchroom, I don't know if they provide valuable live-feed to the commentators or not. Regardless, commentators could improve their profession by investing in acquiring all of the items you mentioned in Negative #2. However, the facts are that most professional pool players do not want to have commentators, distracting them from the task they are about to undertake. So a lot of that information would have to be obtained days, weeks or months in advance.

The missing Filipino players were a travesty imho.

In summary, I think Matchroom Multi-Sport Ltd, should hire you as a consultant, paid or un-paid because your perspectives are always insightful.

JoeyA
Joey! How have you been? I don't think our paths have crossed since 2010 Super Billiards Expo.

As for unprepared commentators, I beg to differ. During the days of the Camel Tour, players had to complete a form prior to the events that ensured that both the emcee (Scott Smith at that time) and the commentators were always in a position to offer some valuable information about the players.

The questions I asked are all very simple, and the consultant that could provide all this info is Mike Page, the founder of Fargo ratings. That said, questions such as these were rarely asked in pre-match interviews: 1) do you have any history with this opponent? 2) when did you last meet this opponent and who won? 3) what will be your best approach to beating this opponent?

If Matchroom and its commentators can't be bothered to gather much information about the players, let them tweak the pre-match interviews:

Here's an example of how a pre-match interview might proceed:

Question 1:

Interviewer to Player A: do you have any history with this opponent?
Player A: Yes, we've faced each other at the Mosconi Cup, the US Open and at the World Pool Masters

Question 2:
Interviewer: to Player A: When did you last meet this opponent and who won?
Player A: Yes, we met recently in the Zanzibar Open. He beat me 9-7, so I've got a score to settle.

Question 3:
Interviewer to Player A: What will be your best approach to beating this opponent?
Player A: He's good at long pocketing so I'll have to be stingy in both my pushouts and my safety play. He's a better grinder than I am, so I'd like to force a wide-open type of match if I possibly can rather than a more deliberate, tactically oriented match. Breaking well will help me to dictate what kind of match this will be.

Fan Reaction to this Interview
Wow! Thanks for all the information. Now I know something about the player's history against this opponent and I have a sense of what kind of match he hopes for in this spot. As they've met several times before, there should be no major surprises in style of play. Let's see if he gets the kind of match he wants.

Unfortunately, pre-match interviews tend to go more like this:

Question 1:

Interviewer to Player A: How do you feel going in to this match?
Player A: I feel confident. I like how I'm playing, but I'm not overconfident.

Question 2:
Interviewer: What can you tell me about this opponent?
Player A: He's a fine player and I know he won't hand it to me so I better bring my best.

Question 3:
Interviewer: What would this title mean to you?
Player A: It would be a dream come true. It would make my family very happy and would be great for pool in my country.

Fan Reaction to this Interview
Big deal. These questions and answers fail to distinguish this player from almost any other. These are generic questions that drew generic answers. That is fine as long as supplementary information is going to be provided by the commentators. Unfortunately, as this tends not to happen, a lot of competitive information about the players will remain shrouded in secrecy, outside the grasp of an interested viewer like me.
 
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Brookeland Bill

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I’ve just finished watching all four days of the WPC and am putting my thoughts together about this new edition of the World Championship. Congrats to both Matchroom and Albin for snapping off something big this week. In most respects, the event was a triumph, but there were a few negatives. So that I can finish on a positive note, I’ll start with the negatives.

Negative #1: Biased Commentators
Far too often, the commentators were biased. They were, at times, a) far from objective in their introductory match comments, b) apologists for the errors of their preferred players, c) overly critical of the errors and even near errors of their opponents, d) less than objective about which player was having the better of the luck.

Negative #2: Unprepared Commentators
Not talking about guest commentators here, just those who are hired as commentators.

Have the contestants met in other tournaments? Who has had the edge? Have they ever met in a very big spot? Are they rivals? When did they last draw each other in a tournament and who prevailed? When did each contestant win their last title? Which of them is having a good year in tournament play? Questions like these are rarely, if ever, answered.

Commentators rarely furnished the kind of supplementary information that is standard in other sports, and I must attribute most of it to poor preparation by such commentators. It’s mind blowing how little some of them seem to know about the players.

Negative #3: Equipment Not Befitting a World Championship
This was the biggest negative. The equipment was way too easy for players of this caliber, a point reinforced in commentary by both Boyes and Shaw. This made the elite players more vulnerable and ultimately delivered an unusually weak final eight, in which no player whose Fargo rate placed them in the world’s top 15 was present. Watching balls poorly hit going in time after time was hard to bear, and the event was cheapened by the fact that the test was not stiff enough for the world’s best pool players.

Negative #4: Super-weak Field
This cannot be blamed on Matchroom, but the absence of the elite Asians made this what I believe to have been the weakest field in a World Championship since the late 1980s. Based on Fargo rate, just eight of the world’s top 25 players were present.

Positive #1: The Arena
Even if you didn’t attend, you had to admire the arena and the way Matchroom set it up. Great job.

Positive #2: The Ticker on the Screen
Although not in very frequent use, I loved the ticker at the bottom of the screen that offered updated scores of other matches, I hope Matchroom will continue to employ the ticker in future events.

Positive #3: Occasional Look-ins at Other Matches
Matchroom stayed abreast of all the matches, and gave us many look-ins at matches where something dramatic was in progress. That they were able to do so was a dividend of the superb setup of the arena.

Positive #4: Post-Match Interviews
In the later rounds, virtually every winner was interviewed and the interviews were excellent, adding some flavor to the production. Pre-match interivews were good, but not as good,

Positive #5: The Referees and Officiating in General
The highest compliment one can pay the officials is that they blended into the action and didn’t make any significant errors that influenced match results. That’s just how it went at the WPC and the officiating crew is to be congratulated.

Positive #6: Women in the Field
Yes, we all knew the women would not contend for the title, but their presence added to the flavor of the event. We look forward to seeing Han Yu and Siming Chen down the road at this event.

Positive #7: Great Commentary in the Final
Hooking up Boyes and Lely to commentate the final was a stroke of genius. They had great chemistry, stayed objective, showed great mutual respect for each other, and made the final more enjoyable.

In Conclusion
As you can see, the positives greatly outweighed the negatives. The event must be viewed as a great triumph and the fact that it was staged at all is impressive. All those at Matchroom can take a deep bow. Matchroom’s productions are still evolving, but the direction they are taking continues to raise the bar for what’s possible in pro pool entertainment. I couldn’t be happier to see that Matchroom is steering the ship that is pro pool into calmer waters.

Those are my impressions of the event. What are yours?
Great recap and analysis. Pool has an image problem like no other sport. I don’t know the solution to get it in the mainstream and shed the perception that the movie The Hustler and The Color Of Money projected. I think The Hustler was a great movie that just wasn’t about pool but it did present a seamy side of the lives of the characters. Snooker and billards do not share that image. One way to start is to have a dress code. No caps, shorts, t-shirts, flip-flops and require slacks and collared shirts is just the beginnin.
 

TWOFORPOOL

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I enjoyed the winner break format with several matches having a comeback to win which made it exciting to watch. Do you feel at the Pro lever there should be more winner break matches? You have seen many matches for alternate break and winner break and as a result your opinion is appreciated.
 

sjm

Sweating it at Derby City
Silver Member
I enjoyed the winner break format with several matches having a comeback to win which made it exciting to watch. Do you feel at the Pro lever there should be more winner break matches? You have seen many matches for alternate break and winner break and as a result your opinion is appreciated.
Winner breaks will have more comebacks because players are more exposed to falling way behind in a match. Alternate break makes for more competitive matches, but big comebacks are hard to come by in alternate break. I'm not sure this is the key issue when it comes to the break rule.

I understand the arguments for alternate break and they are not invalid. Both players should get to shoot is always the first argument heard. Second, alternate break protects players from rack mechanics who will strand them in the chair with less than fair methods. These are, no doubt, fair points.

The truth, however, is that these issues that seem to make alternate break necessary can be easily overcome. If tough equipment is in use, both players will get plenty of table time, as we saw at the World Pool Masters. No player ran more than three consecutive racks in that event. Second, if a neutral racker is in use, as was the case for the last 64 in the World Pool Championship. the rack mechanic issue goes away.

Set the tables up too easy, as they did at the WPC, however, and alternate break is preferable, and possibly even a necessity. Speaking as a fan, I far prefer winner breaks, but either easy playing conditions or a rack your own format are enough to make me favor alternate break.
 
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BlueRaider

Registered
Joey! How have you been? I don't think our paths have crossed since 2010 Super Billiards Expo.

As for unprepared commentators, I beg to differ. During the days of the Camel Tour, players had to complete a form prior to the events that ensured that both the emcee (Scott Smith at that time) and the commentators were always in a position to offer some valuable information about the players.

The questions I asked are all very simple, and the consultant that could provide all this info is Mike Page, the founder of Fargo ratings. That said, questions such as these were rarely asked in pre-match interviews: 1) do you have any history with this opponent? 2) when did you last meet this opponent and who won? 3) what will be your best approach to beating this opponent?

If Matchroom and its commentators can't be bothered to gather much information about the players, let them tweak the pre-match interviews:

Here's an example of how a pre-match interview might proceed:

Question 1:

Interviewer to Player A: do you have any history with this opponent?
Player A: Yes, we've faced each other at the Mosconi Cup, the US Open and at the World Pool Masters

Question 2:
Interviewer: to Player A: When did you last meet this opponent and who won?
Player A: Yes, we met recently in the Zanaibar Open. He beat me 9-7, so I've got a score to settle.

Question 3:
Interviewer to Player A: What will be your best approach to beating this opponent?
Player A: He's good at long pocketing so I'll have to be stingy in both my pushouts and my safety play. He's a better grinder than I am, so I'd like to force a wide-open type of match if I possibly can rather than a more deliberate, tactically oriented match. Breaking well will help me to dictate what kind of match this will be.

Fan Reaction to this Interview
Wow! Thanks for all the information. Now I know something about the player's history against this opponent and I have a sense of what kind of match he hopes for in this spot. As they've met several times before, there should be no major surprises in style of play. Let's see if he gets the kind of match he wants.

Unfortunately, pre-match interviews tend to go more like this:

Question 1:

Interviewer to Player A: How do you feel going in to this match?
Player A: I feel confident. I like how I'm playing, but I'm not overconfident.

Question 2:
Interviewer: What can you tell me about this opponent?
Player A: He's a fine player and I know he won't hand it to me so I better bring my best.

Question 3:
Interviewer: What would this title mean to you?
Player A: It would be a dream come true. It would make my family very happy and would be great for pool in my country.

Fan Reaction to this Interview
Big deal. These questions and answers fail to distinguish this player from almost any other. These are generic questions that drew generic answers. That is fine as long as supplementary information is going to be provided by the commentators. Unfortunately, as this tends not to happen, a lot of competitive information about the players will remain shrouded in secrecy, outside the grasp of an interested viewer like me.
The failure to play up rivalries is puzzling to me. For a long time I assumed that pros are generally unfazed by each other because they're all so good. They aren't sitting there getting nervous while playing a guy who has beaten them a lot the same way that league players do.

But then I saw Niels Feijen do a video on "opponent tilt" and he mentioned how Dennis had an edge over him psychologically. So it does exist, even among world champions. I don't think Matchroom needs to do anything crazy with it, but it would be cool to make it a greater point of emphasis from time to time. It's just another way to create tension and drama/a storyline to a match.
 

sjm

Sweating it at Derby City
Silver Member
The failure to play up rivalries is puzzling to me. For a long time I assumed that pros are generally unfazed by each other because they're all so good. They aren't sitting there getting nervous while playing a guy who has beaten them a lot the same way that league players do.

But then I saw Niels Feijen do a video on "opponent tilt" and he mentioned how Dennis had an edge over him psychologically. So it does exist, even among world champions. I don't think Matchroom needs to do anything crazy with it, but it would be cool to make it a greater point of emphasis from time to time. It's just another way to create tension and drama/a storyline to a match.
Yeah, it's very puzzling, but the rivalry angle is one they seem not to be pursuing. I'm surprised, but they know what they're doing over at Matchroom and I'm sure they have a well designed plan for future productions.
 

sjm

Sweating it at Derby City
Silver Member
Maybe they should consider a pocket/shelf template like is done on the professional snooker tour?
Yes, that's where pool should be headed, but standardization of either equipment or rules has never been what pool does best.
 

Scrunge19

Registered
Joey! How have you been? I don't think our paths have crossed since 2010 Super Billiards Expo.

As for unprepared commentators, I beg to differ. During the days of the Camel Tour, players had to complete a form prior to the events that ensured that both the emcee (Scott Smith at that time) and the commentators were always in a position to offer some valuable information about the players.

The questions I asked are all very simple, and the consultant that could provide all this info is Mike Page, the founder of Fargo ratings. That said, questions such as these were rarely asked in pre-match interviews: 1) do you have any history with this opponent? 2) when did you last meet this opponent and who won? 3) what will be your best approach to beating this opponent?

If Matchroom and its commentators can't be bothered to gather much information about the players, let them tweak the pre-match interviews:

Here's an example of how a pre-match interview might proceed:

Question 1:

Interviewer to Player A: do you have any history with this opponent?
Player A: Yes, we've faced each other at the Mosconi Cup, the US Open and at the World Pool Masters

Question 2:
Interviewer: to Player A: When did you last meet this opponent and who won?
Player A: Yes, we met recently in the Zanaibar Open. He beat me 9-7, so I've got a score to settle.

Question 3:
Interviewer to Player A: What will be your best approach to beating this opponent?
Player A: He's good at long pocketing so I'll have to be stingy in both my pushouts and my safety play. He's a better grinder than I am, so I'd like to force a wide-open type of match if I possibly can rather than a more deliberate, tactically oriented match. Breaking well will help me to dictate what kind of match this will be.

Fan Reaction to this Interview
Wow! Thanks for all the information. Now I know something about the player's history against this opponent and I have a sense of what kind of match he hopes for in this spot. As they've met several times before, there should be no major surprises in style of play. Let's see if he gets the kind of match he wants.

Unfortunately, pre-match interviews tend to go more like this:

Question 1:

Interviewer to Player A: How do you feel going in to this match?
Player A: I feel confident. I like how I'm playing, but I'm not overconfident.

Question 2:
Interviewer: What can you tell me about this opponent?
Player A: He's a fine player and I know he won't hand it to me so I better bring my best.

Question 3:
Interviewer: What would this title mean to you?
Player A: It would be a dream come true. It would make my family very happy and would be great for pool in my country.

Fan Reaction to this Interview
Big deal. These questions and answers fail to distinguish this player from almost any other. These are generic questions that drew generic answers. That is fine as long as supplementary information is going to be provided by the commentators. Unfortunately, as this tends not to happen, a lot of competitive information about the players will remain shrouded in secrecy, outside the grasp of an interested viewer like me.
I agree with your thoughts on this completely. I will say that this type of quality interview is on the players just as much as it is on matchroom.

Professional pool is such an under the radar sport that many of the players have no concept of how to handle media or give interviews. This often results in the type of blasé answers you mentioned in your second example above. I think matchroom could help by giving feedback to the players as well as having someone experienced to conduct the player interviews. I wasn’t a fan of the guy they used at the world championships. He was new to pool and you could tell by the milk toast questions he asked.
 
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sjm

Sweating it at Derby City
Silver Member
I agree with your thoughts on this completely. I will say that this type of quality interview is on the players just as much as it is on matchroom.

Professional pool is such an under the radar sport that many of the players have no concept of how to handle media or give interviews. This often results in the type of blasé answers you mentioned in your second example above. I think matchroom could help by giving feedback to the players as well as having someone experienced to conduct the player interviews. I wasn’t a fan of the guy they used at the world championships. He was new to pool and you could tell by the milk toast questions he asked.
Thanks for your reply.

I thought the interviewer was pretty good and, as I noted in my original post, I thought post-match interviews were done well. I'm just saying that pre-match interviews weren't nearly as good as post-match interviews, and given the fact that commentators seem to offer little to nothing about the players' styles or competitive history, the pre-match interview is a way of filling this gap. That said, I'd still rather have commentators that are armed with this kind of information so that they can share it during matches.
 

sjm

Sweating it at Derby City
Silver Member
I agree with your thoughts on this completely. I will say that this type of quality interview is on the players just as much as it is on matchroom.

Professional pool is such an under the radar sport that many of the players have no concept of how to handle media or give interviews. This often results in the type of blasé answers you mentioned in your second example above. I think matchroom could help by giving feedback to the players as well as having someone experienced to conduct the player interviews. I wasn’t a fan of the guy they used at the world championships. He was new to pool and you could tell by the milk toast questions he asked.
Could you explain why this is on the players, even to a point? My opinion is that they are being led down the wrong path by the interviewer in pre-match interviews are are, largely, without blame.
 

The_JV

'AZB_Combat Certified'
Could you explain why this is on the players, even to a point? My opinion is that they are being led down the wrong path by the interviewer in pre-match interviews are are, largely, without blame.
Honestly I don't think the questions are going to spice pre-match interviews up at all. Pro pool players aren't given enough credit for attempting to be diplomatic and respectful when discussing opponents and upcoming matches.

Researched and pointed Question:
Q:You ended up in a tight defensive battle with player 'X' in the last WPC and ended up suffering a defeat. Do you plan on approaching the match differently this time...?

Typical response:
A: Yes 'X' ended up winning that one, but I don't think it was a lop sided match. If a roll or two went the other way I'm sure the result may have been in my favour. I don't plan on altering my game at all. I just need to focus on my game and take what the table gives me. 'X' is great player so I need to execute when I get the opprotunity, so I can keep him in his chair.

Entertaining response:
A: 'X' got lucky on that one. He got a couple of fortunate rolls at critical times which would have given me the match if it went in my favour. I'm confident that if I play my game I'll come out on the winning side. I don't need to alter my game at all. Sure 'X' is a good player, but I don't think he will be able to keep up if I play my game the way I can.

I don't believe we would ever see the 'entertaining' response from a player pre-match. Maybe if it was the Mosconi where they tend to try and spice up the drama.
 
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sjm

Sweating it at Derby City
Silver Member
Honestly I don't think the questions are going to spice pre-match interviews up at all. Pro pool players aren't given enough credit for attempting to be diplomatic and respectful when discussing opponents and upcoming matches.

Researched and pointed Question:
Q:You ended up in a tight defensive battle with player 'X' in the last WPC and ended up suffering a defeat. Do you plan on approaching the match differently this time...?

Typical response:
A: Yes 'X' ended up winning that one, but I don't think it was a lop sided match. If a roll or two went the other way I'm sure the result may have been in my favour. I don't plan on altering my game at all. I just need to focus on my game and take what the table gives me. 'X' is great player so I need to execute when I get the opprotunity, so I can keep him in his chair.

Entertaining response:
A: 'X' got lucky on that one. He got a couple of fortunate rolls at critical times which would have given me the match if it went in my favour. I'm confident that if I play my game I'll come out on the winning side. I don't need to alter my game at all. Sure 'X' is a good player, but I don't think he will be able to keep up if I play my game the way I can.

I don't believe we would ever see the 'entertaining' response from a player pre-match. Maybe if it was the Mosconi where they tend to try and spice up the drama.
Solid post, JV, highlighting that both players and interviewers would have to be trained in how to conduct an interview in a way that would add value for listeners. Media training for players is common in many sports, but not in pool. As you suggest, hitting on the right formula is not easy, but instead difficult. It just looks to me as if little effort is being made to provide anything of value in pre-match interviews. Entertainment would, of course, be a great bonus, but let's start with offering some useful content.
 

The_JV

'AZB_Combat Certified'
Solid post, JV, highlighting that both players and interviewers would have to be trained in how to conduct an interview in a way that would add value for listeners. Media training for players is common in many sports, but not in pool. As you suggest, hitting on the right formula is not easy, but instead difficult. It just looks to me as if little effort is being made to provide anything of value in pre-match interviews. Entertainment would, of course, be a great bonus, but let's start with offering some useful content.
Hey I'm just thrilled they thought to include pre/post interviews at all.

Everything in this world could benefit from improvement. I'm fully confident that over the next couple of years Matchroom will be refining the product leaps and bounds.
 
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lfigueroa

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Could you explain why this is on the players, even to a point? My opinion is that they are being led down the wrong path by the interviewer in pre-match interviews are are, largely, without blame.

In a past life I traveled around the country teaching CEO level folks how to deal with media interviews.

And one of my prime messages was to tell these guys that it was as important for them to get what they wanted out of the interview process, as it was for the interviewer and their outlet. That's what makes a good interview for both participants and the audience.

In most major sports, say golf, tennis, even NASCAR and WWE, the interviewees receive media training. These have strong governing bodies and they all have sophisticated on-camera training programs. But of course that doesn't exist in pool, so guys slub into interviews with poorly prepared interviewers. So it's pretty much a lose-lose-lose.

Lou Figueroa
 

sjm

Sweating it at Derby City
Silver Member
In a past life I traveled around the country teaching CEO level folks how to deal with media interviews.

And one of my prime messages was to tell these guys that it was as important for them to get what they wanted out of the interview process, as it was for the interviewer and their outlet. That's what makes a good interview for both participants and the audience.

In most major sports, say golf, tennis, even NASCAR and WWE, the interviewees receive media training. These have strong governing bodies and they all have sophisticated on-camera training programs. But of course that doesn't exist in pool, so guys slub into interviews with poorly prepared interviewers. So it's pretty much a lose-lose-lose.

Lou Figueroa
Thanks for this, Lou. Agreed that both interviewers and interviewees need to be trained if interviews are to offer valuable content.
 

Cameron Smith

is kind of hungry...
Silver Member
This is one of the reasons why I suggested in another thread to give the players something else to do. Trick shots, quick tips, recreate shots and other things will allow them to be a bit more natural. Not to say that they should eliminate the interviews, those are important too. But the other stuff will help them get more comfortable talking on the camera until there is money for media training.
 
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