Stroke limit/skill apex

MitchAlsup

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I was talking to a guy on my league team the other day. He practices all the time and has played for a good number of years. He’s not old. In his 30’s. APA 5/6. He is under the impression that he will never get any better no matter how much he practices.
With that attitude, it is no wonder he is not making forward progress.
He said in a sense he knows how to do it but can’t. I know people do get stuck at certain levels. Why is that? Always thought it was an effort issue rather than skill apex. Especially at that level of play.
He is practicing his mistakes INTO his game. He needs someone to watch and catch his mechanical and mental problems.
Is it true that no matter how much some people practice they actually can’t get better no matter how much effort is put in?
Bad practice is BAD for your game, Good practice is good for your game.
Something about his practice (about the way he approaches it or executes it) is wrong.
If he can't see it, feel it, or observe it, he can't get past that plateau.
It seems wrong. I’m always under the impression you can always get better and the Sky is the limit as long as you put the effort in.👍😉
Put in the right effort, you get better.
Put in the wrong effort, you get worse
Staying where he is indicates he is doing some things right and some things wrong.
 

Rusty in Montana

Well-known member
Also besides quality practice sessions playing outside your comfort zone , I don't mean going into a " bad part of town " what I mean is to go play in a local pool tournament against other players you don't play on a regular basis so he has to step up his game and do well or get beat and go home to try again another day .
I feel one of the main qualities needed or that is essential is a competitive streak that runs deep and wide fallowed up with a desire to win no matter who your playing then rising up and playing the best you can with a lot of quality practice sessions for a good grasp of the game .

Another thing is to slow down while at the table and look over the possibilities then shoot a relatively easy first shot if possible to help get one back in stroke then plot a course to get to the winning ball .

Reading or watching instructional books or videos also helps then to practice what you have learned so you have an understanding of the concepts .
These are some of what has worked well for me over the time I've played pool a game I truly enjoy a great deal .
 

Fatboy

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Also besides quality practice sessions playing outside your comfort zone , I don't mean going into a " bad part of town " what I mean is to go play in a local pool tournament against other players you don't play on a regular basis so he has to step up his game and do well or get beat and go home to try again another day .
I feel one of the main qualities needed or that is essential is a competitive streak that runs deep and wide fallowed up with a desire to win no matter who your playing then rising up and playing the best you can with a lot of quality practice sessions for a good grasp of the game .

Another thing is to slow down while at the table and look over the possibilities then shoot a relatively easy first shot if possible to help get one back in stroke then plot a course to get to the winning ball .

Reading or watching instructional books or videos also helps then to practice what you have learned so you have an understanding of the concepts .
These are some of what has worked well for me over the time I've played pool a game I truly enjoy a great deal .
Also playing stronger/smarter players helps. Not someone 5 balls stronger that’s racking practice. But finding someone who is old and could play once upon a time or someone a couple balls stronger and learn from either of those 2 situations.

Playing weaker players is also important to learn how to win, but that’s different than playing good in some cases.

So stepping up and down in who you play is a good idea as well.

What I did was play $20 pool with weaker guys get pumped up and go fire bigger $ at a stronger player. Stronger players back in the day didn’t play as cheap as the weaker guys.

Sometimes I’d win, and then step up again. Eventually when it didn’t go my way. Step down go rob a few weaker guys and go step right back up. Do that over and over and over you’ll get better. And learn how to gamble, play pool, win, lose & that’s called “Paying your dues”.

It’s a process not a event. Takes years and lots of action. That’s the pool I know. I’m clueless about league pool. I suppose it’s social. Which is cool, but not a route to excellent pool and excellence in pool. To the best of your ability.

Christ I need a coffee…..☕

Lol

Fatboy<———waiting for a 13 hour flight.
 

SmoothStroke

Swim for the win.
Silver Member
He doesn't have the passion,desire, and want to............. to improve.....it's obvious.
Pool is easy to understand.
1-Learn the basic fundamentals and perfect them....This is easy
2-Learn complete stroke control , short, mid, long..........this is work
3-Learn the cue ball better than your own name..............this is work

Everything else after that is easy street. Thought process, patterns, etc. etc.,the entire mental part of the game just grows naturally from the 3 steps to playing strong pool. I see many instructors, and instructional material, teaching people like it's rocket science,,,,,It's not,,,,, it's work, the right work, not wasted time bullcrap.
My first thought is, get the hell out of the APA, get to a pool hall with 9 ft. tables and players with a variety of skill levels from low to high, don't play high level players. Put your work in and get up the totem pole.
GET YOURSELF A STROKE

As BBB said... you don't know what you don't know, until you know it........ My Signature
Without the 3 steps above, passion and desire to excel , you may as well stay a 5-6 APA
If you want to learn steps 1,2,3 feel free to send message. Covid is done, I'm rolling.
 

RRfireblade

Grammer Are For Stupids
Silver Member
I'm sure Steve Vai brought more raw talent to the table than most but I'm also sure he practiced like it was two full time jobs.

Exactly. Tons of people practice like that and never get that far. People are different in every aspect. We are not clones or robots. Practice is not going to completely cover physical and mental limitations. I'm a university level instructor, FSO-PE with the USGA Aux, and have instructed on many other levels. Most people just can't do it at the highest possible levels, , that's why most people are average.
 

Bob Jewett

AZB Osmium Member
Staff member
Gold Member
Silver Member
... 1-Learn the basic fundamentals and perfect them....This is easy
...
I'm going to take some exception to this. I worked hard on my fundamentals when I was starting because Willie told me to. I had no one to watch me and correct me, so I learned wrong. You can play OK with a wiggly stroke and maybe even occasionally beat a good player, but I think it's much easier with good fundamentals. They are not obvious or easy to acquire.
 

Bob Jewett

AZB Osmium Member
Staff member
Gold Member
Silver Member
I was talking to a guy on my league team the other day. He practices all the time and has played for a good number of years. He’s not old. In his 30’s. APA 5/6. He is under the impression that he will never get any better no matter how much he practices. He said in a sense he knows how to do it but can’t. ...
Have you pointed out to him that his bridge is crap and moves during the shot?

That's just one of many possible problems with his game.
 

tomatoshooter

Well-known member
Not someone 5 balls stronger that’s racking practice.
A lot of people suggest facing tougher opposition to improve but you pointed out the limit to that approach. You do get something from seeing it in person but you don't improve much watching another guy run racks.
Playing weaker players is also important to learn how to win, but that’s different than playing good in some cases.
I find weaker players are often harder to beat. They usually bump into stuff, making the layout worse and screwing up my pattern, they won't get their balls out of my way, and leave the cue ball someplace useless. Given a decent opportunity, I can often do some damage but if I don't get an opening I struggle to get started.
He doesn't have the passion,desire, and want to............. to improve.....it's obvious.
Yeah, there's certainly a point for each of us where hand/eye coordination, visual acuity, metal visualization, and strategy comprehension near their limits and gains require significantly more effort. I don't think anyone here believes this guy has reached or even approached that level.
 

Gravey39

Active member
Play 10,000 hours then see where your at.

It takes that long for most people to reach their full potential unless they are extremely gifted. Then maybe 3000-5000 hours.

Playing 1-2 times a week isn’t gonna get it done

Best
Fatboy
Play 10,000 hours sounds a lot like the art of mastery to me 😉
 

SmoothStroke

Swim for the win.
Silver Member
I'm going to take some exception to this. I worked hard on my fundamentals when I was starting because Willie told me to. I had no one to watch me and correct me, so I learned wrong. You can play OK with a wiggly stroke and maybe even occasionally beat a good player, but I think it's much easier with good fundamentals. They are not obvious or easy to acquire.
I disagree,,, I think they are simple to acquire, they are a must to have.
If a player works on fundamentals and doesn't try to run before they walk, it's fairly easy.
When they can't stand properly but want to learn jump shots, that's a problem. Crawl, walk, run.

All we hear for many years now is fundamentals, fundamentals. Years ago you were lucky if they could spell the word, nevermind sharing info, everything was a big secret. In 30 minutes I could probably post 50 links for pool fundamentals,stance, bridge, eyes, etc. taught by champions, instructors, anyone with knowledge willing to share.

Today there is endless info at the tip of a finger. Youtube videos are a dime a dozen, illustration is everywhere.
Put a cell phone on a tripod and check yourself, cut the learning curve with an instructor, weekly lessons are best.
Guitar, Piano , Pool, etc., instruction from masters are all over youtube.
I study guitar and pool everyday on the internet.
Just when I thought I knew everything I find something new, maybe tomorrow I'll know everything.

As a young kid I played Wille after winning a junior straight pool tourney. Our match was part of the prize to play the great Willie Mosconi. He was grouchy and no help to me, barely shook my hand, I was a kid, whoopy do.
Mizerak told me to Get My Feet Under Me, my head did a spin, looked at him crosseyed. On occasion he would nudge my left foot and remind me of weight distribution.
He would put his hand over my bridge hand, don't move, I caught on, I practiced, I'm a statue.
Colavtita and Steve taught me a little trick to keep my head down, it's idiot proof, it's a simple fundamental.

My opinion is fundamentals are far easier to learn than doubling a rail with reverse english with different cue speeds to straighten or sharpen the cue ball. Drawing the cueball back 1 ft. from any distance. Or stun stroke every number on the clock with speed, spin, redirecting the tangent, compared to keeping your head down on a shot, or not dropping down properly.
 

hotelyorba

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
... I had no one to watch me and correct me, so I learned wrong. You can play OK with a wiggly stroke and maybe even occasionally beat a good player, but I think it's much easier with good fundamentals. They are not obvious or easy to acquire.
The first ten years or so of my pool-'career', I played the wrong way too. I could have good days where that wiggly stroke would work, but there was only so much I could do with it. Took a lot of hard work to first un-learn what was cemented into my failing fundamentals and then find out what I should be doing. Finding out that my center of vision was not at all where I thought it was, helped me tremendously.

One thing that the guy in OP's story could benefit from, is if he would film himself playing. Easy to do nowadays, everyone has a smart phone, and seeing yourself play (seeing your own mistakes, that is) can be a real eye opener. Especially if you have a good idea of what it should be like, when you have watched the pros play for instance.

Also on the 10,000 hours subject, if you spend 10,000 hours without focussed work then you'll just get good at making the same mistakes. Spend less hours, focussing on outside-of-comfortzone table situations and be very mindful of all the little details in your PSR and stroke. I think that is what helps me improve, at least.
 

hotelyorba

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Oh and about that 'natural talent for pool', I don't think that exists. I think it's silly to believe that nature (or God, if you're so inclined) would give you a specific talent for some game. I do believe that people can have a significant motor-skills talent though, and the guys that seem to just be able to pick up a cue off the wall and then play effortlessly without any practice just have a superstrong belief that their body will do what's needed, they're always aligned perfectly without any effort... but it's just motorskills and the strong belief in their body. That's the talent.

I used to be super jealous of that, but what I also saw later on was that these talented players could only get so far in their progress as a pool player. They would never start learning new stuff to get even better, because they never had to before. It all came naturally up until this point, and now all of a sudden I have to start making a real effort? Can't be bothered.
 

BlueRaider

Registered
Oh and about that 'natural talent for pool', I don't think that exists. I think it's silly to believe that nature (or God, if you're so inclined) would give you a specific talent for some game. I do believe that people can have a significant motor-skills talent though, and the guys that seem to just be able to pick up a cue off the wall and then play effortlessly without any practice just have a superstrong belief that their body will do what's needed, they're always aligned perfectly without any effort... but it's just motorskills and the strong belief in their body. That's the talent.

I used to be super jealous of that, but what I also saw later on was that these talented players could only get so far in their progress as a pool player. They would never start learning new stuff to get even better, because they never had to before. It all came naturally up until this point, and now all of a sudden I have to start making a real effort? Can't be bothered.
I was thinking about making a post similar to this. I know a few guys who were basically APA SL 4s within a couple of weeks of playing pool for the first time.

Making balls and playing basic position is easy for them. But like you said, the game’s simplicity in their eyes made it a lot less compelling and they were never motivated to get any better.

Meanwhile I was awful when I first started out which led to me obsessing over the game and becoming significantly better than them. But I still think they would leapfrog me if they devoted a couple of years to truly learning the game, but that will never happen at this point.
 

SmoothStroke

Swim for the win.
Silver Member
I could not improve on my own. Lessons definitely helped me. I consider myself a C player. Before working with instructions I was a Z player.
I was fortunate to be around a lot of great players, champions. I wanted to know their secrets, I learned not to ask, everyone was very guarded.
You couldn't find a better rack boy, wax on , wax off, maybe I'd get a word of wisdom today.

For two weeks I was racking for two players after school, both were entering the World Straight Pool Championships.
About 10 days in 1 player told me to shorten my grip on this particular break shot. He didn't explain why, I knew better to ask, I never noticed him doing it. The other player, not a word.
After about 100 attempts and comparing a longer grip, I realized why he shortened up, he was right, the racking was worth it. I had to figure it out for myself, no instant gratification like we have today.

I realized studying the players and following the cue ball was key, not the balls going in the hole.
To this day I study every players movements, eye patterns, stroke, stances, bridge, grips, head, you name it.
I dissect them to a fault, beginners to pros. I recommend others do the same.
I'm also OCD.
 

Willowbrook Wolfy

Your wushu is weak!
Gold Member
Seems most also believe it’s an effort thing. As some have mentioned I think you need to play better players. At least sometimes. Most important is always going to be practice. Off personal experience you need to be good enough first to see the differences in someone else’s game. For a long time I couldn’t tell the difference between an A player’s and say someone pushing semi pro’s game. I wasn’t good enough to realize the differences. They were all just waay too good. Once you can pick the subtleties up it’s a beautiful thing and something to work towards. If you can’t see it. Keep practicing until you can. Then practice some more.
 
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