Stroke limit/skill apex

SFC9ball

JimBaker PBIA Instructor
Silver Member
The bold part is huge. There's always something to pay closer attention to. Sometimes it's not even something new you need to learn, but rather something you're aware of but need to re-prioritize and focus on even more intensely.

A big example of this is tip placement on the cue ball. When you're starting out, the cue ball looks like this amorphous mass. As you gain experience, the top, center, and bottom of it become more defined. As you improve further, you start to more easily see the difference between follow, stun-follow, stun, stun-draw, and draw, along with left and right spin. But there's even more nuance than that, and it really requires constant focus on seeing where your tip is aligned with the cue ball in your "set" position before you begin your backstroke. I'm realizing lately that I wasn't paying as close attention to that as I could have been, and laser focusing on it has improved my shot making, overall consistency, draw stroke, etc.

How many people out there don't actually know how to find and strike center ball consistently, including strong players? I believe Johnny Archer said that amateurs' biggest mistake was not paying close enough attention to their tip placement on the cue ball. I think a lot of players quickly a reach a "good enough" mentality with tip accuracy on the cue ball but they don't realize that the tiniest of tip placement errors are enough to cause misses and positional errors, especially on big tables with tight pockets.
You are absolutely correct here. When I work with high level players I am not working on pocketing a ball, position play ETC. They already know how to do all of that stuff what they need is the refinement of their stroke, improving their eye pattern or incorporating one and improving their PSR. These are the things that amateur players either over look or don't think that it is that important. Mediocrity is good enough because they do not want to do the HARD work that it takes to become a great player!
 

SFC9ball

JimBaker PBIA Instructor
Silver Member
Another version I like is just playing until I have broke and ran a certain number of 10 ball racks (usually 5). If I come up dry, get hooked, or miss, I just re-rack. If I don't have time to commit to 5 I sometimes break 20 times and see how many I can run out.

Bottom line, it forces you to treat every break and every shot seriously. I love the ghost but it's easy to get a little sloppy. The ghost is about converting opportunities, but you need to work on generating those opportunities as well.
This is one of the best approaches to practicing! Quality over Quantity will get you better results. Great post Tin Man.
 

SmoothStroke

Swim for the win.
Silver Member
You learn to run, after you crawl and walk.
You improve at pool when your arm is in motion as much as possible, not sitting in a chair.
If you're a low level player and want to mix it up with shortstops that fine, once a month. Some may feel sorry for you and dog it, nobody ever felt sorry for me. But I was happy as hell playing Jimmy Wellington and Sailor Bill,
paying for their practice time to be a rack boy. I'm the best and fastest racker on the planet, I practiced a lot.

When playing high end players the 10,000 hours rule changes,,,,,to 10,000 lifetimes.
Play below, slightly above, and equal your rating. Play Shane once a month and practice your racking technique.
The arm must be in motion.

A straight stroke, stroke technique, pin point tip and aim accuracy pockets the ball and rests the cue ball.
Complete knowledge of the cue ball and strike arm delivery is the name of the game.
I feel the best way to learn the cue ball is to learn playing inside the cue ball, at the core. After you learn the inside you begin to branch out. When you're comfortable at the extreme edges you are good to go, and not until then. If you think you are, you're lying to yourself.

Pocketing the ball is a given,,, cue ball control is king. Hug the cue ball, buy it a cue ball pillow and sleep next to it.
Save all the other drama for ya mama, everything else is easy, compared.
 
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boogieman

It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that ping.
I guess that's to make it more possible to beat the ghost, I think I've heard that pros break and run 30% of racks. Also it removes the variable of getting hooked on the break. I think it can be a good measure of your offensive capability and progress, but like you point out, it's not a good assessment of what you could do in a match. I hate when some pooltuber is doing pattern play drills that start with BIH. I need to learn how to make something happen coming to the table in the worst possible position. I'm going to start trying to do that, play both sides but one side is ONLY trying to hide the cue ball. Whenever I try the table always looks like I can run it out and I can't not go for it.
I like playing solo and trying to screw myself over with safeties and such. I want to leave ridiculous shots for the next guy and this is a good way to practice. I try to get out when I can get out though. It's a pretty good way to practice playing smart, but it can get frustrating at times. I've had very long safety exchanges with myself before.

If I find myself getting frustrated I'll allow myself BIH if I miss a safety or miss a ball I'm legitimately trying to make. This is only if I'm getting frustrated, though at that point I'll usually go to some stop shot drills or some other drill that I'm working on.
 

boogieman

It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that ping.
You learn to run, after you crawl and walk.
You improve at pool when your arm is in motion as much as possible, not sitting in a chair.
If you're a low level player and want to mix it up with shortstops that fine, once a month. Some may feel sorry for you and dog it, nobody ever felt sorry for me. But I was happy as hell playing Jimmy Wellington and Sailor Bill,
paying for their practice time to be a rack boy. I'm the best and fastest racker on the planet, I practiced a lot.

When playing high end players the 10,000 hours rule changes,,,,,to 10,000 lifetimes.
Play below, slightly above, and equal your rating. Play Shane once a month and practice your racking technique.
The arm must be in motion.

A straight stroke, stroke technique, pin point tip and aim accuracy pockets the ball and rests the cue ball.
Complete knowledge of the cue ball and strike arm delivery is the name of the game.
I feel the best way to learn the cue ball is to learn playing inside the cue ball, at the core. After you learn the inside you begin to branch out. When you you're comfortable at the extreme edges you are good to go, and not until then. If you think you are, you're lying to yourself.

Pocketing the ball is a given,,, cue ball control is king. Hug the cue ball, buy it a cue ball pillow and sleep next to it.
Save all the other drama for ya mama, everything else is easy, compared.
Good post. I think it somewhat depends on if you can find a few players who match your love for the game and intense desire to get better. If you find players on the same wavelength, you can get a lot even playing better players.

I play two players who are better than me. One is about 70 higher fargo and the other is about 235 points higher. The thing is I play well enough that I'm a threat to the 70, but he normally whoops my ass real good. He can beat me but I keep him honest and focused. I'm not really a threat to the 235 higher guy but I can get on a tear now and then. They are both good friends and I'm in that spot where I let them practice not making mistakes. We're not the jealous type, we celebrate good shots, good outs, BnR etc. They give me tips, options they would have done on patterns etc. I find it very helpful. They let me do it my way, but through observation I've learned a ton. We watch out for each other, if one is struggling we'll watch closely and see if we notice anything different about their game. Staying down on the shot, something looking off etc.

I also play with a player who is somewhat under my rating. He's a good friend too. I can beat him, but I gotta keep my head in the game.

We all also like to "skunk" the other player if we're doing races to say 3, 5, 7 etc. That makes for a fun time, especially if there's an upset that's a skunk too. We practice a lot of shit talk at our practice tables so when we run into it in the wild it has no effect.

Most people won't gain much from playing higher level players, but I think I do. My main problem is lack of focus. I focus much better while playing better players because I have to. It's easy to pay attention and focus when one mistake spells doom.
 

buckshotshoey

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Good post. I think it somewhat depends on if you can find a few players who match your love for the game and intense desire to get better. If you find players on the same wavelength, you can get a lot even playing better players.

I play two players who are better than me. One is about 70 higher fargo and the other is about 235 points higher. The thing is I play well enough that I'm a threat to the 70, but he normally whoops my ass real good. He can beat me but I keep him honest and focused. I'm not really a threat to the 235 higher guy but I can get on a tear now and then. They are both good friends and I'm in that spot where I let them practice not making mistakes. We're not the jealous type, we celebrate good shots, good outs, BnR etc. They give me tips, options they would have done on patterns etc. I find it very helpful. They let me do it my way, but through observation I've learned a ton. We watch out for each other, if one is struggling we'll watch closely and see if we notice anything different about their game. Staying down on the shot, something looking off etc.

I also play with a player who is somewhat under my rating. He's a good friend too. I can beat him, but I gotta keep my head in the game.

We all also like to "skunk" the other player if we're doing races to say 3, 5, 7 etc. That makes for a fun time, especially if there's an upset that's a skunk too. We practice a lot of shit talk at our practice tables so when we run into it in the wild it has no effect.

Most people won't gain much from playing higher level players, but I think I do. My main problem is lack of focus. I focus much better while playing better players because I have to. It's easy to pay attention and focus when one mistake spells doom.
Your last paragraph said it all.
 

Jimmorrison

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Good post. I think it somewhat depends on if you can find a few players who match your love for the game and intense desire to get better. If you find players on the same wavelength, you can get a lot even playing better players.

I play two players who are better than me. One is about 70 higher fargo and the other is about 235 points higher. The thing is I play well enough that I'm a threat to the 70, but he normally whoops my ass real good. He can beat me but I keep him honest and focused. I'm not really a threat to the 235 higher guy but I can get on a tear now and then. They are both good friends and I'm in that spot where I let them practice not making mistakes. We're not the jealous type, we celebrate good shots, good outs, BnR etc. They give me tips, options they would have done on patterns etc. I find it very helpful. They let me do it my way, but through observation I've learned a ton. We watch out for each other, if one is struggling we'll watch closely and see if we notice anything different about their game. Staying down on the shot, something looking off etc.

I also play with a player who is somewhat under my rating. He's a good friend too. I can beat him, but I gotta keep my head in the game.

We all also like to "skunk" the other player if we're doing races to say 3, 5, 7 etc. That makes for a fun time, especially if there's an upset that's a skunk too. We practice a lot of shit talk at our practice tables so when we run into it in the wild it has no effect.

Most people won't gain much from playing higher level players, but I think I do. My main problem is lack of focus. I focus much better while playing better players because I have to. It's easy to pay attention and focus when one mistake spells doom.
As far as pool goes, I consider you a very fortunate person! You are lucky to have a group like that, to shoot with.
 

boogieman

It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that ping.
As far as pool goes, I consider you a very fortunate person! You are lucky to have a group like that, to shoot with.
I'm very thankful. It can be hard to find people who love the game. These guys are all good dudes too, no drama. Just decent hard working people who love pool.
 

bbb

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
Good post. I think it somewhat depends on if you can find a few players who match your love for the game and intense desire to get better. If you find players on the same wavelength, you can get a lot even playing better players.

I play two players who are better than me. One is about 70 higher fargo and the other is about 235 points higher. The thing is I play well enough that I'm a threat to the 70, but he normally whoops my ass real good. He can beat me but I keep him honest and focused. I'm not really a threat to the 235 higher guy but I can get on a tear now and then. They are both good friends and I'm in that spot where I let them practice not making mistakes. We're not the jealous type, we celebrate good shots, good outs, BnR etc. They give me tips, options they would have done on patterns etc. I find it very helpful. They let me do it my way, but through observation I've learned a ton. We watch out for each other, if one is struggling we'll watch closely and see if we notice anything different about their game. Staying down on the shot, something looking off etc.

I also play with a player who is somewhat under my rating. He's a good friend too. I can beat him, but I gotta keep my head in the game.

We all also like to "skunk" the other player if we're doing races to say 3, 5, 7 etc. That makes for a fun time, especially if there's an upset that's a skunk too. We practice a lot of shit talk at our practice tables so when we run into it in the wild it has no effect.

Most people won't gain much from playing higher level players, but I think I do. My main problem is lack of focus. I focus much better while playing better players because I have to. It's easy to pay attention and focus when one mistake spells doom.
What is your fargo?
 

Willowbrook Wolfy

Your wushu is weak!
Gold Member
Good post. I think it somewhat depends on if you can find a few players who match your love for the game and intense desire to get better. If you find players on the same wavelength, you can get a lot even playing better players.

I play two players who are better than me. One is about 70 higher fargo and the other is about 235 points higher. The thing is I play well enough that I'm a threat to the 70, but he normally whoops my ass real good. He can beat me but I keep him honest and focused. I'm not really a threat to the 235 higher guy but I can get on a tear now and then. They are both good friends and I'm in that spot where I let them practice not making mistakes. We're not the jealous type, we celebrate good shots, good outs, BnR etc. They give me tips, options they would have done on patterns etc. I find it very helpful. They let me do it my way, but through observation I've learned a ton. We watch out for each other, if one is struggling we'll watch closely and see if we notice anything different about their game. Staying down on the shot, something looking off etc.

I also play with a player who is somewhat under my rating. He's a good friend too. I can beat him, but I gotta keep my head in the game.

We all also like to "skunk" the other player if we're doing races to say 3, 5, 7 etc. That makes for a fun time, especially if there's an upset that's a skunk too. We practice a lot of shit talk at our practice tables so when we run into it in the wild it has no effect.

Most people won't gain much from playing higher level players, but I think I do. My main problem is lack of focus. I focus much better while playing better players because I have to. It's easy to pay attention and focus when one mistake spells doom.
I’m sure regardless if you are the best one in your group you have the best ping of all of them Boogie. It was nice. Saw a guy the other day that I knew from 20 years ago. We played three sets. Last one was for all the marbles. We both took one and Went hill/hill on 3rd. I played bad position on the 8, and I lost it all-$2. Lol. That was the best 45 min of playing someone I have had in a while. We just both want to get better and it’s a lot more fun that way. Plus it gave me a better mindset for practice the next day.
 

SmoothStroke

Swim for the win.
Silver Member
My friend and I woud play cheap sets, we were good friends, equal in skill level.
We played nine ball races to seven., $ 2.00 a set,,,$1.00 for a runount,,, you had to shoot the 9 and play for the cue ball on either spot, so you played position for the spot. You got .25 cents for landing on the spot. I know it sounds silly it should be $10.00 but that was it. Big winner paid time or we split. Other times we would play for dinner.
We never played fun fun.
 

Minnesota Phat

Active 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. 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.

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? 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.👍😉
I have this problem in basketball, because overcoming the challenge of not being 6'6" is tough in basketball. If I dedicated every hour of my life to basketball, I could probably be pretty good, but a 6'6" guy who does the same will probably still be better than me.

I don't see this same rule applying in pool, but I think the mental aspect becomes more important - it is VERY DIFFICULT to get really good at pool, and there is always something new to learn.
 

boogieman

It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that ping.
My friend and I woud play cheap sets, we were good friends, equal in skill level.
We played nine ball races to seven., $ 2.00 a set,,,$1.00 for a runount,,, you had to shoot the 9 and play for the cue ball on either spot, so you played position for the spot. You got .25 cents for landing on the spot. I know it sounds silly it should be $10.00 but that was it. Big winner paid time or we split. Other times we would play for dinner.
We never played fun fun.
I have a 3 ring binder repair doughnut that is printed to look like a pink doughnut with sprinkles in dead center table. $1 for landing on it after the break, or after the money ball. It's the safest dollar in existence, but it will get your head right! It's been 6 months and nobody has won that dusty cobweb ridden dollar! Better to win than hit that dollar after the money ball. After the break it's a good goal! 😅

I like to tease that it will be a $5 like a progressive jackpot after someone wins the $1. 😂
 

boogieman

It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that ping.
What is your fargo?
Shit... Time to come clean!

Well, 419 with a robustness of 17. That unknown isn't worth betting against unless you trust a robustness of 17! ;)

It's been a year since I've been in any tournaments that report fargo.

TBH I think that when it catches up with me it will be minimum 450. I'd only been back a year when I got on the radar. :)

It's not sandbagging when you put the work in. It's not my fault that league and matches between friends don't go to the app. 600 is the goal. :LOL:
 

straightline

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Shit... Time to come clean!

Well, 419 with a robustness of 17. That unknown isn't worth betting against unless you trust a robustness of 17! ;)

It's been a year since I've been in any tournaments that report fargo.

TBH I think that when it catches up with me it will be minimum 450. I'd only been back a year when I got on the radar. :)

It's not sandbagging when you put the work in. It's not my fault that league and matches between friends don't go to the app. 600 is the goal. :LOL:
Oh damn! You get the last 3!

Kidding. I'm a zero...:geek:
 

Bavafongoul

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
After decades of playing, watching and reading about pool, I’ve learned one thing that seems all too common.
The vast majority of players do not know how to practice, don’t have a practice plan & don’t measure their play.

They’ll play racks vs. themselves as the opponent or set up shots and eventually just start shooting racks of pool.
The best players have a practice plan in mind or more simply put, when they practice, it’s always done with purpose.

How often do you spend practicing per week? Is it only when you can squeeze in the time? Obviously having a table
at home simplifies matters. When you practice, what do you compare yourself against? Do you work on one thing or
try to practice lots of things? What is the weakest part of your game and how much do you spend only on that? In
order to improve, you have to be able to measure your performance? Are you getting better, having a bad day or are
you plateauing? Do you rely on practice drills? Do you video your stroking action? Do you critique your own videos &
make notes about what needs improvement? Do you use a practice partner, sort of like having a gym buddy? How
much do you study instruction material and do you comprehend all the training fundamentals?

The majority of players I see usually play pool, whatever game it is they select, and shoot the same shot over if they
miss it, or practice bank shots and never….literally never practice shots using a bridge. I like to shoot pool switching
hands every shot because I hate using a bridge which is why I have some cue extenders but I’d still rather shoot the
shot opposite handed. It just feels more like a stroke to me so that’s how come I don’t practice with a bridge or I would.
 

Minnesota Phat

Active member
After decades of playing, watching and reading about pool, I’ve learned one thing that seems all too common.
The vast majority of players do not know how to practice, don’t have a practice plan & don’t measure their play.
Is it fair to ask this question: "Do you love it?"

I love pool - I usually lose, when there is anything at stake, but I love the game so much that I don't care.

Recently I've discovered that with my all-purpleheart Schmelke break cue I can break so hard that the cue ball jumps after impacting the apex ball. Take my money, if you're a pro who can hustle me, but that gets my blood pumping.

I just love it, and even if I lose all the money games, I still love this game.

If I get to shoot, I'm happy. The end. What else about life can you say that about?
 

jgpalmore

New member
Mechanics, mechanics, mechanics. Watch Fedor. Even Efren has consistent mechanics. Body/head alignment on shot line standing and remain on shot line when down. Then deliver a straight stroke regardless of speed, english, pauses, etc. Though not completely necessary, it helps to stop at cue ball on last stroke, perhaps a pause at back swing, then smooth stroke through cue ball at all speeds (practice different speeds). No elbow drop, light grip helps straightness of stroke. From there watch the pros. There is plenty to see and learn on YouTube. The sky is the limit. Always something new to learn. Practice, practice, practice.
 

capt hook

Registered
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. 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.

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? 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.👍😉
I have watched videos and watched tons of pro matches and learned tons about the "ART" of pool. Although my mental game was a 6/7, I knew something was missing in my mechanics. One lesson with somebody who knows what he's talking about and I'm ready to jump up from a 3[APA] and a 4 [UPA] to a 6/7. Ready to run over some of the big boys. All the practice in the world isn't going to raise your ceiling. I preach "don't worry about making balls, concentrate on controlling the cue ball." Combine that with help executing good mechanics and a good pre shot routine and you're golden
 
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