Stroke limit/skill apex

SmoothStroke

Swim for the win.
Silver Member
That's tough. I'm definitely not progressing as fast as I'd like, but I do see progress. My frustration is that my game performance doesn't seem to improve even though I get better at the drills I do. I have to admit that I'm a bit of a pessimist, I expect a lot and feel like the worse games are me failing to live up to my potential, it's rare that I shoot better than I think I should. I need to get my head straight, not my stroke.
Improving at anything is a journey. Drills are fine, the right stroke technique drills are what's important, shot drills not so much. Pool is an extremely difficult game, moving up in ranks is a series of steps. When a step finally clicks mentally and physically, you advance, maybe 1/2 a ball, maybe 2 balls, nothing is a gimme.

You should expect a lot out of yourself, everyone should. When you are struggling, thinking you should be doing better, not near your potential, filling your head with pessimistic thoughts is a recipe for failure, and a very, very long road to improvement.
The second things go bad run a quick check through your head, analyze it, and move on, quickly.
Don't dwell and mope that you missed a shot because you stood up, miscued, took your eye off the ball,etc, etc.
Send positive messages to your brain, dont let up, put yourself above yourself.

Remind yourself, what am I doing when I'm doing it right, I'm relaxed, loose, comfortable in my stance, dropping in softly, soft eyes, my stroke feels smooth, in control of my cueball, bridge is soild, my bridge is at 100% as I drop down, I'm not fumbling, I'm staying down, focused,,,etc, etc. etc.,,,,,,
I feel good, solid, I'm hitting on all cylinders, I'm locked in,, in tune.

You're going to miss, everyone misses, champs miss hangers, don't dwell when you miss, move on.
Think positive, or the end of the world lives in your head..... Bring your stroke.
 

Fatboy

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
We had an SL1 on our team that has worked her butt off (not really, she still has just enough left) to improve and she remains a 1. I mean, she would show up an hour before league and practice, a buddy of mine (a very good stroke mechanic) worked with her but no luck. She came to my house for lessons and no luck. This was all about 1.5 years ago, she had been trying for at least a year by then. Literally 6 months ago she texted me asking if I could give her more lessons. I declined, some people will just never get it. Great person, just not a pool player.
Pool isn’t for everyone. Nice of you to help out. Respect!
 

Chili Palmer

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Improving at anything is a journey. Drills are fine, the right stroke technique drills are what's important, shot drills not so much. Pool is an extremely difficult game, moving up in ranks is a series of steps. When a step finally clicks mentally and physically, you advance, maybe 1/2 a ball, maybe 2 balls, nothing is a gimme.

You should expect a lot out of yourself, everyone should. When you are struggling, thinking you should be doing better, not near your potential, filling your head with pessimistic thoughts is a recipe for failure, and a very, very long road to improvement.
The second things go bad run a quick check through your head, analyze it, and move on, quickly.
Don't dwell and mope that you missed a shot because you stood up, miscued, took your eye off the ball,etc, etc.
Send positive messages to your brain, dont let up, put yourself above yourself.

Remind yourself, what am I doing when I'm doing it right, I'm relaxed, loose, comfortable in my stance, dropping in softly, soft eyes, my stroke feels smooth, in control of my cueball, bridge is soild, my bridge is at 100% as I drop down, I'm not fumbling, I'm staying down, focused,,,etc, etc. etc.,,,,,,
I feel good, solid, I'm hitting on all cylinders, I'm locked in,, in tune.

You're going to miss, everyone misses, champs miss hangers, don't dwell when you miss, move on.
Think positive, or the end of the world lives in your head..... Bring your stroke.
Well said.

My take is it’s a law of averages, At my level I can make any shot put in front of me but I can’t make every shot every time. I know as a 600 Fargo Rate player I might play at a 650 level but I also might play at a 550 player so when I miss an easy shot I don’t let it get to me and when I shoot at a 650 level I revel in the moment.

The key is, enjoy the high’s and learn from the low’s. If you miss, expect to lose but learn why you missed. An example is I have learned that I don’t spend enough time focusing on the OB prior to the final stroke so when it really counts and I need to bear down I make sure to spend a little extra time (split seconds) focusing on the contact point of the OB, doing that calms my nerves and the rest (stay down, follow through, etc) comes natural because I put the time in on those things and it usually works out for the e best. Long, straight shots is another example, for some reason I practiced those early on and am not afraid of them and shoot them fairly well because I know what it takes to make them, focus and a smooth stroke (I did find your screen name funny when I started writing this because it’s 100% true) is needed.
 
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SmoothStroke

Swim for the win.
Silver Member
That's tough. I'm definitely not progressing as fast as I'd like, but I do see progress. My frustration is that my game performance doesn't seem to improve even though I get better at the drills I do. I have to admit that I'm a bit of a pessimist, I expect a lot and feel like the worse games are me failing to live up to my potential, it's rare that I shoot better than I think I should. I need to get my head straight, not my stroke.
If I may babble a bit more.
When to incorporate new ingredients into an old recipe. Introducing mental and mechanical practice into game play.
We're all different, some of us apply our learnings in small or medium pieces, others go full bore.
As long as you're practicing and applying the right things, experiment and see what works best for you.

The overall concensus is to - Play What You Know.
I agree to a point, but there comes a time where you have to send it in. Nobody has ever won anything, at anything, by being gun shy, you have to go for it, all in, and prepare to fail.
Frustration comes with the territory,,, stay positive.

Dogging it and getting your head kicked in while trying to improve is routine. Losing a pool match happens daily to the best and the worst in the world.
Not rising to your potential is part of the learning process.
Losing is part of the program and drives us for perfection.

Don't be gun shy
Failing to prepare is preparing for failure.
 

BlueRaider

Registered
As Mike Page noted, I think the important thing with improving beyond a certain level is knowing whether you are in "skill equilibrium," which isn't always the case for players in the high C to B range. On Dr. Dave's website, there's a skill level breakdown that includes this description of B players from Jude Rosenstock:

"Really the beginning of the run out player. If they make a ball on the break and get position on the 1 ball, they should have a reasonable expectation to get out. Any cluster or unusual position play will diminish their chances significantly. Usually, B players possess unusual strength in either pocketing, strategy or position play. Rarely two of three, never all three. Their creativity is usually limited at this level but you may begin to see glimpses of what’s to come."

In other words, players at this level are often leaving easy improvement on the table by not focusing on the right things when they practice or even when they play. Instead, they lean on their strength(s) over and over, because sometimes that works for them. That's where Tin Man's argument for improvement comes into play IMO.

Players who already have pretty sound mechanics and ball pocketing ability miss longish shots that require speed and spin and think they need to improve their mechanics even further, but instead they should be focusing on making their leaves better and making their average shots easier by playing better patterns and unlocking more of the cue ball in their shot repertoire.

The opposite is rarely the case where a guy plays good patterns and can dissect a rack quickly and accurately but simply can't pocket the balls or control the cue ball consistently, although I'm sure there are a few players like that out there.

Switching gears like this mentally isn't easy. Speaking from experience, it can be tough to go from a mindset of wanting to have perfect mechanics and then letting everything else fall into place to suddenly "forgetting" about them, so to speak, and instead looking at the game from a much more cerebral point of view.

I can easily spend hours tinkering with my mechanics and stance and stroke and leave the pool room feeling satisfied because I made 10/10 long-distance straight-in stop shots on a 9' Diamond, but then I'll throw 7 balls out on the table and try to run them in order and end up scrambling after just a few balls and realize I'm already out of line and fighting for my life to run them out. That's disheartening, and I think it's easy for players to shy away from the stuff they're bad at and instead try to ultra-refine their strengths because that's fun and comfortable and rewarding in the moment.
 

hang-the-9

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
So in other words, leagues can be a good place to learn the finer points of the game?

Not often, but anything is possible. I have not seen many teams or other players that try to teach. There are a lot more discussions on sandbagging and handicaps than on how to shoot a shot properly or mechanics.
 

Chili Palmer

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Sure can. The SL 7 I recruited to my team was a 680 FR when he joined. By far the strongest player in the league. Very generous with tips and expertise...it's like a free group lesson for an hour before and after league matches.

I'm assuming that's 8B? He would surely be an SL9 in 9B.

When I played me and the co-captain loved hanging out with people afterwards and showing them stuff. He's a mechanics guy and I'm a theory guy so it worked out well.
 
So in other words, leagues can be a good place to learn the finer points of the game?
Absolutely. If your on a table you are learning. Leagues are obviously not going to propel you to the levels to take down SVB, but if your playing consider it practice. I joined leagues every night of the week because I've found that's the cheapest way to play pool. $8 bucks to play and a practice table included, So i can basically go play all night for $8, versus renting a table for $5-10 per hour to just go play. You just have to be disciplined and work on your game
 

buckshotshoey

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Absolutely. If your on a table you are learning. Leagues are obviously not going to propel you to the levels to take down SVB, but if your playing consider it practice. I joined leagues every night of the week because I've found that's the cheapest way to play pool. $8 bucks to play and a practice table included, So i can basically go play all night for $8, versus renting a table for $5-10 per hour to just go play. You just have to be disciplined and work on your game
I believe it was leagues where SVB got started.
 

Straightpool_99

I see dead balls
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. 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.👍😉
Your friend is likely practising the wrong things. Here is how you improve at pool, or anything really:

1. Determine the current situation REALISTICALLY. So for your friend the APA 5, he has A LOT of shortcomings in his pool game. The skill level alone tells me this. He needs to figure out what those shortcomings are, and he probably needs professional help or at least an experienced eye to tell what those problems are. He's in a situation called "learned helplessness" right now, where he's become passive due to lack of success in previous attempts. The way to break out of this is to get success, no matter how small, in ordre to regain a feeling of agency and purpose in his training.
2. Determine what his goals are. The long term goals can be lofty and "unrealistic", but he also has to set realistically attainable short term goals. The first ones, especially should be very modest. HOWEVER, he should make it so that the short term goals are direct stepping stones to attain the long term goals. In pool that means, if you are an APA 5, your first priority should probably not be working on your masses, or other obscure shots. He should get rock solid on the simple stuff first. So getting draw shots right could be a stepping stone to better position play, for instance. Simple does not mean easy, but rather fundamental...I bet he probably is not good at pocketing all kinds of shots at that level. He should probably first find a routine shot that he misses a lot and work on that until he doesn't. That would be a great first step. It may seem hopeless for someone of that level, who likely has many flaws in his game. However, remember the old saying " the man with one enemy will meet him everywhere". Fixing the worst shot will likely have a large effect. Missing the shot just once in a short race could be enough to lose a match.
3. Set up a plan to attain the short term goals. Again, he should get the help of someone experienced. If not, he should use video recordings to see what his problems are. In that case no excuses should ever be made for mistakes observed on video. He misses a certain shot, means he missed it, no excuses. Shots should be analyzed very carefully. Cut angle and speed and table position should be noted for future reference. Most players gloss over their actual problems to protect their egos. "I missed it because x.." If the person is an amateur, he may not know why he missed it, but rather is under a misapprehension. Better to say he missed it, and then work on the shot at the table to see if maybe then he sees something wrong. Lets say he plays poor position when he needs to use the rails. Well, the plan must then obviously be to work on this some kind of way. If he likes drills, then use drills. If not invent some sort of "rules" when he plays, that he has to use one rail or two on every shot, or something of that nature.
4. Work dilligently towards achieving goals. Doesn't mean it has to be every day or whatever. But regularly, and in a somewhat structured fashion.
5. After a while, analyze and interpret results.
 
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boogieman

It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that ping.
We had an SL1 on our team that has worked her butt off (not really, she still has just enough left) to improve and she remains a 1. I mean, she would show up an hour before league and practice, a buddy of mine (a very good stroke mechanic) worked with her but no luck. She came to my house for lessons and no luck. This was all about 1.5 years ago, she had been trying for at least a year by then. Literally 6 months ago she texted me asking if I could give her more lessons. I declined, some people will just never get it. Great person, just not a pool player.
I am not an instructor, but the only drill she needs is throwing balls on the table and taking BIH after every shot. 1 month of that and then BIH only if she misses a BIH shot. See where she is from there. It might sound insulting but if she truly wants to get better she will follow the program. She'll double her ball count in a month that way. After 2 she will understand what she needs in the future. If not, buy her a drink on league night or let her play some songs on the jukebox.
 

boogieman

It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that ping.
That's tough. I'm definitely not progressing as fast as I'd like, but I do see progress. My frustration is that my game performance doesn't seem to improve even though I get better at the drills I do. I have to admit that I'm a bit of a pessimist, I expect a lot and feel like the worse games are me failing to live up to my potential, it's rare that I shoot better than I think I should. I need to get my head straight, not my stroke.
Pool is 90%+ mental. Practice is for beating your dick in the dirt. Competition is for allowing the pool player you've forged in practice to run wild. No thinking. Shoot the shot. Trust the subconscious because it's 1000x more powerful than conscious thought. If you find this difficult you need to play more folks. Some may need a very small wager to get serious, many do not. You want to see as many people's games as you can.

Do I have a shot that will win the game? Yes!... shoot it. No!... make it so you will have a better table on your next turn. Simple binary choices and you may be surprised.
 

Chili Palmer

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Pool is 90%+ mental. Practice is for beating your dick in the dirt. Competition is for allowing the pool player you've forged in practice to run wild. No thinking. Shoot the shot. Trust the subconscious because it's 1000x more powerful than conscious thought. If you find this difficult you need to play more folks. Some may need a very small wager to get serious, many do not. You want to see as many people's games as you can.

Do I have a shot that will win the game? Yes!... shoot it. No!... make it so you will have a better table on your next turn. Simple binary choices and you may be surprised.

100% agree with the subconscious aspect, just let it flow. My granddaughter just had a 50 states and capitals test. When I was working with her and I was confident she had all the information in her head (repetition, repetition, repetition - which she has learned from piano lessons) but couldn't quite put it together I started pushing her by simply starting at the top of the list and running through them as fast as I can encouraging her to just say what was on her mind. In the beginning I made sure to stay consistent - I name the capital and she repeats the capital followed by the state, this creates consistency. From there I showed her how to break that down so she could remember on her own terms (watched how she looked at the map, looked for common errors/denominators (Columbus, Ohio versus Columbia, SC - South Carolina ends in a - just like Columbia - simple stuff) and patterns (Midwest states are generally lined up vertically so we used acronyms to remember them, Louisiana looks like an L, etc.).

Funny story, and keep in mind, I like to push people to their limits - one night we were studying and by happenstance the light bulb in the room started flickering and her guinea pig was pissed for some reason and was creating a racket in the other room and it felt like an interrogation (think CIA in Vietnam) and I just hammered her going down the list and she came very close to nailing it - that was day two.

If the information is in your head don't let your brain get in the way ;)

Still waiting for the test results but I'm pretty sure she passed.
 

Ratta

Hearing the balls.....
Silver Member
When talent goes to work-game over.

SVB works harder than any pool player I’ve ever seen-ever. He has talent too and was trained properly from day one as well. His results speak for themselves.

I’ve seen more talented players than Shane that didn’t have his work ethic and they didn’t enjoy the success Shane has.

Best
Fatboy<——-just watched Karl’s video of Shane’s great chits from last week, I’m all pumped up💪💪
Amen brother!

I am often amused if "railbirds" start to talk about Shane, - or other professionals. The guys who are on top 1 to 10 atm are usually also the players who put in more as the other guys- it s that easy. Many many ppl also say "Filler has talent"- sure he has- but imo the most don t really could imagine, how much time he is investing in his *professional pool job". You can be sure, that Joshua is also workin like a horse on his game.
 

Ratta

Hearing the balls.....
Silver Member
I've hit above 700 Fargo (with about 1400 robustness) have beaten some good players (high 700's 1 800) and have won some pretty good tournaments. All I know is once I started taking my practice as serious as I did playing a tournament my game sky rocketed and has consistently stayed at a high level. As long as I keep up with my regular practice/drills and keep focused.

Another key note I noticed over time is practicing with others. If I go to league or tournament, I will never hit balls with someone else. 99% of the players in my area don't take it seriously enough and it will just throw me off my game. I will always practice by myself. I'll throw the 15 balls on the table and do straight in shots for first 15 balls. Bottoms/tops/stun etc... to get my stroke and mechanics all dialed in, then try to break and run racks like as if I'm playing someone else, I will not take ball in hand and play like the ghost. Then once I get a good few racks in I will practice my break for 15mins or so. If my break is dialed in I will go back to playing racks.

I will play as if I'm two players, try to hook myself, pushout if needed and run out if it's possible. I will never take on shots I wouldn't do in a match. 8ball its just break and run. Playing the ghost is unrealistic too me, how often do you get ball in hand in a match?

I try to practice 2hrs a day and if I can't it's every OTHER day. I work 50+hrs a week have a wife and son. So time is super critical for me. If I'm not focused practicing, I won't practice. I by no means consider myself an awesome player. I'm always just trying to get better and better.

If I'm in a tournament and have long waits between matches I will do drills to keep my stroke straight and practice my break constantly. I don't even like being bothered when I'm practicing. I feel like a dick sometimes but don't like to waste time lol

I also keep a spare cueball in my cue case. Sometimes there are absolutely no 9fts or 8fts to practice on inbetween matches. Almost all the rooms around here have atleast 1 snooker table. I will do up and down drills with cueball to keep my stroke straight. Its better than sitting around and doing nothing lol

You wrote a sentence, that should be everyones goal-- "to always leave the table as a better player"-- no matter if it was a practice session, a friendly match- or in competition.

Because one thing is written in stone: Attitude is a decision- your own decision!
 

buckshotshoey

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
100% agree with the subconscious aspect, just let it flow. My granddaughter just had a 50 states and capitals test. When I was working with her and I was confident she had all the information in her head (repetition, repetition, repetition - which she has learned from piano lessons) but couldn't quite put it together I started pushing her by simply starting at the top of the list and running through them as fast as I can encouraging her to just say what was on her mind. In the beginning I made sure to stay consistent - I name the capital and she repeats the capital followed by the state, this creates consistency. From there I showed her how to break that down so she could remember on her own terms (watched how she looked at the map, looked for common errors/denominators (Columbus, Ohio versus Columbia, SC - South Carolina ends in a - just like Columbia - simple stuff) and patterns (Midwest states are generally lined up vertically so we used acronyms to remember them, Louisiana looks like an L, etc.).

Funny story, and keep in mind, I like to push people to their limits - one night we were studying and by happenstance the light bulb in the room started flickering and her guinea pig was pissed for some reason and was creating a racket in the other room and it felt like an interrogation (think CIA in Vietnam) and I just hammered her going down the list and she came very close to nailing it - that was day two.

If the information is in your head don't let your brain get in the way ;)

Still waiting for the test results but I'm pretty sure she passed.
In this day and age, you might get a lawsuit from the teachers union.... for doing their job and you are non union! That and showing them how inadequate somebod them are.

Good for you though. And better for your granddaughter!
 

Island Drive

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. 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.👍😉
Ask him/her if they have ever played Any other competitive sports.

I've run into some that never have, and took up this game because it looked easy and that anyone could do it but.
Only met one person/man in my life that got worse every time they played.
 

Chili Palmer

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I've hit above 700 Fargo (with about 1400 robustness) have beaten some good players (high 700's 1 800) and have won some pretty good tournaments. All I know is once I started taking my practice as serious as I did playing a tournament my game sky rocketed and has consistently stayed at a high level. As long as I keep up with my regular practice/drills and keep focused.

Another key note I noticed over time is practicing with others. If I go to league or tournament, I will never hit balls with someone else. 99% of the players in my area don't take it seriously enough and it will just throw me off my game. I will always practice by myself. I'll throw the 15 balls on the table and do straight in shots for first 15 balls. Bottoms/tops/stun etc... to get my stroke and mechanics all dialed in, then try to break and run racks like as if I'm playing someone else, I will not take ball in hand and play like the ghost. Then once I get a good few racks in I will practice my break for 15mins or so. If my break is dialed in I will go back to playing racks.

I will play as if I'm two players, try to hook myself, pushout if needed and run out if it's possible. I will never take on shots I wouldn't do in a match. 8ball its just break and run. Playing the ghost is unrealistic too me, how often do you get ball in hand in a match?

I try to practice 2hrs a day and if I can't it's every OTHER day. I work 50+hrs a week have a wife and son. So time is super critical for me. If I'm not focused practicing, I won't practice. I by no means consider myself an awesome player. I'm always just trying to get better and better.

If I'm in a tournament and have long waits between matches I will do drills to keep my stroke straight and practice my break constantly. I don't even like being bothered when I'm practicing. I feel like a dick sometimes but don't like to waste time lol

I also keep a spare cueball in my cue case. Sometimes there are absolutely no 9fts or 8fts to practice on inbetween matches. Almost all the rooms around here have atleast 1 snooker table. I will do up and down drills with cueball to keep my stroke straight. Its better than sitting around and doing nothing lol

I don't play competitive anymore but used to do the same. Player A and Player B and if I was practicing, leave me alone.
 
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