The problem of the 'world champion' argument

Tin Man

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
I want to address once and for all comments like this:

-The world's best didn't get there with lessons, they got there by playing 24/7 for years

-The world's best had a gift of talent and were playing great at 12, they weren't playing leagues and posting on AZB

-The world's best competed, drilled, and trained perpetually, that's the only way to get to the top, a few hours a week isn't enough, you can't get there with a wife/family/job/lack of talent


In short, when people are discussing a viable path for people to follow to improve at pool, these roads are often dismissed because "that's not how the champions got there!" To that I respond "You're right!" IF you want to be a world champion then I agree it will be difficult while working and raising kids and with a few hours a week. We are in total agreement.

What I disagree with is the premise that if a path doesn't make you #1 in the world than it is the 'wrong road'. Wrong for who? What about the 99.99% of pool players who aren't prepared to sacrifice their lives to follow the path of a world champion, but that would still like to improve and reach their potential on the table?

For those players trying to follow the same path as the world champion doesn't work. You know what does? Those other roads. Roads the champions don't take. Roads like leagues, a few hours of practice here or there, some focused training, a good sparring partner, etc. You're right that you won't see champions follow this formula, and that this won't take you to the top of pool. But that doesn't mean it's without value because for the overwhelming majority of us it's the best path for us to reach our pool goals.
 

CESSNA10

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
I want to address once and for all comments like this:

-The world's best didn't get there with lessons, they got there by playing 24/7 for years

-The world's best had a gift of talent and were playing great at 12, they weren't playing leagues and posting on AZB

-The world's best competed, drilled, and trained perpetually, that's the only way to get to the top, a few hours a week isn't enough, you can't get there with a wife/family/job/lack of talent


In short, when people are discussing a viable path for people to follow to improve at pool, these roads are often dismissed because "that's not how the champions got there!" To that I respond "You're right!" IF you want to be a world champion then I agree it will be difficult while working and raising kids and with a few hours a week. We are in total agreement.

What I disagree with is the premise that if a path doesn't make you #1 in the world than it is the 'wrong road'. Wrong for who? What about the 99.99% of pool players who aren't prepared to sacrifice their lives to follow the path of a world champion, but that would still like to improve and reach their potential on the table?

For those players trying to follow the same path as the world champion doesn't work. You know what does? Those other roads. Roads the champions don't take. Roads like leagues, a few hours of practice here or there, some focused training, a good sparring partner, etc. You're right that you won't see champions follow this formula, and that this won't take you to the top of pool. But that doesn't mean it's without value because for the overwhelming majority of us it's the best path for us to reach our pool goals.
In my opinion the best way to improve is find a player superior to
your skills and play as much straight pool against him as you can. All your games will improve
 

ChrisinNC

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
In my opinion the best way to improve is find a player superior to
your skills and play as much straight pool against him as you can. All your games will improve
Why do you feel the need to limit it to 14.1? Playing any discipline pool game against a far superior player, be it a rotational game, one pocket, 14.1, or even 8-ball, should make you a better player. Problem is, it doesn’t do anything to help the stronger player.
 

sparkle84

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Why do you feel the need to limit it to 14.1? Playing any discipline pool game against a far superior player, be it a rotational game, one pocket, 14.1, or even 8-ball, should make you a better player. Problem is, it doesn’t do anything to help the stronger player.

Usually, the stronger player gains a degree of satisfaction by helping someone out.
Sometimes you get free drinks too. That's a plus.
As to why 14.1, I don't know that I'd (or he'd) limit it to that but for sure you'll get the most bang for your buck practicing straight pool.
If you don't know why that is then perhaps you should play some. It should become self evident fairly quickly.
 

justnum

TesticularCancer Survivor
Silver Member
sometimes playing weaker players its easy to pick up on the "quitting attitude" or "visible frustration aspect"

if i am the stronger player then the responsibility falls on them to not take advantage of the situation.

However some players enjoy tuning up a rookie.

I prefer to shoot with people wanting to have fun, not put a notch on their belt for a win.

having fun meaning taking the low percentage shot, because the match isn't so serious that mistakes are not explored
 

The_JV

Local_Pro
However some players enjoy tuning up a rookie.

I have two gears. Having fun or stepping on throat. Generally "rookies" want the full throttle. Usually the way it works is I just offer insight into my decisions as I play the rack. ...and offer up what I think they could improve on.

I like to think I'm one of those guys that can improve the newer generation with what I've gleaned over the years.
 

justnum

TesticularCancer Survivor
Silver Member
I have two gears. Having fun or stepping on throat. Generally "rookies" want the full throttle. Usually the way it works is I just offer insight into my decisions as I play the rack. ...and offer up what I think they could improve on.

I like to think I'm one of those guys that can improve the newer generation with what I've gleaned over the years.

for the casual games, i prefer a light introduction and easy talk about how they've been playing.

if someone says they are having a bad week, and then are unable to perform at a high level, I prefer to know before the match starts.

this way any repeat habits during the match make more sense
like answering work calls or getting coffee

some days I go to the pool to avoid everyone outside of it, i could see people needing that at times.
 

book collector

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Usually, the stronger player gains a degree of satisfaction by helping someone out.
Sometimes you get free drinks too. That's a plus.
As to why 14.1, I don't know that I'd (or he'd) limit it to that but for sure you'll get the most bang for your buck practicing straight pool.
If you don't know why that is then perhaps you should play some. It should become self evident fairly quickly.

I have told this story before but it bears repeating.
I would go in the poolroom early and practice, there was a young guy who worked nights and he would come in after work . He asked me to help him with his game. He shot ok but had zero concept of one pocket. I spent the next year an hour or two 3 times a week playing against him and teaching as we went. He got to where he played almost as good as I did .
One day I walked in and he had his back to the door and I heard someone ask him how he improved so fast from one of the looky loos to one of the 10 best players in the room. His answer was "I am self taught" Then I understood why it is so hard to get better players to help you.
I also asked one of the best players I knew for years who taught him, again , the answer was "I am self taught". This guy is so dumb he couldn't get into a banana without 3 people helping, so I doubt he taught himself much of anything, except how to have a selective memory. I did a lot of research on the best players in the world and almost all of them started early and had a knack for the game right from the start . most were the best in their area within a year or 2 , the majority were around at least one great player and picked up knowledge from watching them.
There were very few exceptions .
There have been a few hand fulls of guys who worked 40 hours a week and played high level pool, but most of them were high level at an early age and played 12 hours a day for years then at 25 or 30 gave up pool as a livelihood and got a job. I can't think of anyone who played C level pool and had a job, and worked their way up to more than a shortstop level.
 
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straightline

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
There is a battlebots component to competition that needless to say, is not discussed. THAT is the field the wannabees are handed. If you find that absurd, take a general accounting of world politics. Make note of what it takes for countries to even get footing.
 

The_JV

Local_Pro
I guess I have been fortunate. The few that I have mentored (if I was to be so bold), willing give me props. I have had others tell me as such and ask for pointers.

Nice to be thought of in a positive light
 

CocoboloCowboy

Cowboys are my heros.
Silver Member
The problem with some people in 2020 they have been babied all their live,s told good job for ever little mean nothing thing they try, get participation trophies for being present. Many have zero work ethic, or ethic about anything. Plus political correctness say winning is not important, partisipating is the benchmark.

I like to say there are two types of people.

Talkers who only talk, and seldom accomplish anything of importance.

Does who try, work, make and effort at what they do. They may never be best, greatest, or world class for many reasons.

But as doers as a group accomplish more then those who only talk and never get of their dead a***s.

In any sport you are going to have the people who are number one at a sport on a certain day, those who consistantly finish at or near the top work hard at their sport, it is a job they take seriously.

Those who never amount to much, do not work at being good, better then good, or great. They are the partisipatants.
 

sjm

Sweating it at Derby City
Silver Member
The world's best competed, drilled, and trained perpetually, that's the only way to get to the top, a few hours a week isn't enough, you can't get there with a wife/family/job/lack of talent.

Actually, many of the all-time greats had full-time jobs and families. For example, a) Irving Crane sold Cadillacs, b) Steve Mizerak was an English teacher, and c) Junior World Champion Joe Balsis gave up competitive pool for close to twenty years to focus on the family business, which was the meat business --- he then came back to pool and almost every significant title he ever garnered was won beyond the age of 40. On the other hand, Reyes, Parica, Sigel, Strickland, Souquet, Varner, Hohmann and more than a few others were practice table workaholics from day one, so even among the all time greats, there was always more than one way to get there.

All that said, the premise of your post is valid. One must set realistic, and possibly modest goals, and any path that enables reaching them is a good path. As you say, the argument that a path is wrong just because it's not how the legends reached their goals, is ridiculous.

Few who screw a stick together can ever dare to dream of being one of the world's best players, but there are numerous paths by which they can achieve their goals as a player, and those paths are both valid and important.

Even at pro level, few become truly expert in all facets of the game, meaning a) pocketing, b) position play, c) the break, d) defense, e) kicking, f) jumping, and g) general tactical conceptualization. In many cases, they just don't work on developing all the skills required, and that's OK by me. Even they have goals that may fall short of being a world champion level player.
 

CJ Wiley

ESPN WORLD OPEN CHAMPION
Gold Member
Silver Member
The human body wasn't made to play pool, but there are "tricks" that Change this!

I want to address once and for all comments like this:

-The world's best didn't get there with lessons, they got there by playing 24/7 for years

-The world's best had a gift of talent and were playing great at 12, they weren't playing leagues and posting on AZB

-The world's best competed, drilled, and trained perpetually, that's the only way to get to the top, a few hours a week isn't enough, you can't get there with a wife/family/job/lack of talent


In short, when people are discussing a viable path for people to follow to improve at pool, these roads are often dismissed because "that's not how the champions got there!" To that I respond "You're right!" IF you want to be a world champion then I agree it will be difficult while working and raising kids and with a few hours a week. We are in total agreement.

What I disagree with is the premise that if a path doesn't make you #1 in the world than it is the 'wrong road'. Wrong for who? What about the 99.99% of pool players who aren't prepared to sacrifice their lives to follow the path of a world champion, but that would still like to improve and reach their potential on the table?

For those players trying to follow the same path as the world champion doesn't work. You know what does? Those other roads. Roads the champions don't take. Roads like leagues, a few hours of practice here or there, some focused training, a good sparring partner, etc. You're right that you won't see champions follow this formula, and that this won't take you to the top of pool. But that doesn't mean it's without value because for the overwhelming majority of us it's the best path for us to reach our pool goals.


I was lucky to have so many strong mentors that were road players. They took me under their wing and showed me how to win, the techniques, systems and fundamentals that were highly effective. Most of what we did is backwards from what the league and small tournament players believes is best.

When I changed my stance after my first professional tournament my life started to change for the better, it led to understanding how the pool game and body all connect to achieve the best outcome....then Martial Arts, and Learning the golf swing from Hank Haney (Tiger Woods Swing Coach) helped me blend it all together in a teachable format.

The human body wasn't made to play pool, but there are a few "tricks" that turn the tables and create a physical situation that Your Body Is Made to Play Pool. The secret is in the footwork, the foundation of everyone's game. This is easy to see once it's pointed out, however, like they say "we can only recognize what we are familiar with" and this certainly applies to pool.

The Game is the Teacher
 

Dead Money

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Well no World Champion discussion is complete unless it includes me!!:D







Love hearing your input here on the AZB CJ. A legit player telling us "what is what" is a cool thing to be able to experience on the regular:)
 

nick serdula

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
I asked my buddy Stoney years ago which old man taught you.

He told me a lot of them really. I said including Buddy Hall? He answered well kind of and looked at me. I said the old man that taught me because he asked was dead eye Dick. Dick Hunzicker. His jaw dropped. You see Dick had Busted Buddy in the past!
You never know until you know.
The man that taught the dead eye Dick also taught Erving Crane and the Babe Cranfield. They avoided Dick. Sidney Cole was the man. Dick once shot for a week and didn't miss a ball that he shot at. He said he didn't think he could take Cole. Then added well maybe.
CJ thanks for the honesty,
Nick :)
 

book collector

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Actually, many of the all-time greats had full-time jobs and families. For example, a) Irving Crane sold Cadillacs, b) Steve Mizerak was an English teacher, and c) Junior World Champion Joe Balsis gave up competitive pool for close to twenty years to focus on the family business, which was the meat business --- he then came back to pool and almost every significant title he ever garnered was won beyond the age of 40. On the other hand, Reyes, Parica, Sigel, Strickland, Souquet, Varner, Hohmann and more than a few others were practice table workaholics from day one, so even among the all time greats, there was always more than one way to get there.

All that said, the premise of your post is valid. One must set realistic, and possibly modest goals, and any path that enables reaching them is a good path. As you say, the argument that a path is wrong just because it's not how the legends reached their goals, is ridiculous.

Few who screw a stick together can ever dare to dream of being one of the world's best players, but there are numerous paths by which they can achieve their goals as a player, and those paths are both valid and important.

Even at pro level, few become truly expert in all facets of the game, meaning a) pocketing, b) position play, c) the break, d) defense, e) kicking, f) jumping, and g) general tactical conceptualization. In many cases, they just don't work on developing all the skills required, and that's OK by me. Even they have goals that may fall short of being a world champion level player.

All 3 guys you mentioned were better players than 99% of people get, before they were ever called upon to support themselves , let alone a family.
Can you name 1 guy who was an average or even above average pool player, not a junior champion or pro caliber, and had a job and then worked at his game while supporting himself at something besides running a pool room and became a top 200 player? I have seen some working guys who played pretty sporty, 99% of them were pretty sporty when young, 1 % got to shortstop level with hard work , usually at the expense of their family life.
 
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