This was tougher than I expected, mostly because of BIH in the kitchen. Seems like most of the time I’d have been better off with leaving the cue ball where it lay after the break.
There is a possibility that leaving the cue is the best possible choice after the break but, I would guess that's rarely the case. Given it's only 10 balls and anything goes anywhere there are, obviously, tons of options, but I suggest you always look at every ball on the table before making that decision.
I played my first full game of Bowlliards. Wow, humbling
Here's what I learned or confirmed I already knew:
- It's SO easy to get caught up in playing the rack that I forget to focus on fundamentals, tangent line recognition, and speed control for the shot I am down on. I know it is recommended we stop thinking when shoot, but given only 2 days ago I overhauled my stroke, I MUST focus on elbow and shoulder position to eliminate a habitual chicken-wing. When I focus on a steady shoulder, accuracy goes up tremendously.
- My decision making is terrible. From league play, I knew it needed improvement, but I had no idea just how much it killed runs. Keeping score was eye-opening.
My best run didn't come until the 8th frame, and it was an 8, resulting in my only mark of the game, a spare. Did I leverage it in the 9th frame? Um, no. A three on the first inning of the 9th frame.
So, my first inning of frames at the beginning of this game was 1, 1 , 2, 3, 2. This was with BIH in the kitchen.
Terrible! After I paid more attention to pattern play, and focusing on shot making and shape (remember, I said I get caught up in the game and forget to focus), it got better, but not great.
I hesitate to disclose my embarrassing final score: 61. I plan to use Bowlliards to help me make better decisions and learn to focus. This is highly instructive, and despite my horrid results, I really enjoyed it.
(I am SL4/SL5 in APA 8/9.)
I highlighted the key word in your post - humbling. I have shown lots of people this game and the majority of those people are either humbled or pissed when the match is over. I think the key point is in 14.1 there's generally no end goal. Sure, you're trying to beat your previous high score but really, you're just trying not to miss and when you do the game is over but, in Bowlliards you have an ACTUAL goal of making all 100 balls. It is an entirely different mental process, especially when you miss and then realize how that miss will affect your final score.
Here are some things I utilize bowlliards to work on. You can use most games to work on most of these things but bowlliards is such a simple game it's easy to focus on these things instead of the game itself, if that makes sense.
1) The break:
I hit them as hard as I can while still trying to keep whitey in the middle of the table. This doesn't help my break for any rotation style games but it has helped my stroke in general (this skill has transferred directly to stun follow/draw shots) and my 8B break over the years.
2) Spotting trouble balls:
Immediately after the break I'm looking for locked up balls, balls on the rail, balls blocked by other balls, etc. If there are trouble spots I address them immediately if possible or look for the first opportunity to do so i.e. if there are a couple of balls that nee to be separated (and hint - quit smacking balls when you need to break them out, see more below).
3) Break outs and how to play them:
First: Start learning IF things need to be broken out. An example from the other day, me and my son were playing a game (not bowlliards but irrelevant) and the 5 was on the long rail (about 2 diamonds up from corner pocket) and the 4 was just about touching it but slightly closer to the side pocket - the 4 passed the 5 to the closest pocket but it was close, it definitely went the long way down the rail into the other corner pocket on the same long rail. He chose to smack the 3B and try blasting the 4/5 - he missed the 3 and didn't touch the 4/5.
Start to really look at balls and evaluate every ball into every pocket - do not move stuff that does not need to be moved.
Second: "What happens when I break those out and I get a crap roll and whitey stops right there - what other balls can I make after that - THIS is the number one reason you breakout balls early - so you have options when things go wrong, because they will. Once I find an easy ball to make after the breakout I start looking at how to get to the breakout using nothing but stop shots. If a shot requires the CB to move to get into position for the breakout then just shoot the breakout now because that one time the CB rolls that extra inch you'll be screwed and you'll get a crap score - ask me how I know
Third - stop smacking stuff when doing breakouts. Study the tangent line, learn how it affects ball movement and utilize it. I rarely hit breakouts hard enough for the CB to roll much further than the breakout (if possible). Pay attention to where balls will go, how far they will go, will they block other things, maybe you can use one mess of balls to breakout something at the other end of the table - start looking at tangent lines and where locked up balls will go - you'd be surprised at how many times you can kill two birds with one stone with a little imagination.
I will play combos in bowlliards but not too often. I generally look to see what happens with the middle ball (the first object ball in a combo) and see where it's going to go. I try not to have to setup for that middle ball after a combo, a simple miss-hit can/will send the CB or that middle OB on a different tangent line (even when you make the OB) - play the combo to setup for something else if possible.
4) Stop shots - this really is one of the major things I have focused on, especially in the early years, when playing bowlliards.
Move the CB as LITTLE as possible! Period, end of story. This takes time to change your thinking process but it will pay off. After I look for troubled balls after the break I will always start looking for stop shot patterns. How many balls can I make using stop shots, should I start with those? Should I end with those? Should I break out now or after a couple of stop shots, etc.
My suggestion is immediately after the break grab the CB and line up every ball/pocket combo on the table. Yes, I mean put the CB on the table and act like you're lining up a ball in a corner pocket and look for the following 1) What happens if I do a stop shot 2) Where does the tangent line take me if I cut this (either direction) 3) what happens if I follow or draw - meanwhile, I'm looking to see what other object balls will fall into line after I make this ball. After you've lined up the first ball into one of the pockets, do the same in the other 5 pockets with the same ball, when that's done - do the same for the other 9 balls! If you put the work in, it will pay off and you'll start to see patterns and you'll start realizing how little you have to move the CB to get stuff done.
I use fairly light….guessing 8-10 mph? Enough to separate, get 7,8 out of the triangle. Ideal is having 1 or 2 somewhere between head string and mid table to go side pocket for 1st shot. I usually end up with 6 or more below mid table or 3rd diamond. My friend blasts and couldn’t care less about spotting pocketed balls. And whoops me.
If I played with BIH in kitchen that's how I would do it also, much like a 9B break IMHO but since I take BIH anywhere I hit them hard.
I'm glad others are enjoying the game, as mentioned in my first post, there are many ways to practice pool and track your progress, I have found this game to be the most fun and convenient way of doing that for over 35 years
LOL, still chuckling at humbling, for those that have never played - I DARE you to post up what you think you'll get then post up what you actually get