What can I do to help an up and comer?

rackmsuckr

Linda Carter - The QUEEN!
Silver Member
I was at a tournament this weekend and a 14 year old kid came down from Portland and showed amazing skills. This kid has everything it takes to become a champion except competition and seasoning.

I have seen a lot of kids that showed promise, but this one is good to go now! He has an amazing stroke and only lost to 2 veterans, Mike Zimmerman and Jesse Allred. He plays smart, plays lock-up safes and plays great patterns. He ran out from everywhere. And he has only been playing 2 years! I think it is not over-reaching to say he is another Shane Van Boening in the making.

He is over 6'3" already and thin as a rail and is very grateful and humble. His sister drove him the 4 hours to get to the tournament and she just lost her job and her parents really aren't in any position to help.

I have offered our place to stay anytime they want to come down again, but I was wondering how to get him into junior competition. Our area does not have anything. This kid could win nationals, I'm telling you, he is that good.

Thanks in advance for any information - I will give rep for anything helpful.
 

ShootingArts

Smorg is giving St Peter the 7!
Gold Member
Silver Member
moral support

Linda,

First and foremost, youngsters need moral support. Just knowing that you are a friend that believes in him will be huge for him. At the same time you have to be guided by the signals he is giving. He may or may not want to take pool seriously. He may think he does now and change his mind when he finds out the amount of work involved.

If he is too far away for you to mentor try to find someone close to him that is interested and has the qualities you would want in a mentor.

Junior competition is a matter of location. He may or may not have any available. The next best thing might be to put together a group of hungry kids on a home table or perhaps in a bowling alley or recreation center. If he wants to compete he needs to. My 12 year old nephew was an outstanding competitor with my support and his father's.

You do have to be careful not to burn him out on pool or put too much pressure on him. Keep it fun and try to keep him hungry for more.

Do let us know how he is doing now and then. It is amazing how fast people can advance when they don't have any predefined ideas about how long it should take.

Hu



I was at a tournament this weekend and a 14 year old kid came down from Portland and showed amazing skills. This kid has everything it takes to become a champion except competition and seasoning.

I have seen a lot of kids that showed promise, but this one is good to go now! He has an amazing stroke and only lost to 2 veterans, Mike Zimmerman and Jesse Allred. He plays smart, plays lock-up safes and plays great patterns. He ran out from everywhere. And he has only been playing 2 years! I think it is not over-reaching to say he is another Shane Van Boening in the making.

He is over 6'3" already and thin as a rail and is very grateful and humble. His sister drove him the 4 hours to get to the tournament and she just lost her job and her parents really aren't in any position to help.

I have offered our place to stay anytime they want to come down again, but I was wondering how to get him into junior competition. Our area does not have anything. This kid could win nationals, I'm telling you, he is that good.

Thanks in advance for any information - I will give rep for anything helpful.
 

Scott Lee

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
Linda...I have some experience in this area. I had a young man(11) come into the gameroom at MSU, years ago. He first came with his folks, and they all played together. Nobody really knew how to play, but they were having fun. I noticed that the kid seemed to have some natural ability. His parents (also not in a position to financially support his pool "habit"), asked me if there was any way I might "take him under my wing" and work with him some. I sat him down with his folks, and we talked about it very seriously. The first thing I told him (in front of them), was that respect for your parents, was the MOST important thing to me. Respect for himself, was the next most important thing to me. Basically, if he got GOOD grades (all A's & B's), AND he towed the line with his folks (no arguments, no disrespectful behavior), I would take him, and make him a real poolplayer, for free. I forgot to mention, that I also required him to stay "out of trouble". I worked with him for a few years, and took him to Jr. Nationals twice, and to the BCA Summer Youth Cue Camp (where I taught for three years, with Jerry Briesath, and Mark Wilson). This is where he met a VERY young Sarah Rousey, and they became immediate friends...so much so, that when summer camp was over, he wanted to go visit her, at her home in Bloomington. I spoke with Sarah's folks, and with my young charge's folks, and the visit went well. I continued to work with him, for a couple more years, and he became a pretty skilled player, by the time he was 15, traveling around MT, playing in quite a few tournaments, getting experience and making some $$$ too! Fast forward a couple of years. Unfortunately, he got involved with, and fell under the influence of, the wrong crowd (as happens all too often with young poolplayers), and began to let his grades slip, began disrespecting his parents, and finally, using drugs, and getting into trouble with the law. As a result, I had to let him go, as a student. It made me sad, after investing so much time and effort into helping him to learn to play...but I had no choice. :(

What does that have to do with this thread? Well, when he wanted to go to the Jr. Nationals, the first time (which were in Vegas those days), we sat down, and organized a plan (to work within the rules), which would provide him an opportunity to go. First, all the rules required, was that someone (which was me) organize a jr. BCA tournament locally. It had to be at a BCA-sanctioned room (we had two in town), and there had to be a minimum of 8 players. The only other requirement was that the winner had to be "guaranteed" the trip to Vegas. He got some of his friends to play, I got my son (who was younger), and some of his friends to play, and I ran a tournament. There was only a $15 entry fee, but all of it went to "fund" the trip to Vegas. Everybody knew that he would win, and it didn't matter...that was the point of putting on the tournament. So basically these other 7 kids 'donated' their $15...had fun playing in an afternoon tournament, at the local poolroom (Montana Fats), got a free t-shirt (plus BCA Jr. Membership kits), and had free pizza and pop, while they played. After winning the tournament, and with $120 in his pocket, we then developed a plan to raise the additional money needed for the trip (I figured he needed about $300...and I was driving him down and back). I helped him draft a letter, which we distributed together, to a bunch of downtown businesses, asking for small donations, to fund his trip to the Jr. Nationals. In return for their donation ($25), their logo would be screened on the back of the shirts we had made for him to wear during the tournament. We also told them that we would include their business, in a article to the local newspaper, about the upcoming event, and a followup, with results, when he returned. We ended up with 10 local "sponsors", and the whole thing worked out very well (this is back when the Bowman kids were also young, and playing in the under 14 division for the first time). This is certainly something that is doable, and something you could 'spearhead' in your area (or his), for the benefit of the young man...giving him the opportunity to "win" his way to the Jr. Nationals.

Scott Lee
www.poolknowledge.com

I was at a tournament this weekend and a 14 year old kid came down from Portland and showed amazing skills. This kid has everything it takes to become a champion except competition and seasoning.

I have seen a lot of kids that showed promise, but this one is good to go now! He has an amazing stroke and only lost to 2 veterans, Mike Zimmerman and Jesse Allred. He plays smart, plays lock-up safes and plays great patterns. He ran out from everywhere. And he has only been playing 2 years! I think it is not over-reaching to say he is another Shane Van Boening in the making.

He is over 6'3" already and thin as a rail and is very grateful and humble. His sister drove him the 4 hours to get to the tournament and she just lost her job and her parents really aren't in any position to help.

I have offered our place to stay anytime they want to come down again, but I was wondering how to get him into junior competition. Our area does not have anything. This kid could win nationals, I'm telling you, he is that good.

Thanks in advance for any information - I will give rep for anything helpful.
 
Last edited:

rackmsuckr

Linda Carter - The QUEEN!
Silver Member
Thank you both for your help and time. Scott, I will most likely follow up on your plan. Who would I contact to get the Jr. BCA membership kits and to sanction my tournament?

I am sorry your mentorship did not find fruition with your young man. You just never know. Holding him accountable to moral standards for the duration was a smart move and I congratulate you on the successes you achieved with him.

I did give him Glenn Atwell's phone number and told him when and where to catch Glenn so that he might pick up some pointers. I talked to Glenn today and let him know to maybe take him under his wing.

There are a couple other kids here...one competed in USPPA at age 9. I think he is now 11. He has gotten a lot of press but he has nowhere near the skills of this other young man yet.

We do have cheap $29 flights to Vegas and a place to stay should I escort the young man from here, if that is where Jr. Nationals should be held.

One other question though...I just read about VNEA Jr. Nationals. What would be the difference and are there other national junior competitions?
 

pwd72s

recreational banger
Silver Member
I was at a tournament this weekend and a 14 year old kid came down from Portland and showed amazing skills. This kid has everything it takes to become a champion except competition and seasoning.

I have seen a lot of kids that showed promise, but this one is good to go now! He has an amazing stroke and only lost to 2 veterans, Mike Zimmerman and Jesse Allred. He plays smart, plays lock-up safes and plays great patterns. He ran out from everywhere. And he has only been playing 2 years! I think it is not over-reaching to say he is another Shane Van Boening in the making.

He is over 6'3" already and thin as a rail and is very grateful and humble. His sister drove him the 4 hours to get to the tournament and she just lost her job and her parents really aren't in any position to help.

(edit) I agree with your personality assessment. Cindy & I were impressed with both Cris and his sister. Darned nice "kids". :)

I have offered our place to stay anytime they want to come down again, but I was wondering how to get him into junior competition. Our area does not have anything. This kid could win nationals, I'm telling you, he is that good.

Thanks in advance for any information - I will give rep for anything helpful.

You must mean Chris B. He scared a lot of adults at a Salem 9 ball tourney. Came in 2nd there. His sister told us he had to wait until she could drive him down. Oh...his sis also told Cindy & I that his dad is 6'8"...he doesn't need a bridge much! ;)

I agree, he's quite a talent.

Just encouragement at this point, I would think. All the above advice sounds great. The big question is whether or not he really wants this. At age 14 he may, but at age 15, who knows? Wants and dreams can change quickly at that age. At least it worked that way with me.
 
Last edited:

rackmsuckr

Linda Carter - The QUEEN!
Silver Member
You must mean Chris B. He scared a lot of adults at a Salem 9 ball tourney. Came in 2nd there. His sister told us he had to wait until she could drive him down. Oh...his sis also told Cindy & I that his dad is 6'8"...he doesn't need a bridge much! ;)

I agree, he's quite a talent.

Just encouragement at this point, I would think. All the above advice sounds great. The big question is whether or not he really wants this. At age 14 he may, but at age 15, who knows? Wants and dreams can change quickly at that age. At least it worked that way with me.

Yes, you're right. They have both assured me that his goal now is to enter as many jr. tournaments as possible to get seasoning and he wants to go to nationals. I am going to try to help him get there.
 

pwd72s

recreational banger
Silver Member
Yes, you're right. They have both assured me that his goal now is to enter as many jr. tournaments as possible to get seasoning and he wants to go to nationals. I am going to try to help him get there.

A tip of my hat to you...he really needs some mentoring. You have the experience and talent to do just that! :)
 

RiverCity

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
And if you want to help him get tournament tough...... the only way to get there is to play as many tournaments as possible, and to teach him how to analyze his performance and adjust or improve any aspect that he was not happy with.
Chuck
 

stick8

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
kid

I was at a tournament this weekend and a 14 year old kid came down from Portland and showed amazing skills. This kid has everything it takes to become a champion except competition and seasoning.

I have seen a lot of kids that showed promise, but this one is good to go now! He has an amazing stroke and only lost to 2 veterans, Mike Zimmerman and Jesse Allred. He plays smart, plays lock-up safes and plays great patterns. He ran out from everywhere. And he has only been playing 2 years! I think it is not over-reaching to say he is another Shane Van Boening in the making.

He is over 6'3" already and thin as a rail and is very grateful and humble. His sister drove him the 4 hours to get to the tournament and she just lost her job and her parents really aren't in any position to help.

I have offered our place to stay anytime they want to come down again, but I was wondering how to get him into junior competition. Our area does not have anything. This kid could win nationals, I'm telling you, he is that good.

Thanks in advance for any information - I will give rep for anything helpful.

tell him to stop playing pool and get into politects!!!!!
 

rackmsuckr

Linda Carter - The QUEEN!
Silver Member
A tip of my hat to you...he really needs some mentoring. You have the experience and talent to do just that! :)

Thank you...it's just that I am about 4 hours away, so not much opportunity to do anything hands on. I am trying to set up some mentoring with good people up north and maybe organize a tournament for juniors and help him raise the cash and chaperone him to Nationals, my schedule permitting.
 

rackmsuckr

Linda Carter - The QUEEN!
Silver Member
And if you want to help him get tournament tough...... the only way to get there is to play as many tournaments as possible, and to teach him how to analyze his performance and adjust or improve any aspect that he was not happy with.
Chuck

Yes, that is why I am trying to hook him up with some fellas that can do that for him. Tournaments are harder for him to enter, since he is underage. But he does try to get in the ones even as far away as ours.
 

KoolKat9Lives

Taught 'em all I know
Silver Member
I have a solution for the two pitfalls that get the overwhelming majority of up and coming pool players. A hormone labotomy and random drug testing.

Ok, that was tongue in cheek, but "there's always truth in jest." Like Hu points out... The adults that truly hold influence with this young man can't hold him too tight, else he'll rebel. Picking up on his personality cues (strengths and weaknesses) is surely the only way to decide when to engage him and when not to squeeze.

In the most desperate of battles, it takes a tremendous emotional event to break habitual behavior.

My hats off to you Linda for being so involved and caring. If he climbs to the top of the ladder, you'll deserve to beam on every rung!

Best of luck and if you may, keep us posted.
 

JoeyA

Efren's Mini-Tourn BACKER
Silver Member
I was at a tournament this weekend and a 14 year old kid came down from Portland and showed amazing skills. This kid has everything it takes to become a champion except competition and seasoning.

I have seen a lot of kids that showed promise, but this one is good to go now! He has an amazing stroke and only lost to 2 veterans, Mike Zimmerman and Jesse Allred. He plays smart, plays lock-up safes and plays great patterns. He ran out from everywhere. And he has only been playing 2 years! I think it is not over-reaching to say he is another Shane Van Boening in the making.

He is over 6'3" already and thin as a rail and is very grateful and humble. His sister drove him the 4 hours to get to the tournament and she just lost her job and her parents really aren't in any position to help.

I have offered our place to stay anytime they want to come down again, but I was wondering how to get him into junior competition. Our area does not have anything. This kid could win nationals, I'm telling you, he is that good.

Thanks in advance for any information - I will give rep for anything helpful.

Get him into the loop at AZ Billiards, involved with reading pool magazines, even old/used ones. It could fuel his desire and keep him interested.

Have him get in email contact with Landon Shuffett and others his own age. That is the type of mentor that he needs at this stage. Maybe he and Landon can hit it off over the Internet OR NOT. Landon stays working hard at SCHOOL and pool takes second place. Congratulations to Stan Shuffett who is doing such a great job raising a fine young man who loves the game, but understands that getting an education is the more important thing.

I'm not speaking for Landon but your up and coming star could check out their website : www.justcueit.com

It's very nice of you to think of helping out the next Shane but I wouldn't expect anything less of THE QUEEN. :)

JoeyA
 

sarahrousey

pro player
Silver Member
Linda,

Laura Smith and Dawn Hopkins are involved with the Billiard Education Foundation which used to be the BCA Junior Nationals. They were just held here in my home town, Bloomington, IL. I played in the same tournament for 9 years when I was 10-18 years old. I was surprised when I went this year to the banquet and there were awards given to kids that had a good GPA. It seems like there is more focus on the important thing which is school. At 26 I look back and think of how many of the kids I met during my time that didn't have any guidance and fell into the wrong crowd...unfortunately it is most of them. I think Laura and Dawn have a really good thing going. Plus, it could be a chance to win college scholarships.

I would say the most important thing would be to not let the rush of making quick money go to his head. Lots of kids think that money comes easy when really it is just a 14 year old thinking that $200 is a lot of money (not necessarily this 14 year old, just using the age as an example).

I would say finding someone to admire in the pool world could work. There are lots of good people out there even though sometimes it seems that they are hard to find. Also, reading the message boards, making friends online, all of that can help.

Anyway, he or you can contact me whenever. I was a kid once that loved pool and everything to do with pool. It wasn't that long ago so I can still sort of remember it..ha! My email address is sr9ball@hotmail.com.

Alright, enough of my rambling. Good luck!

Sarah
 

Scott Lee

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
Linda...Contact the BCA, in CO. They may not even have things set up yet, for next year. Usually qualifiers are run from March to June, prior to the Jr. Nationals in July. You, or someone, would have to accompany the minor, to the tournament, and take responsibility for his hotel, travel, etc. Sometimes a parent goes, in which case you wouldn't need to...unless you wanted to. Much more prestige with the BCA Jr tournament, than the VNEA. Also, no where to go up from, in VNEA. BCA Jr. champions go to the World Jr. tournament. Jr. Nationals have not been held in Vegas, for a long long time. They are now held on a college campus (Illinois State University in 2009). I don't know where next year's event will be held, and it's likely they don't either. You could contact Betsy Sundholm, at UMichigan, Ann Arbor. She's (among other jobs) in charge of the gameroom, and has an office in the Memorial Union building. She heads up the ACU-I Collegiate tournament, and Laura Smith, of the BEF, is in charge of the Jr. Nationals. Either of these two people can help you. Best of luck with your up and coming player!

Scott Lee
www.poolknowledge.com

Thank you both for your help and time. Scott, I will most likely follow up on your plan. Who would I contact to get the Jr. BCA membership kits and to sanction my tournament?

I am sorry your mentorship did not find fruition with your young man. You just never know. Holding him accountable to moral standards for the duration was a smart move and I congratulate you on the successes you achieved with him.

I did give him Glenn Atwell's phone number and told him when and where to catch Glenn so that he might pick up some pointers. I talked to Glenn today and let him know to maybe take him under his wing.

There are a couple other kids here...one competed in USPPA at age 9. I think he is now 11. He has gotten a lot of press but he has nowhere near the skills of this other young man yet.

We do have cheap $29 flights to Vegas and a place to stay should I escort the young man from here, if that is where Jr. Nationals should be held.

One other question though...I just read about VNEA Jr. Nationals. What would be the difference and are there other national junior competitions?
 

pwd72s

recreational banger
Silver Member
Thank you...it's just that I am about 4 hours away, so not much opportunity to do anything hands on. I am trying to set up some mentoring with good people up north and maybe organize a tournament for juniors and help him raise the cash and chaperone him to Nationals, my schedule permitting.

Linda, I'm sure Chris knows the honor you are offering here...Indeed, I was floored by his talent level at age 14...could he be the future SVB conqueror?

Very well could be...he sure handled the short stops @ The Cue Ball well.;)
Do keep us posted on the tournament you're trying to set up. Medford a long haul for me, but I'd like to be there...health & schedule permitting.
 
Last edited:

NewStroke

Screamin Monkey
Silver Member
I agree that more instruction will help, but please, please, please don't suppress his/her imagination (this goes for any kid). The moment you start teaching them "RULES", you create boundaries. You never know, let the child keep his mind open and he may teach you a thing or two. With things like these, there is no right or wrong, just how you get there. Many times we are too focused on the "right" way of getting there.

P.S. I used to teach karate and judo to kids for more than a few years and kids were my best and brightest students. This is how I learned what I said above. I don't think I ever went home feeling "down" after a class with them.
 
Last edited:
Top