Why are men better than women at billiards?

Pete H

Registered
This is an age old question to which I've never seen a satisfactory answer. Most people think there are no physical attributes that explain this and I agree.

My theory is that boys in general do more different sports and other things that improve especially hand-eye coordination, but all kinds of cognitive skills, balance and "understanding" the physics of moving objects as well.

Doing many kinds of sports that require different skills all improve these qualities as do climbing trees, running around, playing tag, etc.

Throwing rocks or balls will give understanding on how much force to apply to reach a certain distance. Watching how a ball or hockey puck moves helps as well.

Learning these skills and to control your body will create new connections between brain cells and later these connections will make it easier to learn billiards and many other things. I believe these differences in brain activity related to skill differences will be possible to measure today or not too distant future.

There are obviously more male players that start billiards at a young enough age to have a possibility to reach pro level and this explains part of the skill differences. Also because males and females mostly compete against opponents of the same sex, males in general play against better opponents which help them improve further and faster.

Because males and females have been mostly doing different tasks, since we evolved to homo sapiens, there most likely are genetical differences as well, slowly caused by the understanding our ancestors have learned. Given exactly the same upbringing, a five-year-old boy would be better than a five-year-old girl at throwing a rock for the first time. Or not, but if you take a thousand boys and girls, there would be a noticeable difference in the average and maximum performance.

It's similar to animal insticts. A skill that was mandatory for men who hunted but not for women who didn't. In general again, stop thinking I'm sexist! Switch the roles for a 10 000 or 100 000 years and the situation is totally opposite.

At the Barcelona Olympics 1992 we saw something amazing: Zhang Shan from China won the mixed skeet shooting event. She was the first and the last female to win a medal in this mixed event. Last because after Barcelona they made individual event for men/women. Men are pigs and hate to lose to women, that's for sure. Shameful if you ask me.

Today is possible that a 15-year-old girl, who has done gymnastics, baseball, fought with her big brother(s), video games, figure skating, skateboarding etc, picks up pool and becomes the greatest player ever lived. And because it's possible, given enough time it will happen. At the moment it's just much more likely that the next greatest player ever will be a male. It's just statistics and probabilites.

I also believe there's a relation between billiards and mathematical skills. Based on empirical evidence, even the pool players with not much education have a good understanding of mathematics, certain type of physics and geometry which improves visuo-spatial abilities.

My theory might explain part of the male-female differences in mathematical sciences as well. Climbing trees as a kid will make you better at maths!

At least I believe this and as always I'm willing to put my money where my mouth is ;)

I'm willing to bet a bottle of the Balvenie Doublewood, one of the finest 12-year-old single malts I've tried, that there are measurable differences in male/female brain and brain activity caused at least partly by the differences in upbringing I've explained.

So there are physical and measurable differences after all. Or at least I believe so. Your thoughts?
 

Straightpool_99

I see dead balls
Silver Member
Brain makes a difference, ofc. There are also physical differences. I've never seen a woman break like Bustamante or Nevel.

Since tables are getting faster and faster, differences in stroke strengths are getting smaller. You don't need as much power anymore, which is also true of the template breaks, so we may see a slight leveling of the playing field.
 

trob

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Brain makes a difference, ofc. There are also physical differences. I've never seen a woman break like Bustamante or Nevel.

Since tables are getting faster and faster, differences in stroke strengths are getting smaller. You don't need as much power anymore, which is also true of the template breaks, so we may see a slight leveling of the playing field.
I used to think break but a huge break isn’t necessary in 9 ball. plenty of pro players proved that. Especially with the magic rack.
 

Pete H

Registered
I used to think break but a huge break isn’t necessary in 9 ball. plenty of pro players proved that. Especially with the magic rack.
Yep. Strength might help, but it's not the only way to break successfully.
 

straightline

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Artificial selection, Bigger gene pool... Men have always been the ones to deal with the life and death stuff. Women have not been distilled in that manner. Instead, they've been herded into subservience. Unlike men, their <stupid tough> gene pool lacks the numbers. Add the governing male psychology and you have sports segregated by sex.
 

evergruven

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
hard to ignore how many fewer women play(ed) pool in the first place
there likely deeper reasons as to why, but culture and society of the day are easy to track
men would again probably get the nod, but I wonder how ladies and men would stack up more proportionately
 

joelpope

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
You ought to read Malcolm Gladwell's book "Outliers"

It provides pretty interesting insight to how the deck can get stacked with seemingly similar groups
 
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The_JV

'AZB_Combat Certified'
This is an age old question to which I've never seen a satisfactory answer. Most people think there are no physical attributes that explain this and I agree.

My theory is that boys in general do more different sports and other things that improve especially hand-eye coordination, but all kinds of cognitive skills, balance and "understanding" the physics of moving objects as well.

Doing many kinds of sports that require different skills all improve these qualities as do climbing trees, running around, playing tag, etc.

Throwing rocks or balls will give understanding on how much force to apply to reach a certain distance. Watching how a ball or hockey puck moves helps as well.

Learning these skills and to control your body will create new connections between brain cells and later these connections will make it easier to learn billiards and many other things. I believe these differences in brain activity related to skill differences will be possible to measure today or not too distant future.

There are obviously more male players that start billiards at a young enough age to have a possibility to reach pro level and this explains part of the skill differences. Also because males and females mostly compete against opponents of the same sex, males in general play against better opponents which help them improve further and faster.

Because males and females have been mostly doing different tasks, since we evolved to homo sapiens, there most likely are genetical differences as well, slowly caused by the understanding our ancestors have learned. Given exactly the same upbringing, a five-year-old boy would be better than a five-year-old girl at throwing a rock for the first time. Or not, but if you take a thousand boys and girls, there would be a noticeable difference in the average and maximum performance.

It's similar to animal insticts. A skill that was mandatory for men who hunted but not for women who didn't. In general again, stop thinking I'm sexist! Switch the roles for a 10 000 or 100 000 years and the situation is totally opposite.

At the Barcelona Olympics 1992 we saw something amazing: Zhang Shan from China won the mixed skeet shooting event. She was the first and the last female to win a medal in this mixed event. Last because after Barcelona they made individual event for men/women. Men are pigs and hate to lose to women, that's for sure. Shameful if you ask me.

Today is possible that a 15-year-old girl, who has done gymnastics, baseball, fought with her big brother(s), video games, figure skating, skateboarding etc, picks up pool and becomes the greatest player ever lived. And because it's possible, given enough time it will happen. At the moment it's just much more likely that the next greatest player ever will be a male. It's just statistics and probabilites.

I also believe there's a relation between billiards and mathematical skills. Based on empirical evidence, even the pool players with not much education have a good understanding of mathematics, certain type of physics and geometry which improves visuo-spatial abilities.

My theory might explain part of the male-female differences in mathematical sciences as well. Climbing trees as a kid will make you better at maths!

At least I believe this and as always I'm willing to put my money where my mouth is ;)

I'm willing to bet a bottle of the Balvenie Doublewood, one of the finest 12-year-old single malts I've tried, that there are measurable differences in male/female brain and brain activity caused at least partly by the differences in upbringing I've explained.

So there are physical and measurable differences after all. Or at least I believe so. Your thoughts?
I googled 'cognitive reasoning men vs women' and followed only this link specifically because it had 'apa' in it...lol

One of the more interesting quotes from that article:
"In a 1999 study, Steven Spencer and colleagues explored gender differences among men and women who had a strong math background. They found that merely telling women that a math test had previously shown gender differences hurt their performance. The researchers gave a math test to men and women after telling half the women that the test had shown gender differences, and telling the rest that it found none. Women who expected gender differences did significantly worse than men"

So my take away is this... The only reason women don't perform equally as well in the game of pool, is because the culture (pool players) say they can't. Provide them equal opportunity, support, respect and expect greater results.
 

Pete H

Registered
I googled 'cognitive reasoning men vs women' and followed only this link specifically because it had 'apa' in it...lol

One of the more interesting quotes from that article:
"In a 1999 study, Steven Spencer and colleagues explored gender differences among men and women who had a strong math background. They found that merely telling women that a math test had previously shown gender differences hurt their performance. The researchers gave a math test to men and women after telling half the women that the test had shown gender differences, and telling the rest that it found none. Women who expected gender differences did significantly worse than men"

So my take away is this... The only reason women don't perform equally as well in the game of pool, is because the culture (pool players) say they can't. Provide them equal opportunity, support, respect and expect greater results.
Excellent post JV and I totally agree.
 

justnum

Principal Investigator of Magic Trick Shots
Silver Member
Why should the women compete at the same level as the men?

That just increase the supply of pool players capable at that standard, and if you believe in economics it decreases the value of pool players or potential prize earnings.

In statistics the phrase above average or not average more accurately describes the direction of the original study.
So what if both groups show a difference in average performance, in terms of pro level versus amateur level, it is clear enough.

When you group it by gender your looking for statistical trouble. And your not trying to disprove other cases. Comparing means is not good statistics, please ask an expert about hypothesis testing and making conclusions from it.

Consider the deviation of skill levels as well. Pro men and pro women are in the same statistical category, they are way better than amateurs and magical to non players. using the data it to rank a players within the group is bad practice. The performance of the group varies wildly as well as the events and people they compete against. statistics is about broad generalizations, not picking and choosing from the data.

Snapshots of the data is best but broad assumptions like men are ... because women.. I can't support that argument.
 
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Geosnookery

Well-known member
In addition to some reasons given.

My wife does weights every day as a very good condition. However, when it comes to actual strength as when we pretend to have an arm wrestle, her muscles are as strong as wet noodles.

The difference between being the best Snooker player in the world and number 300 is just a few percentage points of perfection. My observation is that women just don’t have the needed strength of men. We have many bones and muscles in our arm, wrists and hand that are involved in making subtle moves to control a billiard cue.

I started playing Snooker at 14. I didn’t have the strength to do some shots. It’s not a matter of brunt force but the power of muscles doing small motions.

The best female billiard player in the world is Rheanne Evans. She’s played since she was a child as have many female Chinese snooker players. However, she is still likely only about the top 300th snooker player in the world.
 

crazysnake

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Pool, and Billiards is one sport where competitive spirit, desire for excellence, and focus, trump physical ability. It's machismo, and sexism, that creates this insidious and false notion that women can't reach the highest levels of competition in our sport.


Sent from my motorola one zoom using Tapatalk
 

JC

Coos Cues
Gold Member
You may find our discussion of this issue based upon data in FargoRate interesting
Here in Oregon a child must be 6 years old on or before sept 1 to enter first grade. Therefore a child born on sept 2 would be in the same grade as a child born on aug 31 of the following year and be an entire year older. The oldest kids are born in the fourth trimester the exact opposite of your NHL graph and it's implications. When you spot one thing jinky it makes a person start to question many of the assumptions used for the conclusions.

If my buddy who sells real estate here in my tiny town put on a dress and insisted he was a woman he would instantly be in the top 15 American female players by fargo rate even though he's barely in the top 50 men in Oregon which is not really a pool hotbed.

My lying eyes tell me there is a difference no matter how you try to build a case with stats. It may not be as dramatic as running and jumping but it's real. Women are in general hard wired to be mothers whether the gender benders want to admit it or not. Men are hard wired to compete. It's how god created us.
 

Rocket354

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Here in Oregon a child must be 6 years old on or before sept 1 to enter first grade. Therefore a child born on sept 2 would be in the same grade as a child born on aug 31 of the following year and be an entire year older. The oldest kids are born in the fourth trimester the exact opposite of your NHL graph and it's implications. When you spot one thing jinky it makes a person start to question many of the assumptions used for the conclusions.

If my buddy who sells real estate here in my tiny town put on a dress and insisted he was a woman he would instantly be in the top 15 American female players by fargo rate even though he's barely in the top 50 men in Oregon which is not really a pool hotbed.

My lying eyes tell me there is a difference no matter how you try to build a case with stats. It may not be as dramatic as running and jumping but it's real. Women are in general hard wired to be mothers whether the gender benders want to admit it or not. Men are hard wired to compete. It's how god created us.

I do think a lot of this political need to pretend men and women have exactly the same cognitive or physical potential on average is a bunch of BS pushed in order to integrate more women into the workforce as seamlessly as possible, and make for an even more robust economic machine with 2X the number of workers.

I think this "uniform equality" silliness of thought, taught to people as they grow up for generations now, gets carried over into other areas (like evaluating skill at billiards game) and people have to torture the statistics they look at in order to not come to the obvious (and very non-PC) conclusion.

If you point to a 7' tall woman (there are some who exist), then that is not proof that women are just as tall as men. If you point to a great <insert activity here> woman, that is not proof that women are just as capable as men at that activity (whether it is true or not). I think it's disgustingly obvious that men and women have different distributions in most areas, and there are some skills that men are better at, on average, and some that women are better at, on average. Pointing to individuals in no way proves or disproves anything.

It is a testament, in a manner of speaking, to the power of social pressures that people can be be forced into a certain way of thought against all reasonableness. I guess the economy demands it.
 

dquarasr

Registered
I’ll go ahead and be “that guy”.

What criteria are validating the original premise that men are indeed better? Let’s eliminate the criterion of sheer numbers of players.

I’m not trying to be argumentative, just wanting to know how the assumption was made as I am genuinely interested.
 

smoochie

NotLikeThis
Some people been saying in the 90's that it is because women hasn't been in it as long as men has but i've always said BS about that.

The real reason is that men excel are some things while women excel are other things in life, thats a very general answer. In pool you use alot of muscle/brain connection which genetically men do it better than women in any sport/game.

The things that women excel at are things to do with endurance, usually women who are fit can endures more tough situations than men. I keep seeing it in Survivor TV show, I know thats ridiculous but you could see some challenges in there when it requires brains and muscle at the same time a man usually wins, however if there's a challenge where it is all about endurance and patience, these challenges are 90% won by girls/women.
 
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