Why are men better than women at billiards?

The_JV

'AZB_Combat Certified'
hard to ignore how many fewer women play(ed) pool in the first place
Yep.

Think of it like comparing one random state vs. the rest of the USA - what are the chances the best player comes from the one random state?
Exactly... I don't by into the farce that pool in any form has some element that determines women can't complete with men. It's far more obvious that it's a numbers game. ...and even in that smaller number the women have complete against not only the men to break through, but the whole ideal that women shouldn't/can't play the game as well.
 

Gunn_Slinger

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
A physics professor looked at this subject years ago. His conclusion was some women have problems with spatial relations ( the ability to perceive two or more object's position in space ( pool table ) relative to oneself and to each other ). To me, men and women have a problem with seeing the table layout and thinking 3 balls ahead in rotation games. How many amateur men can compete with the top women on tour ?In the 70's, I made a couple of road trips with Seattle Sam and Lori Shampo, a very good women player. She could beat a lot of male players. I believe that if more women wanted to become good players, they could be taught to play as well /or better than most amateur men.
Just my opinion.
 

Pin

Registered
To elaborate on Bob's answer, the Katsura sisters worked from a very young age in the family pool hall and were coached by their brother-in-law. Noriko won the Japanese Men's National Billiard Championship at least twice, and Masako found her way to America and competed respectably in the Word 3-Cushion tournament for I think three years (despite only recently learning that version of billiards), before the tournament ceased to be held. Players of the era thought she'd have gone on to win it, had the tournament continued.

Joining the dots, you might come to the interpretation that what is needed to become world-class is many hours of play on a daily basis for several years, and ideally some good instruction (this would be Malcolm Gladwell's view, to come back to Outliers). Working backwards from that answer, you might theorize that there is a certain type of male who falls into that obsessive(?) play by choice, but that women are less likely to go to such extremes. Unless put to work in the family pool hall.
 

APA Operator

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Proficiency in this sport comes primarily from two things, and neither of them is strength. One is knowledge, gained from a combination of external sources (books, videos, instructors, experience, etc.). The other is coordination, and it's not something you're born with. Subconscious muscle memory is part of that, and it can only be learned by repetition. Lots of repetition. Your brain has to coordinate the muscle movements (probably hundreds of them) that cause the stroke to occur. It not only has to tell your body which muscles to contract or expand, but by how much and when. That takes a lot of coordination of subconscious muscle movement, probably a lot more than most people realize, all based on feedback from your senses of sight and touch. Even worse, change any component and your brain has to unlearn the old subconscious sequence before it can learn the new one.

The process of becoming "coordinated", because it takes repetition, has contributed to the perceived differences between men and women. Until recently (the last 20-30 years), men and women did not have the same access to pool tables to get that repetition and experience. Society dictated that men felt more comfortable in pool halls or bars, so they were more likely to develop coordination. To a certain extent, that's still true today, but not to the degree it used to be. Women are catching up, but I think it will take another generation or two.
 

Banger

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Teenage girls have always excelled in the shooting sports, and if you ask the instructors, they will tell you the reason for this, is because they actually listen to the instructor. I think Kim Rhode is a perfect example, as she won her first world championship, at age 13, and she has been winning ever since. I believe women are certainly capable of becoming great pool players, if we can get them started early, and with some good basic instruction.
 

mikepage

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.
[...]
How does this not work? In 1980 82% of NFL players came from Canada. In 1990 it was 75%. It's been somewhat over 50% most of the 2000s. Canadian provinces have generally been a Jan 1 cutoff, right? Even if the remainder of the players came from places with Sept 1 cutoffs (i.e., US states), that still makes the US players in the Jan, Feb Mar group the second oldest group of US players. Overall the 1st Q group is going to have a lot higher average age. This is really an amazing statistic, imo.
 

JC

Coos Cues
Gold Member
How does this not work? In 1980 82% of NFL players came from Canada. In 1990 it was 75%. It's been somewhat over 50% most of the 2000s. Canadian provinces have generally been a Jan 1 cutoff, right? Even if the remainder of the players came from places with Sept 1 cutoffs (i.e., US states), that still makes the US players in the Jan, Feb Mar group the second oldest group of US players. Overall the 1st Q group is going to have a lot higher average age. This is really an amazing statistic, imo.
I have no information about how Canadian schools cut off kids for grades but you can't dig gold in a silver mine. Most of America does not play hockey so it's no surprise half the players in the NHL come from a country with less population than California. In America the first quarter kids will be on average three months younger than the fourth quarter kids. That's just simple math.

I started kindergarten in Mpls. Minn in the fall of 1963 and having been born late march 1959 I was up to 1.5 years younger than my classmates.

Fortunately I attended a small high school here in Oregon or I would have had virtually no athletic opportunities. But none of the kids and few of the adults could beat me on a pool table from about 12 on.
 

MmmSharp

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I would disagree. This is an equal opportunity game for people who put the time in.

Anyone who takes the time to learn and practice can do well. Men just seem to enjoy the game more, or perhaps the atmosphere so they tend to put more effort in.

The women who put the same effort into it are just as good. Typically it doesnt interest them though.

Having a natural affinity for understanding physics and being coordinated is a big help hard work in practice makes the player in my opinion.
 

Donkeybutt

Registered
in pool, the differences are not physical, they are psychological (in other sports the differences are usually physical). Men are conditioned to be more competitive. They learn at an early age that their entire worth only depends on whether they can win or not. Women are generally not taught this, but they can be just as competitive as men. Take Serena Williams, she has a competitive spirit that rivals the best male players. If she chose pool over tennis, she'd be close to the top
 

AF pool guy

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
in pool, the differences are not physical, they are psychological (in other sports the differences are usually physical). Men are conditioned to be more competitive. They learn at an early age that their entire worth only depends on whether they can win or not. Women are generally not taught this, but they can be just as competitive as men. Take Serena Williams, she has a competitive spirit that rivals the best male players. If she chose pool over tennis, she'd be close to the top

Can you imagine a Serena vs Earl match, the referee would be crying inside of 15 minutes.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 

ShootingArts

Smorg is giving St Peter the 7!
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Silver Member
Years ago and for many years I would have argued that there was no physical or mental reason ladies couldn't match men in pool. Other than an extremely few outliers I would have been wrong. Sheer numbers don't explain it. Just as a comparison, how many ladies play worldwide compared to how many male Filipino players? If it is purely a numbers game shouldn't there be only one or two elite men from the Philippines?

After having to accept that I was wrong, I really think that thousands or millions of years of men being primarily hunters and warriors and women being primarily gatherers may have had it's affect at very deep levels.

Ladies are more teachable than men because for the most part they don't question everything you say. A lady is more inclined to accept your statements as an instructor at face value, a man much more often has to understand the "why" before they accept a fact. This often slows down a man's learning while not adding anything of use. Sometimes something is counterintuitive in which case a man may never accept the fact.

None of the most common reasons why men are better than ladies at pool stand up at close scrutiny, yet the difference exists. After careful consideration, vive la différence!

Hu
 

alphadog

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I
A physics professor looked at this subject years ago. His conclusion was some women have problems with spatial relations ( the ability to perceive two or more object's position in space ( pool table ) relative to oneself and to each other ). To me, men and women have a problem with seeing the table layout and thinking 3 balls ahead in rotation games. How many amateur men can compete with the top women on tour ?In the 70's, I made a couple of road trips with Seattle Sam and Lori Shampo, a very good women player. She could beat a lot of male players. I believe that if more women wanted to become good players, they could be taught to play as well /or better than most amateur men.
Just my opinion.
Find this spatial thinking bias funny as I always believed women were superior to men ?
 

Korsakoff

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
Well, I hesitate to even write this in this day and age. i‘m pretty sure in the 1980s I read some that ladies with medium to large sized breasts experienced interference with their pure stroke.

Regarding spatial relationships, men are shown to have the advantage in many studies. But, there those few women that are equal to or better than men.

Play pool and enjoy it. Give up weight if need be.
 

jay helfert

Shoot Pool, not people
Gold Member
Silver Member
How does this not work? In 1980 82% of NFL players came from Canada. In 1990 it was 75%. It's been somewhat over 50% most of the 2000s. Canadian provinces have generally been a Jan 1 cutoff, right? Even if the remainder of the players came from places with Sept 1 cutoffs (i.e., US states), that still makes the US players in the Jan, Feb Mar group the second oldest group of US players. Overall the 1st Q group is going to have a lot higher average age. This is really an amazing statistic, imo.
You must mean the NHL (National Hockey League). I doubt that there are many Canadians playing football in the NFL.

As for the OP's original question, I believe there is no reason why a woman could not play as good or better than a man. Take a look at all the excellent women players coming out of China these days. Let them get started at an early age and watch what happens. I fully expect to see a woman come along that could win a major Open Championship. Jeannie Balukas was a threat to do just that decades ago and the men were becoming uncomfortable with that possibility.

My opinion remains that there is no mental or physical reason why a woman can't play pool just as good as any man.
 

The_JV

'AZB_Combat Certified'
You must mean the NHL (National Hockey League). I doubt that there are many Canadians playing football in the NFL.
As a Canadian, I was floored when I read NFL...lol. I think generally we have a few that break through to the NFL, but that would be the end of it.
My opinion remains that there is no mental or physical reason why a woman can't play pool just as good as any man.
Completely agree... If someone wants to post a study showing men having greater aptitude for spatial whatever and want to equate that to playing pool. Then I'll take a moment and post two studies that show that there is no distinct adventage at all.

This has nothing to do with physical/mental capabilities. If I were to go beyond the numbers game, I'd say the only real scientifcally unsubstantiated difference I've seen between men and women is ego. Men at every level really can't deal with someone being better than them. Whether it be a new tool, fancy car, trophy wife, how good they are at pool. Men just have this need to best other men. That doesn't mean a man has to be world champion, or even the strongest player in his room to be happy. However he does want to be the big fish within his little school (group) in their portion of the pond. I see it all the time in pool rooms. Smaller subsections of players typically that have one dominant player. That dominant will test themselves against other bigger fish but for the most part is content with being #1 in 'his' group. However some just have more ego than others and require dominance over the bigger fish as well. It can stop there, but then you have the outliers that have that insatiable ego (aka: competitive spirit).

I've seen the same mentality in the ladies league, but they tend to be more supportive and not quite as secretly cut throat as men. (well about pool anyway...lol) I've also found that the ladies enjoy the league game victories over men a great deal but never ask for a match outside of league play.
 
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