Ways to improve your practice time

Ways to improve your practice time

Post by Ron Shepa » Tue, 28 Jan 1997 04:00:00



Quote:


>: I do have to admit, though, that discussions for improving one's game
>: are very limited.  The usual advice is just "practice, practice,
>: practice."  Well, that's true, but there are many different ways of
>: practicing.  Who does what to keep there game up (or to bring it up
>: farther)?  Anybody find that "great" exercise for a specific shot (i.e.,
>: rail shots, spot shots, etc.)?  I'd love to hear it.
[...]
>        My answer is drills, but they have to be interesting and fun or
>they'll get dull. Here's my latest idea.

Part of the challenge in drills is keeping score.  You want to have some
kind of numerical value at the end.  This lets you assess how you are
doing, and it also gives you a goal.

[some good drills...]

Quote:
>        To make certain you're re-spotting the object ball in the right
>place, use Avery Reinforcement labels.

These are a good idea when you really do want to shoot the exact shot over
and over.  However, sometimes you don't want to shoot the _exact_ shot
over and over, but really a sequence of _similar_ shots.  The first part
of any shot involves figuring out where the cue ball is supposed to hit
the object ball.  This is mostly a mental exercise, adjusting for object
ball throw, judging the right cut angle to get the right contact, and so
on.  When you shoot the exact shot over and over, you may get mentally
lazy since you can start to skip this first step after a few repetitions.
But if the shot is varied a bit, you are forced to honestly do this first
step.  At least this is what happens to me, maybe I'm lazier than average.
;-)

[some more good drills...]

Bob Jewett had an article in BD on some simple progressive drills.  The
idea with progressive drills is that every time you succeed, you make the
shot harder in some way (e.g. more distance, tougher angle, more cue ball
action), and every time you fail you make the shot easier.  When you do
this, you spend most of your time right at the edge of your skill level,
oscillating back and forth around your 50% point.  This does two good
things.  It gives you immediate feedback about how well you are doing
(that "numerical value" thing again), and you are neither bored with easy
shots nor frustrated with too difficult shots.

This principle applies also to more complicated tasks instead of just
single shots.  For example, there is the progressive 9-ball drill.  You
start by throwing out the 9-ball, take ball in hand, and shoot it in.
Then you throw out the 8-ball and the 9-ball, take ball in hand, and run
both balls.  Every time you succeed with the runout, add another ball, and
every time you fail, remove a ball.  This same idea can be applied to
other games too, 8-ball, one-pocket, whatever you think you need to work
on that session.

$.02 -Ron Shepard

 
 
 

Ways to improve your practice time

Post by Tarl Roger Kudri » Tue, 28 Jan 1997 04:00:00

: I do have to admit, though, that discussions for improving one's game
: are very limited.  The usual advice is just "practice, practice,
: practice."  Well, that's true, but there are many different ways of
: practicing.  Who does what to keep there game up (or to bring it up
: farther)?  Anybody find that "great" exercise for a specific shot (i.e.,
: rail shots, spot shots, etc.)?  I'd love to hear it.

        Okay, you've got it.

        This is an issue which I grapple with constantly. I have a big
problem, see: 1) I'm a good but not great player who wants to become a
great player, and 2) I'm a full-time post-Masters graduate student with a
30-hr/wk job. My FIRST priorities are graduate school and work, so
obviously, I'll never be on the pro tour (more than one top pro, e.g.,
Johnny Archer and Shannon Daulton dropped out of high school because it
was interfering with their pool).

        So, given that I have about 8 hours a week to practice pool (not
counting playing with a friend on Saturdays), how can I extract the MOST
value from my practice time?

        My answer is drills, but they have to be interesting and fun or
they'll get dull. Here's my latest idea.

        First, I spend about 30 minutes of each session practicing long,
straight-in shots at various speeds and with various amounts of spin. This
is to ensure that I'm stroking straight. Lately I've been working on
stroking very smoothly, too.

        My biggest problem, though, is position play. Cue ball control in
other words. Here's a drill: put an object ball in some not-too-easy part
of the table. Take ball in hand and sink the object ball. Re-spot the
object ball and shoot it again from wherever the cue ball ended up from
your last shot. The idea is to sink the same ball from the same spot ten
times in a row. To make it more interesting, don't let yourself start the
drill with a straight-in shot and just draw back. Force yourself to start
at a 45-degree angle or something.

        To make certain you're re-spotting the object ball in the right
place, use Avery Reinforcement labels. These are little white sticky rings
which are used to reinforce the holes in 3-hole paper. You can buy 500+ of
them at any office supply store or drug store for about $2. They stick to
the felt, they do not interfere with the shot in any way, and they come
off very easily without any harm to the table or the felt. (Thanks to Ken
Aylseworth for this trick, who learned it from Ken Yamate.) (Hmm...in case
the above isn't clear, you're sticking the labels onto a spot on the felt
and placing the ball in the center of the label. Works perfectly, trust
me. The ball sits still because the label is a hollow ring.)

        When you get tired of one-ball drills, try this little nightmare
which I drove myself nuts with yesterday: Place one ball in the center of
the end rail, about half a diamond away from the edge of the rail. Place a
second ball in the center of the other end rail, again about half a
diamond away from the edge. Take ball in hand and shoot one ball, get
position on the other, shoot that, go back up the table, shoot the top
(respotted) ball again...this is harder than you might think. It took me
45 minutes to get up to a run of 6 balls. The cue ball control is very
demanding!

        Then of course there's Equal Offense, or Honolulu (where
straight-in shots don't count...every shot must be a bank, kick, carom, or
combination), and so forth. Or even "Saftey Billiards". Take a cue ball
and two object balls. With ball in hand, play yourself safe. Then, really
really try to either sink or at least hit the other ball, going for a shot
or going for another safety, which ever makes more sense. You get three
chances to hit the other ball. If you can't do it, consider it a good
safety, take ball in hand again, and try to safe yourself again...

                                                 --Tarl Roger Kudrick

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"You get what you settle for."    |
Thelma, in "Thelma and Louise"    |I don't speak for my company. People
                                  |who visit me can speak for themselves.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------