Best Ways to Practice

Best Ways to Practice

Post by Jason Franke » Thu, 04 Dec 1997 04:00:00


Couple of things I've been wondering about...

What are the best ways to practice?  (Very Advanced, Advanced, and
Beginners)

What's the best way to warm up for a tournement?

Thanks,

Jason Frankel

 
 
 

Best Ways to Practice

Post by bobgree » Fri, 05 Dec 1997 04:00:00

JASON WROTE:
Couple of things I've been wondering about...

What are the best ways to practice?  (Very Advanced, Advanced, and
Beginners)

What's the best way to warm up for a tournement?

Thanks,

Jason Frankel

------------------\
Wrong question! What should I practice is a better question
so how can I determine what I should practice?
My suggestion would be for you to take some instruction where you get
INDIVIDUALIZED ROUTINES to correct your faults!!!!!!
Any body can come up with a list of practice routines , but whether or
not they would be good for your game is moot
$1,000.02 WORTH
Bob

 
 
 

Best Ways to Practice

Post by Luck » Fri, 05 Dec 1997 04:00:00

Quote:
> What are the best ways to practice?  
> What's the best way to warm up for a tournement?
> Thanks,
> Jason Frankel

Lucky thinks that you'll get alot of answers to this.

The "best" warm up, and the "best" practice are those that will develop
muscle memory and speed control.

Progressive cut shot, stop shot, and draw shot drills are what I show
people when they ask me in the pool hall.  The "Mosconi circle" is
another good one.

If you look at Phil Capelles book "Play your best pool," there are some
diagrams that show how these can be set up.  Byrn's "Standard," show's
the mosconi circle.

Warming up for a tournament???
Wear a sweater.  Hang out with sweaters.

Actually,
When you're getting ready to compete, it helps to make sure that your
stroke is true. The way I do it, is to set a ball on the center spot,
and the cueball close to one corner.  Make sure the shot is a straight
in shot.  From this position I play draw, follow and stop shots to the
opposite corner. No english.  The position of the cueball after the shot
tells me if my stroke is honed, or if I'm wiggling, weaving, or (?)
putting unwanted spin on the cue ball.

Caveat:

Your attitude and habits that you instill in yourself will be there in
your competitive games.  If you practice lackadaisically (?) or half
heartedly, and you develop bad habits through your "practicing", you'll
surely display these bad tendancies when the pressure is on.  

Practice good, you'll shoot good.

Good luck,

Lucky

 
 
 

Best Ways to Practice

Post by Ron Shepa » Fri, 05 Dec 1997 04:00:00

Quote:

> What are the best ways to practice?

Others in this thread have suggested specific drills, and I don't have
much to add there.  But there are a few other things that are important
about practice that haven't been mentioned yet.

There are different kinds of practice.  Sometimes you need to spend time
learning a new shot or a new technique.  Watch the pros on TV or the good
players in your area, try to anticipate what they will do, and when they
do something unexpected, make a note of it so that you can analyze it and
incorporate it into your game.  If you find that you can't do something
that you've seen, don't discard the idea completely; just set it aside for
a few months and come back to it later after your game has matured a bit.

Sometimes you need to practice a shot that you know, but, for some reason,
you aren't hitting it exactly the right way.  This includes practicing
safeties too.  Did you miss a runout in your last match that you thought
you should have made?  Set it up and see if it was your assessment that
was wrong or if your technique was at fault.  Beginners are sometimes
grossly in error in assessing various options.

Sometimes you need to play out an unfamiliar situation a few different
ways to see what is the best option.  Sometimes the best option depends on
your opponents abilities, so you have to understand some situations in
enough depth to make the correct choice with this in mind.

Sometimes you need to hone some basic technique.  This might be as simple
as setting up table-length straight-in shots to get rid of some swoop or
swerve or elbow drop that has crept into your stroke.

And sometimes you need to practice drills that mimic the pressure that you
feel during competition.  Progressive drills are good candidates for
this.  Also, keep a logbook, or spreadsheet, or some other kind of record,
of your results.  This not only allows you to accurately assess your
current performance, but it places pressure on you when you are close to
setting a new personal record of some kind.  If you don't spend some
practice time in order to learn to play under pressure, then you aren't
really practicing for the situation that you are trying to improve.

Quote:
> What's the best way to warm up for a tournement?

I don't have much specific to say about this either, but in general this
warm-up time is for you to get used to the equipment conditions and to get
your technique in shape for the following competition.  On the equipment
side, how much does the cloth slide, how fast does it roll, how tight are
the pockets playing, how much do the balls throw, how do the cushions
bank, is the cue ball unusually heavy or light, and so on.  On the
technique side, you need to build some confidence with easy shots, but you
don't want to waste time with shots that are too easy.  When the pros warm
up for a match, they sometimes have time to shoot only a single rack of 9
balls.  That's a lot to figure out in only 9 shots.

$.02 -Ron Shepard

 
 
 

Best Ways to Practice

Post by Andrew D. McLeo » Sat, 06 Dec 1997 04:00:00

Greetings!

Quote:

> > What are the best ways to practice?
> > What's the best way to warm up for a tournement?
> > Thanks,
> > Jason Frankel

> Lucky thinks that you'll get alot of answers to this.

And lots of very different answers! Here's my particular flavour....

I like to practice my cueing on my kitchen table (which sounds funny, but
isn't that bad ---  I think). What I do is take the base of a matchbox
and then put a small hole in the centre just slightly larger than
the tip of my cue (ie so that the box base will slide down to about
2-3 inches on the cue (I have a snooker cue, so it's a conically
tapered end and not all the same radius). Anyway, once I've done this
I cue through the hole....taking full normal strokes and full follow
through.....I try to do sets of 25. Anyway, to the normal people
in the world without obsessive personalities this may seem pretty boring
and they would not be wrong. However, it does offer certain advantages
to "public" practice drills:

1> You are alone.....you're not kidding anyone by playing the shot
with tons of side or top (not that you can do that anyway). You can take
as many tries as you want.

2> You are in what should be a comfortable environment which means
that you are relaxed and thus in a receptive mood.

3> If you miss hit, the matchbox base will fly off and you have
an immediate indication of a wobbly stroke or bad aim.

4> Adjusting the size of the hole allows you to practice accurate
cueing to within different tolerances.

5> It's free!

6> Turning up to a pool hall and getting straight into a game knowing
that you have just cue'ed straight for N times, is a good morale booster
....actually, because you've already warmed up, you don't need to warm
up to find your stroke.....good for destroying your opponent by
making that incredibly difficult run out from the break with no
observed practice session before hand.

7> It's safer than the "coke bottle" drill.

8> It doesn't take much time....no great distance to cover and no
replacing the balls.

Quote:
> Warming up for a tournament???
> Wear a sweater.  Hang out with sweaters.

> Actually,
> When you're getting ready to compete, it helps to make sure that your
> stroke is true. The way I do it, is to set a ball on the center spot,
> and the cueball close to one corner.  Make sure the shot is a straight
> in shot.  From this position I play draw, follow and stop shots to the
> opposite corner. No english.  The position of the cueball after the shot
> tells me if my stroke is honed, or if I'm wiggling, weaving, or (?)
> putting unwanted spin on the cue ball.

I like this drill. I kind of do this as a progressive practice drill as
well, keeping the cueball near the corner and moving the object ball
out further away along the line of the pockets if I succeed in screwing the
cueball back into the pocket it was originally near.

Another thing I like to do is get into the habit of watching other
people's game and actively analysing them....thinking up justifications
and critiscisms about various shots and things (it's stupid though to
critiscise the stroke itself, because pool is about what is achieved and
not the way that it is achieved....when it comes down to it).....I think
this warms up your mental approach to the game, which is just as important
as any other aspect.

Quote:
> Caveat:

> Your attitude and habits that you instill in yourself will be there in
> your competitive games.  If you practice lackadaisically (?) or half
> heartedly, and you develop bad habits through your "practicing", you'll
> surely display these bad tendancies when the pressure is on.

Indeed. Actually, another thing which distinguishes good amateurs from
world class players (at least in badminton where the results I am about
to paraphrase came from) is relaxation. During some monitoring of brain
wave activity during the execution of an overhead smash (a critical
shot in badminton requiring good timing and a killer instinct----
if you miss hit it, it is pretty much guarenteed to not be to your
advantage) they found rather than there being a stronger impulse or
it occuring for a shorter period of time of earlier than those of the
amateur players the only difference was in the background levels of
brain activity.  In other words the world class players were generally
incredibly focused.

Anyway, the same holds true in any sport or activity I think.
When this happens to you, you suddenly become aware of how much
time you have and how obvious and natural everything feels. A personal
recollection is just before a big competition a few years ago I was
playing about 2 hours everyday and after a while I managed to become
quite focused. In the end, I wasn't really lining anything up, it was
all just happening and when I looked at the object ball, there was just
like this huge X (with thin lines you understand) plastered on the object
ball, and I knew (I really mean KNEW) that if I hit the cueball there
(which I also didn't doubt I was capable of) that everything would work
out just as I wanted it to. Anyway, if you've heard the expression
"Playing like God", well that was me at that time....for the matchbox
drill I described above I was doing sets of 200 consecutively with
no errors........................unfortunately
though for the competition proper they used napless cloths, which was
something we didn't have in Newcastle (UK) at that time, so my speed
judgement was completely out the window.....

Actually, whilst I am on this subject....does anyone know what equipment
one needs to monitor brain wave and muscle activity.?...I have this idea
about training a relaxed state through feedback I'd like to explore.

Quote:
> Practice good, you'll shoot good.

Well sometimes maybe......focus is still needed :-)

Well, there you have half of my ideas on pool practice in a nutshell,
I feel kind of *** having said those "secrets"......
actually Doc, I've been having this recurring dream, I'm in the middle
of a crowded street and........

Cheers,

Andy McLeod

PS I've not mentioned visualisation techniques applied to pool, but I
think if you have a lot of trouble with presure then just visualising
yourself in winning situations and then performing (which I think is the
biggest problem to chokers.....they get to a winning position and then
throw it away) could help alot. Just 2-3 minutes before going to sleep
or something may  be enough.

PPS There are NO guarantees!

PPPS Does anyone have a line counter ? Am I still around the 31 mark ?
Actually is it a coincidence that RAY from P.R. chose 31 as his
cut off mark and Laura Friedman was 31 the other day (to whom a
belated "Otanjoubi omedetou gozaimasu" from Japan is directed) ????
Is there something we should know ????????

 
 
 

Best Ways to Practice

Post by Tom Simps » Sat, 06 Dec 1997 04:00:00


::Actually, whilst I am on this subject....does anyone know what equipment
::one needs to monitor brain wave and muscle activity.?...I have this idea
::about training a relaxed state through feedback I'd like to explore.
::

::
::Cheers,
::
::Andy McLeod

Great post, Andy!

Gear is complicated and expensive. I suggest trying some natural methods
first. One that is widely known is Silva Mind Control. Bad name, but
pretty good stuff. It's been around for 40 years, and there are many
books, tapes, and seminars available. They teach some simple methods for
attaining and maintaining an "alpha" level brainwave state.

This is a "heightened awareness" state, and the claims are that you learn
better, think more clearly, perform at a higher level, program yourself
for whatever, and so on. Recently, I noticed Nightingale-Conant (the
courses on tape company -- 800-525-9000) now has a version of it.

I took the course 25 years ago, and found it pretty well organized and
practical. When I tell you what the "graduation" test is, some of you
will be rolling your eyes and moving on to the next post. On the last day
(I think it was 3 days), you pair up with someone in the class that you
don't know. They go into "state" and then you tell them the name of
someone you know, anywhere on the planet, who has a health problem. Your
partner's job is to scan that person's body and report what the health
problem is. Sounds impossible, and nobody really believed it would work.
It worked. Everybody hit it, and generally not in some loose, ambiguous
way. Years later, I was telling someone about it, and they bugged me
until I agreed to try it for them. They gave me the name, I scanned and
reported that the guy had a slight hearing problem and wore glasses, but
I apologized because I couldn't find anything else wrong. I was right --
he was trying to set me up.

Anyway, the point is, this kind of thing gives you ways to get in the
zone, ways to reel your concentration in when you need it, and some very
interesting experiences. I think the most valuable thing I learned was
the subtle difference between "deep intuition" and making it up.

BTW, Andy. Get that mole checked :)) Just kidding.

        Tom Simpson

 
 
 

Best Ways to Practice

Post by Ron Huds » Sat, 06 Dec 1997 04:00:00



Quote:

>::Actually, whilst I am on this subject....does anyone know what equipment
>::one needs to monitor brain wave and muscle activity.?...I have this idea
>::about training a relaxed state through feedback I'd like to explore.
>::

>::
>::Cheers,
>::
>::Andy McLeod

>Great post, Andy!

>Gear is complicated and expensive. I suggest trying some natural methods
>first. One that is widely known is Silva Mind Control. Bad name, but
>pretty good stuff.

<snip>

Quote:

>    Tom Simpson

Whatever happened to those bio feedback monitors from about the '60s
or so.  It was a device with some electrodes that you glued to your
head and the electrode leads were connected to a very sensitive meter.
After experimenting and training yourself, supposedly, people could
make the meter read certain levels on command.  

They were intended to train the person to put him or herself into a
relaxed state.  There wasn't much to these things as I recall, and
they were not expensive.

ron

 
 
 

Best Ways to Practice

Post by Tom Bellhous » Sat, 06 Dec 1997 04:00:00

Quote:


> > What are the best ways to practice?

> Others in this thread have suggested specific drills, and I don't have
> much to add there.  But there are a few other things that are important
> about practice that haven't been mentioned yet.

> There are different kinds of practice.  Sometimes you need to spend time
> learning a new shot or a new technique.  

(snip)

Quote:

> Sometimes you need to practice a shot that you know, but, for some reason,
> you aren't hitting it exactly the right way.  This includes practicing
> safeties too.  

(snip)

Quote:

> Sometimes you need to play out an unfamiliar situation a few different
> ways to see what is the best option.  
(snip)

> Sometimes you need to hone some basic technique.  This might be as simple
> as setting up table-length straight-in shots to get rid of some swoop or
> swerve or elbow drop that has crept into your stroke.

> And sometimes you need to practice drills that mimic the pressure that you
> feel during competition.  Progressive drills are good candidates for
> this.  

(snip)

Ron,

Sorry for making "paper dolls" out of your post, but I was trying to get it under 31
lines.    :<)  

I like Bob Jewett's suggestion of using paper hole-reinforcers to set up shots.  They
would be handy in every case you mention above.  I know that if I'm setting up a shot,
over and over, it's really not the same shot each time unless I mark ball positions for
the shot.  Used to use a dab of white chalk, but the table looked like it had the plague
after a while.  The hole reinforcers don't influence the roll of the balls, and they can
be easily peeled and restuck in another location.  I now leave a set parked on the
diamonds all around the table, and if I run into a troublesome shot that needs
repetition, I just peel a couple of reinforcers off the rail nearest me and use them.

Stay in stroke,

Tom

 
 
 

Best Ways to Practice

Post by SyCla » Sat, 06 Dec 1997 04:00:00


Quote:

>What are the best ways to practice?

    I noticed you didn't get many begginer posts, so here goes. I'm not really
a begginer, I can beat most of the barroom action no problem. I'm also friends
with most of the hustlers, local pro's and semi pro's.

    What I do is play everyday! I walk in to the room I find the best player I
can and I play him/her over and over and over. I watch each shot they make. IF
I get a shot. I try to look ahead, so that I know exactly where that cue ball
needs to be for the next two shots at least (sometimes entire run) and I try to
place it just right each time. To improve your concentration: Most REALLY good
players don't mind cheapening their game a little for a friend <G>. Find
someone you consider a better player than yourself and play for five bucks!
Then you have a reason to concentrate!

     I also make friends with these people and they show me all kinds of things
as well as trouble shoot my game (and help correct mistakes). Plus I take
lessons from the local pro at fif*** dollars an hour! It's well worth it!

                                                                      Symon

 
 
 

Best Ways to Practice

Post by Ron Shepa » Sat, 06 Dec 1997 04:00:00


[...]

Quote:
>I like Bob Jewett's suggestion of using paper hole-reinforcers to set up

shots.  
[...]

Sometimes this is a good idea, and sometimes it's not.  For learning a new
shot or a new technique where ball position is important, then it is a
good idea to set up the same shot as exactly as possible in order to
control as many undetermined variables as possible.

But when faced with a shot in an actual competitive situation, there are
several steps that the player must go though.  These include lining up the
shot angles and determining the contact point on the object ball (or ghost
ball position, or whatever), accounting correctly for object ball throw,
getting into the stance with correct alignment and bridge length for the
shot, and so on until the last step, which is execution of the stroke.  It
sometimes happens with repeated shot setups that a player starts to
"zone-out" and skip all of the first steps except for the last one.  He
puts his feet in the same place every time, holds the stick in the same
place with the same bridge length, and he doesn't have to "aim" because he
knows exactly where is the contact point from memory.  When this happens,
I think the player may be wasting his practice time.  He is skipping over
the very things that he should be practicing.  In most of my personal
practice drills, I make it a point to vary the object ball and cue ball
positions just a bit every shot.  This forces me to go through "the
process" and practice the whole shot, not just the last 1/4 second of it.

This idea occurred to me 25 years ago or so when I, like many other
players at the time, would practice spot shots.  With the old rules, spot
shots often came up in 8-ball and 9-ball.  It was not unusual to see
someone get on a roll and make 100 in a row in a practice session.  But
when one came up in a game, they were as likely to miss it as any other
shot.  Maybe it was a high-percentage shot, 90% or higher, but they would
not make it with the same certainty that they did the night before in
their practice session.  Why?  It is because in their practice session
they actually went through "the process" only 5 or 10 times, and once they
zeroed in on the shot and got in their "zone" they were just going through
the motions.  They had really only practiced the shot 5 or 10 times, not
100 times.  They weren't worried about cue ball placement, using sidespin
or draw or shot speed, in the practice session, but they might have been
thinking about these things in the game situation.  In other words, they
weren't really practicing what needed to be practiced.

I use the paper reinforcements too.  They are great for the type of
practice where the exact shot setup needs to be reproduced.  I use them
with Target Pool, for example.  But not all shots used in a practice
session are like this.  Sometimes a little variation is better, I think.

$.02 -Ron Shepard

 
 
 

Best Ways to Practice

Post by Ryan Sco » Sat, 06 Dec 1997 04:00:00

On Thu, 04 Dec 1997 11:28:19 +0000, bobgreen

Quote:

>$1,000.02 WORTH
>Bob

That's a lot of dough to put on your statement, I've never known you
to be a bettin' man..

$.01 + 1 cube of cheap pool chalk's worth
Ryan

 
 
 

Best Ways to Practice

Post by Jason Franke » Sat, 06 Dec 1997 04:00:00

Thanks a bunch for all your posts.  Especially the post by Ron Sheperd
and Lucky.  They were heard loud and clear.  

I'm having a tough time getting my game to go up that extra level.  It
seems to be leveling off.  Maybe if I give you a bit more information
you guys can help me get over this hump.  

I've got a pretty good pool player in Southern California coaching me.
His name is Bill Houck.  He's about a 140-150 usppa player but he's
getting older now.  I've learned a number of drilled from him that Lou
Boutera and Irvine Crane used.  They have helped immensly.  My usppa
rating is probably about 100-130.  Yea, I know that is a large range.
And anybody who has knows my pool game would agree I swing MUCH more
than most people.  That's the reason why I posted this question.  I feel
that I'm right on the edge of moving up to the next level of play.  

An example of the scenerio I'm trying to aviod is as follows...  I
practiced and played competitively for several weeks before the Santa
Barbara Invitational tournement (open).  I was in stroke.  When I got
into the tournement I played TERRIBLE every match (Probably about 85
usppa).  Over the course of a month.  (yea, its a month long
tournement)...  I just manage to beat every body that I play and now I'm
in the finals.  But the problem is that I should be playing at least 100
speed.  If I was playing MY game I'd steam role these guys for lunch.
But instead I just squeek by.

I've mostly been a money player in the past.  This is the first larger
tournement that I've entered into...

Any more advice that I can get from you guys?  I'd really appreciate it.

Jason A. Frankel
Computer Programming Consultant



 
 
 

Best Ways to Practice

Post by Ron Shepa » Sun, 07 Dec 1997 04:00:00


[...]

It sounds to me like you are doing alright.  

Quote:
> I've mostly been a money player in the past.  This is the first larger
> tournement that I've entered into... [...]

It takes time to get used to playing in tournaments.  When you gamble, you
only have to win the last match; as long as you keep your head above
water, all the others are just preamble to the last one.  When you play in
a tournament, you have to win _every_ match.  It is a different kind of
pressure.  If you are out of stroke and someone asks you to gamble, you
can always just put it off until a better day.  When your match comes up
in a tournament, you have to bring out your best game, right then, or you
are out.  When you gamble, you pick your own times to eat, sleep, and
play.  In a tournament, you may not have a chance to eat or sleep, and you
may have to face an opponent who is fresh.  You just have to get past all
of these things and learn how to bring it out when needed.  The term is
"tournament tough", and it doesn't necessarily come easy, even to
experienced gamblers.

Good luck with your tournament.

$.02 -Ron Shepard