From the start I must say, I’m writing this review based on using the app on my [Andriod] phone for only a couple of days. I figure first impressions mean more than anything else.
There are two ways to get this app. First, by going through the Google Play store on your phone [the iTunes app store carries it as well]. Or you can go to CheckBilliard.com (remember this website, as it comes in handy later on.)
When you first download the app you are asked to register with your email and create an account. For some, this may be a killer, but do it — its free (fig. 1).
After logging in you come to the Test Selection screen (fig. 2). Start out with section one. This is a free test they call “Quick 20.” This test is four drills that you use to get a baseline to start at in section two.
You are presented with a picture of a pool table (fig. 3) showing the test you must complete before moving onto the next. When you tap on the table you are shown a bigger picture (fig. 4) and given four options to the right of the screen.
Big I: information you will need, directions on how to complete and score the given test (fig. 5).
Red/Green Thumb: These are the Dos and Don’ts for the drill (fig. 6).
Videos: This option actually shows you the drill being done by one of two people of your choice, Professional player Ralf Souquet or youth player Jonas Kornmesser (fig. 7).
The Green Check Mark: this is what you use to put in your score — don’t lie, be honest with your score. You will only hurt yourself (fig. 8).
When you finish with section one, in the free version, it moves you on to section two “Straight 100,” consisting of ten tests. Again, you must complete that just as you did in the previous section (Fig. 9, Fig. 10).
As you can tell, I took screenshots of the app on my phone so you, the player, could see the app at work just like I have with no really huge surprises when and if you log on.
There are some other options to explore in this app, including training videos and other instructions, but I don’t want to give away all the little surprises you can access (everything with the subscription). I want this article to be a review of what I really think about this app, at the first look.
From a player, teacher, and student point of view all I can say is “Wow!”
Robert Windl, founder and CEO of CheckBilliard, along with Ralph Eckert, who is the CTO and the man who put all these little tests, exercises, etc. together, got it right. The whole is put together really well, and very easy to use. One major thing I really like about this app is that you can track your progress. Just keep track of your score from week to week.
This gives you, the student, what you need from a training tool: A measure of progression. Being able to see how you progress is one the most important things to someone learning something.
You’re not stuck with doing the tests over and over either. Once you complete your test, you can access exercises. These give you the chance to work on aspects of the game you may not have done so well on in the test.
This brings up one of the major cons with any self training tool, lying about how you did on part of a test.
Think about this: you miss position by a couple of inches, and you’re “close enough,” right? I think the players who do this are only doing one thing, and that’s hurting their own game. Be honest with how you perform and I think this app will help you in many, many ways.
Here is my list of Pros and Cons I have found with this app I think you may want to know — they are based on my opinion alone. I’m sure you will find some of your own.
You can see what you have to do in great detail (and color coded.)
Simple application to use.
It’s free (for most of it).
Shows progression and lets you learn at your speed
After a test you are not stuck with working on something you did well at.
It’s interactive; you keep score, you watch the videos, but you can share.
Love the instruction videos, very well done
Not all of it is free
Like any self training aid, it allows a player to cheat the system of how it works — but then again, who or what is the player really cheating by doing so?
Once you restart a test, you must complete it before being able to access the exercises (in the free version). Not a deal breaker for me, but I didn’t like that part.
This training app gets a big thumbs up from me, the pros are great and the cons are very few, albeit picky. I think for the player that is looking for something that can work and be honest about it, this is what you are looking for.
I have used and tried out many things over the years and when it comes to drills, training, etc. this app has my vote for sure. I would choose having this in my pocket over trying to remember something seen online the week before without a doubt.
I know some of you may not find this type of training useful. That’s fine. I would still try this one out, and be honest about your results.
The team at CheckBilliard got this one right. I think you will be very happy with everything you see and use in the app. If not, use it as a means of teaching and explaining some things to new players. After all, without the new guys, we will never be the old guys.
As always, good luck and happy shooting.