Duddy’s Top 10 Tips for Competition (Part 1)

The people who play pool regularly represent a broad spectrum of styles, personality types & strong opinions on the game. The diversity of people in the sport is one of the things I love most about it. Through 20 years of competitive experience I am grateful to have accumulated knowledge on the game, yet I am always humbled by how much more there is to learn. Here is a list of my top 10 tips for pool competition Part 1 (1-5). This will be the first in a series of Top 10 articles with future topics including: Fundamentals, Practice, & Gambling. In this series you’ll find my two cents on the different topics & you can take them or leave. I hope you can apply one or more to improve your pool life. Enjoy!

1.) Prepare Physically & Mentally Before

The time before the event is perhaps more important than during the competition. Although I try to maintain a healthy lifestyle year round, I usually start taking better care of myself more right before an event. The amount of time before depends on the energy needed for the competition. For example if it’s a local 1-2 day event I would start 2-3 days before, whereas a WPBA 4 day event I would prepare 1-2 weeks before. I focus on regular exercise (3-4 days a week), eating a whole food & clean diet, practicing yoga/meditation & working on stress relief. When it comes to competition, every small choice can translate into a winning advantage.

2.) Practice with Purpose

The first thing I do prior to a competitive event is find out what equipment we are playing on & practice on it if possible. For example the WPBA events are played on Diamond Tables as they sponsor the tour, but my home room Amsterdam Billiard Club and my home table are Brunswick Gold Crowns. The different brands of tables play differently, so I seek out Diamonds to practice on 1-2 weeks before the event. In the NYC area I usually have to travel up to an hour, but it’s worth it. I usually feel more prepared & play more consistently. For local league matches or local tournaments, I will try to play on the actual tables of the event if possible.

On top of this I learn the format & rules of the event & apply them to my practice routine. I will play other people of a certain skill level in the designated race. For example for an open/pro tournament I will practice with people close to my skill level or higher, playing even races to 7 or 9 & either winner or alternate break. If it’s a handicapped league or tournament match coming up I will practice with people a skill level lower or higher then myself & play with the appropriate handicap.