Pool is a skill of controlling the cue ball, and all of pool disciplines could be called ‘’The Cue Ball.”
A common question asked—when is the best time to start practicing pool?
The answer—as soon as a child can reach the table and not displace the arm from the right position. My student, Pavle, who is six years old, can’t even reach the table but if we lift him up on a board he will be in a good position (like in the picture above).
Improvement of the game for beginners is fastest in the first year of learning pool, when they learn basic techniques and interact with pool disciplines. Many world champions started their careers learning straight pool first, and then the other disciplines—8 ball international, 9 ball and 10 ball, rotation and one pocket. In that period of learning, the nervous system rapidly creates new synapses and different engrams in the brain. That neuro-motor memory is vulnerable and it takes time to become automatic.
In the first year of training, we build new reflexes and memory engrams, we come to the phase called ‘’plateau,’’ where our knowledge appears to stagnate. That plateau period can last up to two or three years. In that period most of talented players who have quickly gained the basics of pool, give up because they can’t handle the pressure of stagnating. The slower, less talented players, who learned that for every little achievement they had to work hard, are more likely to overcome this period.
So talent can be both an advantage and disadvantage, if systematic training does not follow it.
Who survives that temporary stagnation will experience an improvement of the quality of their game, which is a reflection of mental and psychological, and emotional growth. The player has gained a certain playing routine, experience, and has learned to play under pressure and thus he can move the limits of his game. Improvement is slower than the one from the beginning but it is not limited and becomes a reflection of philosophy and approach towards the game, as well as the reflection of the character of a player himself.
When pool stops being game of your hands than it becomes game of your mind!
After two decades of playing I am still learning together with my students and from them.
Photo: Provided by Author Editor: Dana Gornall