Frustrated!!!

Looking for pool instructors or instructional materials such as videos and book?

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Frustrated!!!

Postby DKimsey on Sat Dec 10, 2005 8:36 pm

I am 22 years old and I recently began playing pool somewhat seriously. It's only been a few months but I feel like I'm hitting a brick wall. When I practice by myself I can pocket balls really well, but when I am playing others (espically people I have never played before) I choke and choke and choke. I don't have consistency. When I practice by myself I just play straight pool. Another thing is I have a really good feeling that I don't know how to bridge properly, my stance probably sucks, et cetera. I'm a college student and I don't think I can really afford to pay anyone to teach me the knowledge that I am craving. So are books/DVDs the best route for me? If so are there any that could help me with the basics as well as put me route towards a good practice routine that will help me gain consistency? Thanks

David
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Postby mechmat on Sat Dec 10, 2005 9:47 pm

You're still way too inexperienced to beat good players, so don't fret too much. Choking is mostly in your head, but flaws in your mechanics could be making it worse. No offense, but judging by how long you've played you may just plain not be as good as you think. It's hard to judge your own ability just playing by yourself, and as you said you don't play well against others.

A lot of the problems you describe could be fixed in a single one hour lesson. That will run you $30-50, no more than a couple of books or DVDs. If you don't want to do that right away, I'd say step one is to check the library. Almost every book is going to go over the basics, and that's the first thing you need to work on. No sense spending a bunch of money on something you can get for free.
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Postby DKimsey on Sat Dec 10, 2005 11:02 pm

mechmat I realize that you didn't mean to offend but how good do I think I am? I don't understand exactly what you meant by that comment. I plainly stated that sometimes I have a decent ability to pocket balls and other times I don't. At what point did I come across differently?
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Postby Cleon1983 on Sun Dec 11, 2005 5:21 am

I wouldn't read too much into the comment. I think mechmat was only suggesting and trying to help. I know I'm the same way you are. I can pocket them like crazy when I'm on my own table and by myself. But when I play better players (especially on a different table), I seem to miss shots that I think I can normally make (I can usually blame it on trying to get better postion with the cb). I compare it to making all those last second basketball shots in my back yard when I was a kid. It wasn't quite that easy in a real game.....
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Postby mechmat on Sun Dec 11, 2005 6:51 am

DKimsey wrote:mechmat I realize that you didn't mean to offend but how good do I think I am? I don't understand exactly what you meant by that comment. I plainly stated that sometimes I have a decent ability to pocket balls and other times I don't. At what point did I come across differently?


I was just trying to get across that playing poorly against others is a better representation of your skill level than how well you pocket balls when you play by yourself. I guess when you said choke I figured you were getting beat pretty regularly, not just missing shots.

Becoming a good player is a long process. Not playing as well as you want after only a few months of practice is not that big a deal, and not something you should let yourself get too frustrated over. Being postitive and patient with yourself when you miss a shot here and there is going to let you progress a lot more quickly. I probably worded it poorly, but I was just trying to get you to see you don't really need to be beating yourself up over not playing as well as you'd like so soon after you've started playing seriously.

I was just trying to help, not insult you or anything. Have fun and good luck.
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Postby franz on Sun Dec 11, 2005 9:29 am

if you have other friends who are more experienced than you, i suggest you ask them for help rather than buying a book or a video. also practice is very important, i beleive you can learn from experience than in book reading :)
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Postby DKimsey on Sun Dec 11, 2005 3:46 pm

mechmat I am sorry for overreacting to your comment but previous to your comment I had my game completely ripped apart by some old guy in a negative way (I was actually asking him for constructive criticism). So I guess I was a little over sensitive. I have found a couple of people who are experienced who I think I can learn things from, but the issue is getting table time with them on a somewhat regular basis. In any case, I'll figure out something. Thanks for your comments everyone.
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Postby BECue on Sun Dec 11, 2005 3:56 pm

You have to be careful about players who you think are "experienced". There are a lot of players who have been playing for years and years and still have flawed mechanics (unknown to them) and players like this are most likely going to teach you the same flawed mechanics (without realizing it). IMO, it is better to have a certified instructor teach you for an hour or so OR just get a good instructional book... Phil Capelle's Play your best pool is a great choice.
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Postby DKimsey on Sun Dec 11, 2005 6:56 pm

It's funny admin, I found that book on Amazon and I was thinking about ordering it. So with your endorsement I will definitely pick it up. So hopefully the book and a lot of hard work will put me a path towards success. Also admin, do you know how I could find a good/certified instructor in the Philadelphia/South Jersey area? Thanks for your opinion!

David
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Postby mechmat on Sun Dec 11, 2005 11:31 pm

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Postby Edloves2playpool on Thu Dec 15, 2005 9:04 pm

I'm at best, an average player, who has also suffered from that same problem. When I’m at home (by myself) or on the practice table during league night, my game seems to be on fire, and then when I’m in a match, I’d choke and blow the whole game.

What I found out I was doing, was thinking too much about all the wrong things. Instead of just concentrating on my shots, and just relaxing, and playing my game. I found myself thinking about my opponent. How good or not good he or she was. How many balls he (or she) had left. How difficult a particular shot I had was. Wondering whether he was going to run out on me or snooker me. Asking myself how I missed that last shot, and basically telling myself that I sucked, and that I was probably going to lose this game. And this is just a few of the negative sh!t that would go through my head when I’m about to choke.

I found that if a missed one or two shoots (especially in a row), I’d start beating myself up mentally. Now if I miss a shot, I try and let it go (you can’t the past) and move on to the next one. I try and relax, and remember that a large part of good pool playing is the mental game and if I don’t concentrate (and relax) that a slight centimeter off hit can make a difference between a good or bad shot or defense. I’m teaching myself to let go of the negative thinking and keep telling myself that I can do this. And that everyone misses shots (even the pros). And that my opponent is probably just as nervous and anxious as I am.

When I’m in a match, I try and have a game plan and I only concentrate on that. If I miss a shot, I just look at that as another shot I will practice later on. And trust me, I practice all shots that I miss or consider difficult over and over. Remember, if you’re choking during a match, it’s a good chance it’s mental. You’re the same person (physically) you are during practice, but it’s how you perceive yourself game(and/or opponent’s game), and what negative junk you’ve got rolling around in your head that sometimes will send you into choke-dom.

This is just my opinion, but the next time you find yourself choking, think about what it is you’re telling yourself and concentrating on, and I’ll beat it’s everything except telling yourself, “I know I can make that shot, succeed with my game plan, and win this match”. Hey, it’s been working for me.

Ed C.
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Postby Edloves2playpool on Thu Dec 15, 2005 9:29 pm

Also, be careful about seeking help from too many different players. Cause you'll find 10 guys will tell you 10 different ways to make the same shot. And that every good player, is not necessarily a good teacher.

Initially I found a few good books and went from there. But my first mistake was I tried to learn everything at once, and as much as I could, as fast as I could. Then I found out that nothing as sinking in. So now, I concentrate on a few particular shots (or aspects of the game) at a time. One week it may be cutting balls down the rail, or long straight in, and then next week it may be banks or defense shots. I've even asked people (my team mates) to tell me if they see me do something wrong, like popping up during a shot, rushing a shot, or bad stance. And I always go back to the basics and re-read old chapters in books I've read before, and re-review instructional tapes again, just to refresh my memory. Now, in all honesty, I find myself approaching the table and telling myself, "I know how to make that shot". If I do, "That's Great". If I don't, then I say, "It's back to the drawing board for that shot". And I let it going, and get prepared for my next shot, with the mindset that I going to make it, and eventually win this game. Even when other players see me miss a shot and tell me I choked. I don't care because I tell myself, I didn't choke, I tried and legitimately missed it, because even the pros miss easy shots soemtimes. It's a miss, we all do it.

Think Positive Baby!!!!!!!
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Postby DKimsey on Sun Dec 18, 2005 2:21 am

Thanks Ed for your posts. All that you have said is definitely true..
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Postby Dawgie on Sun Apr 15, 2007 8:08 pm

Practicing at home is much different than playing with a partner in a pool hall. When I practice by myself I seem to think that I play much better. When playing alone I also think that we may tend to take easier shots or try to run the table with 15 balls to choose from. When playing with a partner you have to remember that he is playing aginst you and is making shots that may be much different than you would take. He is also going to leave you tough whenever he gets the chance expecially if he really doesn't have a good shot himself he may take a shot and leave himself safe or like in 8 ball he may take low percentage shot and just block the pocket with his ball leaving you with no shot at all. When we play alone we are only thinking with our own minds but when playing with someone else, he is going to think a lot different than you will and play some defensive shots that you are not ready for. Playing with other players is the test that will make you think out your shots while under a little pressure.
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Postby dgem on Sat Sep 22, 2007 9:21 pm

just concentrate on the shot and nothing but the shot..play the table and stay positive.. :wink:
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