(FAQ) How shooting skills go bad against a lesser opponent!

(About the Author)

As you enjoy your passion for pocket billiards, there will be many times when you will face off against opponents who are further back on the road to pool mastery - in some cases, miles and miles behind you. You will have long ago traveled past the level that your opponent is playing at now.

Playing opponents far below your skill level generally happens when you need someone to play and there just isn’t anyone who is near your skill level. In other words, any opponent is better than no one. As the games begin, your opponent bangs away at his best speed and you start out playing at your regular speed.

Somewhere in the middle of the second game (or even the first game), something subtle happens to your skill level. Without any intentional effort, you suddenly notice that results are less than you are used to experiencing in competition. You miss easy shots, simple patterns become near impossible, and you find yourself enjoying the game less and less. Even if you are winning any of the games, it is a struggle to get there.

What has happened is that your sense of fair play has betrayed you. Consciously (or unconsciously), you backed off on your abilities to keep the game a competitive match. The truth of the matter is this: when there is no big challenge involved, there is nothing to speed up your heartbeat. There just isn’t any reason to put a lot of energy into playing as if this match has any importance. You relax your standards, spend less and less time setting up for the shot, even stop your table analysis. Before you know it, it is a major struggle to keep up your attention span. You even start losing games that you should win with your eyes closed.

Even if you realize what is happening and attempt to restore your standard attention to thinking and shooting skills, there is no incentive to maintain your focus. Your game, if possible, gets worse. You can attempt to console yourself that any time on a table is far better than no time on a table. You could quit in self-disgust with only your innate sportsmanship maintaining your courtesy and good manners.

Instead of simply throwing away the time you are using to play against a lower skilled opponent, change the rules of play. Make it more difficult for you to win and force yourself to improve your shooting skills. Give your opponent weight - a lot of weight.

For example, if playing 9 Ball, give the 5 and up. He makes any of those balls, he wins the game. For 8 Ball, you must bank the 8. He can play the 8 into any pocket, you have to play to the last pocket. If you want to get really tough, bank the 8 into the last pocket.

With these shooting skills handicaps, if you want him to take the game seriously, add in another incentive. Offer a buck for every time he beats you. When you have some skin in the game, suddenly, playing every game with all of your attention becomes much more important.

Keep in mind that there is a difference when you are playing against someone you are tutoring and coaching. In this competitive environment, the purpose is not to actually have an actual competition, but spend the time helping your student learning how to make better and smarter decisions.

The net result of the games played is not a matter of who won or lost, but how much improvement was made in your student’s game awareness. Plus, when you let your "student" beat you more often, his enthusiasm for the game is strengthened. This helps him and you improve your shooting skills.

There will be many times when you will play pick-up games at different places. If it is quickly obvious that you are the better shooter, then you need to change the playing conditions. Make it more difficult for you and easier for your opponent. That puts the challenge back into the game and helps keep your edge sharp.

Get the Book!

The FAQs of Pool & Pocket Billiards


Get the Book!! $7.00

book-PDF PDF book (good for smart devices)
(Includes my Money-back Guarantee)

book-red Printed book
Recent Useful Posts

(DCV) Dr. Cue Video - APA Lesson 76: 4 Cushion Kick System (Standard Track Line)

(About the author of the Billiard Gods books) Here's a 4-rail kick system that can, someday, save your match. Even though ...

Read More

(PV) Pool Video - Learn to Jump Balls (2 of 2) - Pool / Billiards

(About the author of the Billiard Gods books) Howdy folks, here is this week's Cool Pool Learning Video. This video is created by ...

Read More

(D&E) Drills & Exercises - Long Table Kicks, Set 1 of 4

(About the Author) This progressive exercise to improve your shooting skills is in the book Drills & Exercises for Pool & ...

Read More

BSC Test Group - Large Area Maneuvers, Set 2 of 6 (Intermediate)

(BSC) Billiard Skills Challenge - Large Area Maneuvers (Advanced)

(About the Author) This is from the Large Area Maneuvers (Advanced) Test Groups. Your ability to run out these table layouts will ...

Read More

Drills & Exercises - Precision Skills (progressive) - OB Back, Long Table sets

(D&E) Drills & Exercises (precision) - OB Rail & Back: Long Table sets

(About the Author) This progressive exercise to improve your shooting skills is in the book Drills & Exercises for Pool & ...

Read More

(DCV) Dr. Cue Video - APA Lesson 75: 3 Cushion Kick System (Short Track Line to Side)!

(About the author of the Billiard Gods books) The previous 3-cushion systems were for full "round the world" kicks. Here's the ...

Read More

(PV) Pool VIdeo - Learn to Jump Balls (1 of 2) - Pool / Billiards

(About the author of the Billiard Gods books) Howdy folks, here is this week's Cool Pool Learning Video. This video is created by ...

Read More

(S&D) Safety & Defense - Two-Way Shot Tactics

(About the author) (This is today's bit of advice from the book Safety Toolbox.) When a shot is at the edges of ...

Read More

S&D Temptation Shot Tactics

(S&D) Safety & Defense - Temptation Shot Tactics

(About the author) (This is today's bit of advice from the book Safety Toolbox.) When your opponent's chaos zone has been defined, ...

Read More

(DCV) Dr. Cue Video - APA Lesson 74: 3 Cushion Kick System (Spot on the Wall!)

(About the author of the Billiard Gods books) Ever heard of "Spot on the Wall" kicking system? This is used a ...

Read More

(PV) Pool VIdeo - Billiards: English : What is Reverse English in Pool?

(About the author of the Billiard Gods books) Howdy folks, here is this week's Cool Pool Learning Video. Check out the ...

Read More