Most of the time when you get together with a partner during a practice time, you end up just playing each other with no real goal in mind or anything accomplished. You spend a couple of hours together just to bang balls around and no one's skills were improved. That's a wasted amount of time.
Practice time is a very precious commodity. It's one of the few times when you are at the table that you can focus specifically upon improving some part of your skills and abilities. If you depend on improving when playing games, some of the shots you need to learn may only come up once or twice an hour.
If you are going to make good use of your precious practice time with two of you sharing the same table, you need to agree that self-improvement is the goal, not having a good time with a buddy. If you have a plan on things to improve, make sure your friend does to. Otherwise, while you are attempting to master an 85 degree cue with right spin, he's getting bored trying to bank the cue ball into the corner. A few minutes of that is all that he can stand and he starts engaging you in distracting conversation.
You don't want to take the simple way out and inform him that his company is not required. If he doesn't have a clue what practice time means, make him follow a few of your exercises. Get him started on one and get back to your efforts. And if he attempts to make you become his babysitter and interrupts too many times, you can always never, ever invite him along again.
Assuming you both arrive at the table with serious intentions of self-improvement, here are a few suggestions. Divide the table on the center line while you both work on short-distance shots. When long table practice shots are required, divide the table the long way. You can each work on individual strokes with an appropriate variety of stun, follow, and draw shots.
Another cooperative effort can be for each of you to take turns setting up shots that require the full table. The object ball can be positioned, and the cue ball sent down for the next shot. This cooperation means that each of you can get twice as many practice shots in a given amount of time.
When each of you have finished working on the individual shots that needed improvements, you can get play competitive games – but with a purpose to improve thinking skills. For example, one player focuses on only playing defensively and the other only plays offensively. If the defensive player can force a predetermined set of innings, he wins. If the offensive player can win the game before the number of innings is played, he wins.
These suggestions will get you started when you have to practice with a friend. When the both of you are serious about improving skills, this makes good use of a single table to benefit each of you. You can mutually support each other in setting aside dedicated practicing times.
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