(FAQ) How can you help a beginning pool player?

(About the Author)

If you are in the situation of helping someone learn how to get started in playing pool, here are some ideas that will simplify the process of helping him become a pool player. If you are deeply involved in the process, plan about two to three months to get a person to an acceptable level of play. This assumes you have good reasons to help them this much, and your budding player is dedicated enough to stick to the learning process.

There are a lot of initial conditions that have to be shown and your beginner pool player needs to learn. Here are some rules to help your patience level and his willingness to learn:

  • Be VERY patient.
  • Keep the lessons short so as to not strain your patience.
  • Expect to show the same thing at least 5 times.
  • Start at the rough generalized level and then work on refining.
  • Experience is developed by repetition.
  • Be VERY patient.

During the first couple of lessons, work on an acceptable stance and how to hold the stick.

  • Identify if he is comfortable with left hand or right hand shooting. At this point, it is very easy to learn to be ambidextrous - if so inclined. Otherwise, don't force it.
  • Set up the feet for balance and stability when bending over the table. Adjust the body position so that the stick can freely move back and forth.
  • Teach an open bridge. Let him figure out how to make a closed bridge.
  • Adjust the stick arm so that the upper arm holds still and only the forearm moves. Work with the back and forth movement for a couple of minutes, enough to ensure it stays somewhat in a back and forth line.
  • Place a row of balls on the table on the foot string. Assist his lineup positioning and focus on center ball hits. Let him shoot them into the corner pockets at a moderate speed. Repeat.
  • Set up a ball in front of the side pocket, and let him shoot it in. Reset it and repeat. Provide the basics on using the ghost ball. This provides the necessary positive feedback needed to keep up the interest level.

The first half of follow-up lessons goes over the previous lesson's work. Continuously encourage his self-practicing. After about the third lesson, play a couple games with him. Watch his playing style and note necessary adjustments for the next lesson.

Once your pool player has the basics, acquaint him with playing circumstances, such as using the mechanical bridge, shooting off the rail, etc. This allows you to move slowly to introduce some of the advanced pool playing concepts.

After this point, you can turn him loose. Let him know that when he needs some help, he can always ask. If he expresses interest, recommend useful books and videotapes. Turn him loose on a league team and your job is done. You will be remembered by that person for the rest of their life. It is a very good legacy.

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