(S&D) Safety & Defense - Wall of Balls Tactics

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Safety Toolbox (Advanced)

(This is today's bit of advice from the book Safety Toolbox.)

This is a variation of the hidden ball safety. A wall of balls provides overlapping shadow zones that together make a huge table area to set up a hidden ball safety. This enlarged table area makes it easier to roll a ball into it. Your opponent is forced to kick the cue ball off other rails in an attempt to make a legal hit. Continue reading

(FAQ) Do you calculate the odds on a shot?

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When facing a table layout and figuring out what to do, every shot you consider falls will be within your comfort zone or in your chaos zone. A shot within your comfort zone means you can make it 7 or 8 times in 10 tries. As the chances of success get smaller, it falls into your chaos zone. Every shot has to calculate the odds. Continue reading

(FAQ) How do you move up to the next level?

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Assuming that you are not already a near-pro player, here are some tips that will help.

Maintain and reinforce the mental attitude that you are able and capable of becoming better. It is the positive attitude necessary to improvement. Continue reading

(H&S) Hustles & Sharks - Waiting to play

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Learn how to Beat the Sharks

These are a number of smaller tricks that a pool hustler can use against you, even while you are at the table and he is waiting to play. All he needs to do is set up a waiting area (usually down table) and perform little activities, seemingly unrelated to you. These little distractive activities are very common among amateur hustlers. Continue reading

(H&S) Hustles & Sharks - Self-inflicted Delusions

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Learn how to Beat the Sharks

This is one of the easiest sharks that a pool hustler can use against you – your own false ideology, constructed on a delusional belief in competency.

In competitions around the world, there are players who are intellectually dishonest about their skills and capabilities. This personal assumption is based on the player’s belief that his true skill level was established during the one competition in the past (recent or decades ago) when everything went right and all was successful. That was a glorious day when nothing went wrong.

Your assumption of a skill level and competence that cannot be factually proven is all the hustler needs to know. All he needs to do is encourage you to play beyond your abilities and basically hustle yourself into losing. If you suffer from this potential for over-estimation, then almost every game and match can not demonstrate that previous competence. All the hustler needs to do is observe the types of shots you attempt. If he observes that reality does not intrude upon your assumptions, he’s got an easy mark.

This is how you apply this self-imposed fantasy to your competitive efforts. Every loss is not your fault – but only the consequences of bad luck. This presumption of proficiency has become your basic assumption. And you can't understand why there is such a significant break between that fantasy and the reality of your current competitive skills.

With the true dedication of the slightly insane, you refuse to learn from experience. That past triumph is continuously held up as the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth - actual demonstrable circumstances be damned.

The hustler loves players with these unrealistic expectations. All he needs to do is watch groups of players compete. He watches players (like yourself) miss a tough shot – and then moan and groan that it should have been easy. Mentally, he is already calculating how much he can take you for.

These false-expectations players actually believe many low percentage shots are within their skill level. They always have that rare winning experience quite vividly implanted into their brain. Any single unexpected success is claimed to be proof of his amazing skills.

So, whenever a shot attempt fails (no matter how simple, or complex), your friends and opponents must listen to you complain aloud or mutter vile deprecations under your breath. Statements like "Should have had that." and "Just once I'd like to play my regular game.", and "Damn. That was not a difficult shot." become your normal conversational contributions and the hustler to mark you for future slaughter.

Of course, not only are you living in a fool’s paradise, you are also telling every opponent exactly what types of shorts are difficult for you to make. You are letting everyone know that you have another weakness to be exploited. Any opponent who intelligently analyzes your abilities has just been handed a tool to easily win every match.

Response

One of the most basic realities of intelligent competition is this little bit of Shakespearean advice, "To thine own self be true." Basically, this says that you are much better off keeping your expectations based in reality.

If you can make tactical decisions on a frank appraisal of your chances for success, your chances of pocketing balls and moving the cue ball around the table for the next shot become much more realistic.

If reading this sharking trick awakens some awareness that you take lots of trips to fantasyland, you can throw some cold water on your imagination and make more intelligent playing decisions.

This is not to say that there are times when you really become a super competent shooter. When that happens, allow your brain and muscles to freely guide you to winning the match. But when you notice that edge becoming dull, immediately drop your level of expectations and pull yourself out of the fantasy and into the real world.

 

(BSC) Billiard Skills Challenge (video) - Small Area Maneuvers: Set 6 of 6

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Billiards Skills Competition Training Program

Here is Today's Test Group Challenge from the book. Several run-outs in a row develops personal confidence when similar maneuvering is needed to run-out to a game win during competition.

PURPOSE:  Pocket the balls in sequence to clear the table.
Start with Ball-in-Hand.

This is from the Small Area Maneuvers (Intermediate & Advanced) Test Groups. Continue reading

(BSC) Billiard Skills Challenge - Frozen Rail, set 1 (Advanced) Test Group

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Billiards Skills Competition Training Program

Here is Today's Test Group Challenge from the book. This progressive set develops personal confidence when similar shots come up during competition - and define Comfort Zone limitations.

PURPOSE:  Pocket the 1 Ball on each of the the designated attempts - for each layout in the Test Group.

This is the Frozen Rail FRS(1) (Advanced) Test Group. There is also an Intermediate Test Group. Continue reading

(D&E) Drills & Exercises (precision) - Come Back Home: CB Cross Side sets

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This progressive exercise to improve your shooting skills is in the book Drills & Exercises for Pool & Pocket Billiards.

This setup concentrates on precision cue ball control skills.

Suggestions: Start easy with 12:00 (1 tip above center). Proceed with this from slowest possible speed up through Medium 2.
When 12:00 is controlled, use 6:00 (1 tip below center). Proceed with slowest speed through Medium 2 speed.

Continue reading

(CBC) Cue Ball Control (half table patterns) - Group 1, Set 7

Cue Ball Control Cheat Sheets

This is today's set of Cue Ball Cheats. These practice setups (and others in the book and blog) help you learn HOW to apply an exact speed and spin. That precision is how to get perfect shape on the second ball - and how to string a run together. For these layouts here are the Cheats for this post:

  • Cheat: 12:00, (1/2 ball hit), Soft 3 speed.
  • Cheat: 1:30 (1/2 ball hit), Soft 3 speed.
  • Cheat:

Continue reading

(CBC) Cue Ball Control (full table patterns) - Group 11, Set 5

Cue Ball Control Cheat Sheets

This is today's set of Cue Ball Cheats. These practice setups (and others in the book and blog) help you learn HOW to apply an exact speed and spin. That precision is how to get perfect shape on the second ball - and how to string a run together. For these layouts here are the Cheats for this post:

  • Cheat: 1:30, Medium 2 speed.
    12:00, Soft 3 speed.
  • Cheat: 10:30, Soft 3 speed.

Continue reading