(FAQ) How do you coach a new player on a team?

(About the Author)

If you are one of the better players on a league team, eventually you will be called upon to coach a playing situation for a new player or a lower-skilled team member. Your superior knowledge and experience is needed to make sense of a confusing table layout.

The first order of business is to figure out how to shoot the shot. With your greater experience, the solution may be obvious or require some thought. Remember the abilities of your temporary student. A solution you would find simple might be beyond his abilities. Craft a recommendation accordingly.

Describe only enough information to solve the immediate problem. Do not go into a full and complete explanation as to why this is the best way to play the shot. He won’t be ready to listen and he only wants to get out of the current problem, not learn the theory of physics behind the shot. Just provide the simplest instructions – set up like thus, aim here, medium speed, no spin – stuff like that.

Once you provide the necessary assistance in setting up the shot, shut up. Let him shoot it. If successful, congratulate him warmly. If not, say something supportive, i.e., “Came pretty close there.” Do NOT go negative or picky or bitchy about anything he did. If he wants details about how the shot could be more successful, provide your best analysis. If he doesn’t ask, do NOT force the information down his throat.

In a sense, you are helping to mold the habits and attitude of a new player. Your educational moment will give him ideas on how to handle similar shots for the rest of his pool playing lifetime. This is no small responsibility.

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