Sunday, May 3, 2015
posted by dave at 10:14 AM in category equipment, movies, practice, whatever

Brief update on equipment plus an average game of practice one-pocket.

Monday, February 23, 2015
posted by dave at 6:45 PM in category movies, practice

Clearly, I was bored.

posted by dave at 6:42 PM in category movies, practice

I videoed a match of myself against myself in a race to 3 playing banks.

Saturday, August 30, 2014
posted by dave at 1:19 PM in category movies, practice

Just messing around, trying to break and run a game of one-pocket.

Sunday, April 7, 2013
posted by dave at 10:29 AM in category movies, practice

One of the methods I sometimes use to force proper mental focus.

Sunday, July 15, 2012
posted by dave at 7:57 PM in category movies, practice

Friday, August 19, 2011
posted by dave at 11:39 PM in category practice

I don't even know if this blog works anymore. I guess I'm about to find out.

Today I shot banks for eight straight hours. That's more pool in one day than I've probably shot in the last three years combined.

I suck from lack of practice, but I had a lot of fun.

And I bet I'm going to be really sore tomorrow. I can already tell that my feet will be killing me.

Sunday, January 21, 2007
posted by dave at 9:59 AM in category practice

Are you sitting down? Good, because - get this - yesterday I actually left my basement and played pool in public.

What I did was, I went over to this Louisville Billiards Club place, and I practiced for about three hours.

My intention, going in, was to get on a 4x8 table. Past experience has shown me that it's pretty damn hard to miss a bank on a 4x8, once I get used to the optical illusion that causes everything to come up short. So I was just going to have some fun making banks for a while.

Once I got there though, I changed my mind. I had a sudden fear of getting lazy, and losing whatever physical progress I've made over the past few weeks.

So I grabbed the first 4.5x9 table instead.

Nobody approaches me to play. I suppose that was fine. They probably would have wanted to gamble, and I'm not into that anymore. I just used my time to work on noticing table differences and adjusting to them.

The table yesterday was weird. It was absolutely filthy, for one thing. And that filth probably caused the other thing. Balls banked off the short rails had an amazing tendency to go long. I mean, every damn time they'd want to go long. I guess this probably had something to do with how the balls weren't sliding as much as I was expecting them to. They'd pick up roll almost immediately after they left the rail, and that would affect the bank angle. For cross-table shots off the long rails, this wasn't noticable at all.

But I adjusted I guess. It took me a while.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007
posted by dave at 1:25 AM in category practice, whatever

Practice was much better today. I had a lot of fours, a few fives and sixes. Nothing spectacular though. Seemed to have better luck on most shots with my grip hand about an inch more forward than comfort allowed. I don't know if that's something that will carry on past tonight though. Most physical elements of my shooting style don't last very long.

Anyway, I've mentioned before in various venues that I've always been much more of a feel player, than a mechanical one. To me, it's always been preferable, and more successful, to shoot what feels right instead of what I calculate is right. Everyone's different. Most top players use a blend of FP and MP styles, I think. Even if they won't admit it.

When I switched to banking, years ago, I found that the accuracy needed to bank well was so much greater than the accuracy needed for regular shots - well I felt that I had to become a more mechanical player to have any kind of success. My thoughts on stance and alignment, such as they were, simply did not lead to the type of consistency needed to bank balls with any kind of regularity.

I think the thing that I've come to realize, or at least recall, over the past few days has been that being physically mechanical, and therefore consistent, doesn't necessarily mean that I have to be mentally mechanical as well.

So this is something I've been working on. Feeling the shot, but shooting with a consistent physical style. It's a little tough. Physical tension can lead to mental tension, and mental tension is the last thing an FP wants. Conversely, mental relaxation has a strong tendency to cause physical relaxation. And too much physical relaxation can lead to sloppy shooting.

But it is possible to disconnect the two approaches to shooting.

This is something I'm working on. It's frustrating, but it's fun.

And fun is why shoot.

Sunday, January 14, 2007
posted by dave at 11:53 PM in category practice

Still practicing for a few hours every day, but today was different. And not in a good way.

Today I lost it.

Whatever it was. Whatever had been helping my mental focus and guiding my aim, it left.

Today was a real struggle. Balls weren't going in, and the urge to quit was very strong.

But, I didn't quit.

I sucked, but I didn't quit.

That's gotta be worth something, right?

Right?

Friday, January 12, 2007
posted by dave at 11:52 PM in category practice

Just to sort of keep up with my resolution to update this damn thing every now and then, I'll write an entry.

A brief one.

Every day, starting last Saturday, I've practiced my banks. This is completely different than what I've done for the past year, which is play banks.

My practice sessions are focusing, once again, on consistency of style. Specifically, I'm forcing myself to take three - not two, not four - practice strokes on each and every shot, not matter how simple.

I don't know if this is really helping, but it feels good to be actually doing something besides just banging balls around.

Plus, my right shoulder is quite sore, so I must be practicing enough.

Sunday, August 14, 2005
posted by dave at 9:11 AM in category practice

You know, it really does bother me that I don't keep this 'blog more up to date. I say that it bothers me all the time, but I don't even do anything about it.

Yesterday I went over to The Bank Shot for a while. I ended up just practicing by myself. I could have done that at home.

Sunday, April 3, 2005
posted by dave at 9:58 PM in category practice

Not sleeping anymore, so I spent last night and most of today playing banks and 9-ball.

Shooting pretty well, but I'm sure it won't last beyond my next good mood.

Sunday, March 13, 2005
posted by dave at 6:27 PM in category practice

I just finished reading Willie's Game, finally purchased after several lost eBay auctions, and in honor of Mr. Mosconi I played nothing but straight pool all day.

I actually had a run of 52 early, but most of the day consisted of me running 14, then missing the break shot.

It really does suck to know exactly what needs to be done, yet be unable to perform.

Monday, January 10, 2005
posted by dave at 1:29 PM in category practice

Yesterday my cousin Mike and I played quite a few games of banks while waiting for my foyer paint to dry.

At first the humidity was really affecting me and I didn't play very well at all, but the second session went a lot better. I ran quite a few fours on him, and maybe a few fives.

It was nice of Mike to humor me by playing banks - a game he's never played - so I could continue my pre-DCC warmup.

Later in the night I watched the 24 season premiere in the basement so I could keep practicing. At around 9:00 I could have beaten anyone who dared to enter my basement. Makeable banks were simply not being missed, and quite a few iffy banks were going in as well.

When I'd first started playing yesterday I was pretty concerned that my four-day illness (and the resulting lack of practice) may have done a lot of damage to my game. Luckily I was able to regain my speed control and adjust to the wet conditions.

I guess that's it. Bring 'em on.

Sunday, August 15, 2004
posted by dave at 11:57 PM in category practice

Today I had this great idea to spend the entire day trying to run nines and catch them on tape.

I usually just practice running fives, and it's amazing how much tougher nines are. It's not even double, it's more like the difficulty increases exponentially with each added ball. I'm sure someone out there could come up with the formula.

Anyway, after hours and hours, and a lot of fives, and sixes and sevens and a couple eights, I finally got my first nine of the day at around 7:00PM.

Imagine my dismay when I realized that my tape had run out a long time earlier. I'd forgotten to check it for at least three hours.

I still think this is a good idea though. I'm forcing myself to stop and rerack after any miss. This is generating enormous pressure on me - pressure that I don't normally feel since I play by myself mostly.

That pressure, that specter of punishment hanging over any miss, is something that I really notice each year at the DCC. It forces me to change my game, and usually that change is for the worse.

In the past I've been able to simply ignore any pressure situations but what with my complete suckage at all non-Banks games I've found it harder to ignore. Perhaps my creating ever-increasing pressure on myself during my practice sessions I'll be more able to ride it out during those times when I find myself unable to ignore it.

Sunday, August 8, 2004
posted by dave at 7:24 PM in category practice

I've put up three new movies.

These are variations of my fun new banks drill.

You can find links at the bottom of my practice page or my movies page.

During the attempts to get these filmed I got way out of shape several times, and every now and then I made a pretty good recovery - at least until the next shot. I think I'll put some of these recovery shots on the site.

Or maybe not.

Thursday, August 5, 2004
posted by dave at 11:48 PM in category practice

I had this banks drill on my practice shots page that I completed a couple of times when I first invented it.

Now I've spent the last week trying to get the damn thing on tape and I can't get past four balls.

So I've given up on the long version of the drill. My new, more reasonable goal, is to set up the table with any four of the eight balls and bank those in.

Much easier, but I still haven't got anything taped yet.

Sunday, July 25, 2004
posted by dave at 4:27 PM in category practice

I had to look the word up as I'd apparently forgotten all about it.

The consistency I speak of is physical. It means that the approach to each shot should be the same.

This DOES NOT mean become a robot. It simply means to have a particular style of shooting and stick with it.

I've never had physical consistency. I always seemed to start emulating the style of whoever (whomever?) I was playing at any given time and I'd usually shoot pretty well with whatever that Style Of The Day happened to be.

If I think back I can probably come up with at least a dozen distinct stances, stroke types, head elevations, and combinations of these, that I've shot with and had pretty good success.

At least for a while, until the next person comes along and I start copying them.

A problem I've had for the last couple of years is that I hardly ever play anyone else. I'm left to my own designs regarding shooting style and so I carom through several styles each week. Or each night. Or each game.

This has got to stop, and I know it.

I've known it for years.

Since I got my 9' double-shimmed Diamond I've known that to have the accuracy I needed I'd need to pick a style and stick with it come hell or high humidity.

I had one for a while, back in 2001 when running racks was as easy as breathing. I cannot describe it now because I lost it when I attempted to bank with it.

That was a long time ago, and I've spent most of the time since then trying to recreate it. At times I've thought I was close, but each time I started to get excited I'd lose it again.

I'm in one of these little hot streaks now. For the last couple of days I've been shooting pretty well. I haven't been running racks but I FEEL better while I'm shooting.

The style I'm using now it what I call TheBeginner.

Pendulum arm movement, forearm perpendicular to the floor, straight follow-through.

In other words, boring.

Alignment is an elusive thing with this style, my head seems too far forward, though it's pretty easy for me to tell when my alignment is off.

If the shot doesn't go in, my alignment was off. If the shot went, then my alignment was most likely correct.

The big improvement won't come until/unless I can learn to check my alignment before the shot.

I used to be able to do that.

I used to be able to do a lot of things though.

Monday, July 19, 2004
posted by dave at 10:15 PM in category practice

Nothing gets posted here because nothing happens when I play.

I still cannot make any regular shots. My banks are okay, but even those have seen no improvement since January.

It's really not from lack of trying.

Really.

I just lost it so bad that I often fear I'll never get it back.

All the fun has gone from this for me.

Tonight I played my first game of bowlliards in several years. I got a 210, which was about 100 points more than I expected to get. I relied soley on shotmaking and didn't even think about shape.

I had no open frames, which really surprised me.

After that minor uplift I tried a new game that's played like bowlliards expect that instead of making 10 balls in a frame I need to BANK 5 balls. At the end of 10 frames I double the score.

I got a 50.

I think that's pretty bad, but I won't know for sure until I play some more games.

I should note that I do not expect to ever score 300 at this game in my entire life. I also don't expect anyone else to ever score 300 at this game.

That would take 60 banks in a row.

Not likely.

Sunday, March 28, 2004
posted by dave at 10:03 AM in category practice

Man I really need to find a way to put more content in this 'blog. It's not like I don't play pool every day of my life. You'd think I could come up with something to write about more often.

So one of my problems of late has been that I love to bank balls but I need to practice normal shots as well.

I've reached a bit of a compromise.

I break and run a rack of 8-ball, then I get to practice a rack of banks. If I don't run out my 8-ball rack I keep trying until I do break and run.

Once I've done my 8-ball runout then my rack of banks, I switch to 9-ball and do the same thing. I run out from the break in 9-ball and my reward is that I get to bank for a while.

Seems to be accomplishing my goal of not completely sucking at either discipline.

Sunday, January 4, 2004
posted by dave at 7:40 PM in category practice

Today was another one of those days where I could do no wrong on the table. I've been practicing banks exclusively, and I bet I averaged fours all day long.

I just hope it's due to the new lights I bought, the new tip, the clean shaft, and my own talent and determination, and not the glove.

Please, don't be because of the glove.

Sunday, December 28, 2003
posted by dave at 7:05 PM in category practice

For the last several days it's seemed that I couldn't miss any makeable shots.

That's not to say that I haven't been missing them - it just seems like I can't.

When I actually do miss a shot, like happened 2 or 3 times today alone, it's the most amazing thing. It seems just as likely that I'd crap my pants while shooting as miss a shot, but there it is. The missed shot, not the crap.

What I've recently gained in accuracy is often made up for by my lack of common sense. My runouts are very very impressive to watch I'm sure, but they're not quite what you'd call "textbook" pool. It's just so much fun to fire in a long shot and draw back 3 rails for shape. Shooting a stop shot for position is just so boooooring.

Sunday, December 14, 2003
posted by dave at 11:11 PM in category practice

Something else I remember from the good old days - and that I rediscovered this weekend.

In a game where accuracy is most important, it's better to aim at something than not.

Even if what you're aiming at is wrong, you might learn something anyway.

This is all in stark contrast to back when I was young and played on bar tables. Back then aiming was a detriment, now that I'm blind and playing on tight-pocketed 9-foot tables it's pretty much a requirement.

That's for the accuracy games. For banks I still think aiming is a self-defeating activity.

Thursday, December 11, 2003
posted by dave at 12:09 AM in category practice

Now that my wrist seems to be healed, I'm back to banking balls at every opportunity.

Man, it's fun when they go in.

Saturday, November 8, 2003
posted by dave at 1:36 AM in category practice

Do me a favor. Look at the object ball last.

And what's up with all the damn practice strokes?

Putz.

Monday, November 3, 2003
posted by dave at 10:17 PM in category practice

Tonight I played with my Schon for the first time since it was shipped back from Seattle. Before tonight I'd been continuing to play with my Predator since I'd been doing so well with it during my "good cue's" absence.

My game fell apart. I don't really understand it, since I did play fairly well in Seattle with the Schon, but tonight I overhit everything and missed most halfway tough shots.

The weight on the cues is the same, but the Predator's balance point is a couple of inches closer to the butt (he he, I said butt) than the one on the Schon. Apparently this is enough to make a huge difference with certain stroke styles, because when I started shooting with my Predator again everything fell back into place.

For further expermentation I played an APA race to 7, Schon Me against Predator Me. While the results of one race are certainly not conclusive, they can still be pretty informative (or damning) at times.

Predator Me: 7 games, 2 safeties - .714 innings/game
Schon Me: 1 game, 3 safeties - 4.0 innings/game

That's better than four times as good playing with the Predator, and it doesn't even take into account how much more relaxed I was with that cue. It's amazing how much easier the game becomes when confidence is on your side.

So anyway, for now at least, I've decided to practice my non-banks games with the Predator. My banks game still seems to like the Schon.

Of course, if the pattern holds true, all this will change before too long as my newfound shooting style stops working and I migrate to something else.

Sunday, November 2, 2003
posted by dave at 6:48 PM in category practice

Today I strung together five racks of 8-ball for the first time in nearly three years. Still shooting with the little short stroke and for some reason my alignment is still good even without the cue's motion to check it against.

I'm still not willing to declare that "I'm back" completely, but it feels pretty good to be this close again.

Saturday, October 25, 2003
posted by dave at 12:50 AM in category practice

I'm practicing 8-ball tonight, trying again to get somewhat ready for playing my friends in Seattle. I'm playing with my Predator since I shipped my Schon to Seattle yesterday (It got there thank the pool gods) and I cannot miss a ball.

I've always had a problem with constantly changing shooting styles, and tonight was I think a new one even for me.

Little bitty stroke, a couple of inches on most shots, four or five inches when I needed to get some cueball movement.

Every shot went in, and the cueball stopped exactly where I wanted. It was 8-ball the way it's supposed to be played, 8-ball the way I USED to play it.

Now I'm so excited that I cannot sleep and I've got a flight in the morning.

If I can somehow stay in the zone after travelling 2000 miles, shooting with a different cue, on a tiny 8-foot big-pocketed bar table, I'll be just about as happy with my game as I've been in nearly three years.

But for now I've got to try to get some sleep or the jet lag will kill me tomorrow night.

Wednesday, October 22, 2003
posted by dave at 9:55 PM in category practice

So a couple of days after I decided to practice only banks I found out that I'll be visiting Seattle. Since I don't really want to get there with no clue at all about how to play 9-ball or 8-ball I figure I'll have to practice making balls straight in until after I get back.

It's official - I suck at everything but banks.

There seems to be, at least for me, a completely different mindset involved. In bank pool the only target is the object ball. By that I mean I don't aim to have the object ball hit the rail at a certain point. It's all about the object ball and how much of it I hit. This approach works very well for banking but it leaves me woefully unprepared to shoot a regular shot.

Another thing I've completely forgotten is how to make very thin cuts. In banks the only very thin cuts are crossing banks and again, I'm only paying attention to the thinness of the hit. Having to cut the ball very thinly AND send it directly towards a target is an ability I've lost somewhere along the line.

Basically, in banks, the entire shot is a guess. You have to rely on your instincts to make the shot, and you can pretty much expect to miss about half the time. In regular pool, missing half the time is just not acceptable, and I have to decide whether I should try to hone my instincts for those shots or play a more calculating style.

I'm sure I'll post something about how I do playing my friends in Seattle, but for the record I'll predict that I'll get my ass kicked by the same people that used to have no chance against me.

Now if I can talk them into playing any banks, that will be a different story. Probably not a very fair one though.

Thursday, October 16, 2003
posted by dave at 10:15 PM in category practice

Went downstairs, racked nine balls, broke them, and banked six in a row. On my first try. Ho Hum.

I seem to almost always do quite well when I first start any given session - whether it's practice or playing against an opponent. Now I just have to figure out how to make it last longer than two minutes.

Wednesday, October 15, 2003
posted by dave at 12:00 AM in category practice

Today I switched back to banks-only mode to start preparing for the Derby City Classic banks division.

I had been, for the past few weeks, playing and practicing some 9-ball, 8-ball, and one-pocket in a futile attempt to regain the ability to (a)make a ball straight-in and (b)play position.

For the next three months I'll shoot only bank shots. I may not be able to better my finish of last year's tournament, but at least it won't be from lack of practice.

Wednesday, October 1, 2003
posted by dave at 11:25 PM in category practice

Was messing around tonight trying to develop a better two-rail kicking system than the one I've been using.

I may be onto something. A system that does not require any math or memorizations, and seems to work pretty well for most angles.

If I get this clearer in my head I'll post more later.

Saturday, September 27, 2003
Go!
posted by dave at 5:54 PM in category practice

Yay! My first practice on my shiny like-new equipment!

I racked nine balls up and broke, then banked nine in a row. That's right, nine in a row. This is exactly the opposite of what I thought would happen. I figured that the tighter pockets, the fast cloth, and the slick balls would conspire to make me miss way more than normal until I got used to the changes.

What I failed to take into account was that on cloth that is very new, with balls that are very slick, shots that have no business at all being made will slide right down the rail and drop.

This is what happened to me. After the initial nine banks I continued to make most banks for over an hour. At first they went in as I just described - very sloppily. After a while, however, something very cool happened. The shots started hitting the pocket centers. I really looked like I knew what I was doing there.

I guess my confidence was so boosted by the accepting pockets that I relaxed just enough to become very accurate on my banks.

I know that the pockets will become less and less forgiving over the next several sessions, but I'm sure going to have some fun while it lasts. Hopefully I can keep up with the changing table conditions.