Your Personal Stats

Written by Bryan Mitchell

If you play in a league, I am sure you know your win/lose record. You may even know your record against players of a specific rank. And you have someone keeping track of your innings on the team scorecard. But do you know how many innings you average per game, per match, per month?

Your ranking is not always the best barometer of your improvement over time. If you win matches as a six and you are beating players ranked 4 and 5, you may play for a very long time before you see a change in your rank. At the same time, you may be averaging one fewer innings per game or as many as 6 fewer innings per match better than this time last year. And if you are a top ranked player, you may never see improvement on your part reflected in your ranking.

How do you know if you are getting better as you put in all of this playing time and practice time? You may not be improving at all but declining in skill. Some highly ranked players might decline in ability as a result of playing lower ranked players from one week to the next. The higher ranked player may also practice less because he does not need to put in as much work to post wins from week to week.

Another problem is that the higher you are ranked, the more subtle your improvement or decline. As an example, let's say Player ONE can run 5 racks of balls in 85 shots (75 would be perfect), but it takes Player TWO 125 shots to run the same 75 balls. After 6 months of practice, it is much easier for player TWO to get down to 115 than it is for Player ONE to get down to 75. (A ten shot improvement for each player)

Outside of knowing if your overall performance is improving, wouldn't you like to know about specific areas of your game? As an example, what is your break percentage today verses a year ago? Do you have more wins on bar boxes or on larger tables? Do you play better on Tuesdays verses Mondays? This last one might seem a little bit of a stretch, but I often play better on Mondays than I do on Sundays. Why? Because I get up early every Sunday and play full court basketball for two straight hours. When I shoot pool later, I am a bit more tired than I will be after eight hours of sleep. I have also found that I have a better win percentage when I do not eat within two hours of playing. I blame this on a drop in oxygen saturation during the digestive period, but it might all just be in my head. Either way, the stats do not lie.

What about that low deflection cue you just bought, or that fancy break cue you got talked into? Do you play better with this new equipment? Maybe you only think you play better with it. Maybe you play much better and do not know just how much improvement you can attribute to having good equipment. I can tell you for a fact that I play better with certain types of cues because I have hundreds of hours of stats showing before and after performance numbers.

I would be surprised if every pro could not tell you if he or she shoots better with a low deflection shaft or what the ideal weight for a break cue is for them. It will take some large trial numbers to get accurate comparisons in some areas of your game, but you will not have anything to work with down the road if you do not start now. You may not want to measure the same things that I might, but here is a list of a few things you may want to consider.

  1. What is your likelihood of making a ball on the break in 8-ball and 9-ball?
  2. How often do you scratch on the break?
  3. Do you have a better win percentage during low inning games or high inning games?
  4. How many shots does it take you to run 5 racks of balls?
  5. What is your average number of innings played (minus defensive shots) in 8-ball or 9-ball

Find your own system and items you would like to measure, but I find numbers 1 and 4 very useful. In fact, I do what I call a Rack and Run test every day of the week. This would be number 4 on the list above. Note: I count scratches as two shots and spot a ball if I scratch. Any ball made unintentionally after the break gets spotted, and I also count breaks as one shot. 75 points is a perfect score.

About The Author: Bryan Mitchell is a highly skilled player/instructor from the Northern Delaware area.

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Author Info - Bryan Mitchell