Five Reasons Your Pool Game Sucks

Written by Bryan Mitchell

There is a chance that your game does not “suck,” but it could probably use a bit of work. And compared to elite players, chance are more than likely that your game could use a lot of work. In the eyes of skilled players your game may very well “suck.” So without having ever met you, I will assume that you fall somewhere between casual player and intermediate league player. And because you are reading this, I will also assume that you wish to improve as a player.

In this article I will cover what I believe are the five main reasons many players do not improve very much over time. Hopefully you will find yourself in some of these examples and also find a way to fix any issues that may be holding you back.

Reason One: You don’t know, what you don’t know

There is a very good chance that if you are a casual player you have never been in the presents of an elite player, yet played a match against one. The reason this is important is that you really do not grasp the quality gap between intermediate players and elite players by watching top players on You Tube or ESPN. As a result, you end up thinking that you are better than you really are, until you see someone who is much better.

If your play is limited to going to your favorite bar, hanging out with friends and playing with whoever puts a coin on the top of the table to play "next," you really have no idea what a limited world your pool game lives in. The so called "best guy" at most local bars would be considered a "scrub" by higher ranked players. Trust me, there are hundreds of players who make a living simply traveling around and playing the "best guy" in the bar for cash.

There are a few exceptions to this rule. For example, I know a bar in Norristown PA called the Black Horse. They have three (not so great,) 7-Foot coin operated tables. And walking in on any given night it would look like just a few locals hanging out and playing pool. But, this bar happens to be the keystone of the local APA league and houses some of the best amature players in the state on any given night of the week. Pick a night and the "best guy" in the bar at that time would be a different guy or girl who would be able to hold their own in just about any top amature tournament in the country. This place would be the exception to the rule, but your local bar is likely not like the Black Horse.

If you are a league player you are likely to be exposed to good players more often. And you do have a chance to watch your highest ranked league players from week to week. This is a very good start, as long as you are playing attention. It always amazes me how often intermediate players fail to watch matches that are played by the higher ranked players in the league when there is so much that could be learned simply by paying attention.

The other reason you don’t know just how weak your game really is, is that it’s impossible for you to “know, what you do not know.” This is one of the most frustrating concepts for me to get across to people. The understanding that there is so much about this simple little sport that the average player does not realize he does not know. He does not understand that the elite player is using outside English to throw a shot, or that running English will change the path of the cue-ball on it's trip around the table; or even what “running English” means. He does not know that the tightness of his grip on the cue affects everything from the power in his break shot to his ability to make a draw shot. These and a thousand more pieces of important information are missing from the mind of the intermediate and beginner player. All of this falls into things he did not know that he did not know. These types of things along with even the simplest of run-out patters.

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

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