: Emily Duddy
POOL PLAYERS UNITE!
There is no denying that pool is one of the most amazing, diverse, and unifying hobbies on the planet. Tables are scattered all over the globe in bars, clubs, halls, restaurants, cruise ships, and even huts. It crosses all cultures and social status. It is a game that can be learned as a very young child and with the right luck it can be played well into old age. Pool can help develop a variety of important life skills including hand-eye coordination, self-awareness, body awareness, social interaction, memory, confidence, concentration, focus, discipline & much more. Pool is also a lot of fun to play and can create life long friends from different walks of life! It is my opinion that this makes pool the king of games or sports (depending on your definition). Yet more importantly I believe this means pool has tremendous potential to help impact the world and shape people’s lives.
I understand pool might not be for everyone, but the number of enthusiasts has largely increased in the last 20 years. I meet people every day that recently became obsessed about playing pool when they were more exposed to it. When taught the game correctly or played in the right environment, players become committed at the excitement of progress. Hobbies are usually more enjoyed when you see yourself getting better at them!
Today in many countries pool remains off the mainstream radar. There is a lack of corporate funding, sponsorship and marketing that makes pool a tough career to pursue. With no regular television coverage, pool being taught at any level of school, and profitable professional tours, pool remains a hobby instead of a profession. Of course the reasons for this is very complicated, but many other countries, notably of Asian and European decent, have these things and much more when it comes to pool. Did you know some countries governments pay their professional pool players salaries, give them bonuses and pay their expenses?
Of course talking too much about the reasons for these differences in culture is very complex and most people would find boring. So instead let’s consider how those of us who love pool can help grow the sport!
1.) SHARE YOUR PASSION
First take the time to figure out why you enjoy playing pool. There might be a couple reasons or many! Some reasons that may be popular with non-players are the social part or the feeling of improving at something. Then make sure to recommend they take a lesson or that they get taught the fundamentals by a strong player. That way they will have a good foundation and can improve as they play more. Even if they don’t want to play they may be interested in learning about the pool world or watching a competition.
2.) INVOLVE THE YOUTH
Unfortunately pool is not a game taught in school in many countries, in most cases it would be too costly, impractical and hard to execute. Yet the benefits of learning pool at a young age can be exciting. Whether you’re a parent, aunt/uncle, friend, older sibling or school teacher, if you love pool and are connected with the youth invite them to play one day and make it a fun experience!
3.) BAND TOGETHER ONLINE
There is strength in numbers and pool players on the global level can unite online. Share your photos, tournaments and stories to help grow the audience of pool. Support and “like” worthy pool businesses, professional players and join online groups on the different social networks like Google+, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, etc.
4.) BE PATIENT & PROFESSIONAL
It can be difficult to find the patience to teach beginning players or to play against them. If you have any teaching skills and someone is looking for advice, try to give it in a constructive manner or refer them to an instructor. On another note, since pool is often played one-on-one some people can develop the bad habit of acting hyper competitive and judgmental to other players. The enjoyment people get from playing pool and watching pool can be very fulfilling, but when the ego of some rears it’s ugly head, potential players and fans can be turned off. It’s best to keep the vibe respectful and professional with prospective pool enthusiasts around!
In conclusion, I am a firm believer in the power and potential of pool as a game and an industry. I think that if you love this game and you share that happiness in subtle ways, that passion can be contagious.