The Pool Diet: 5 Key Ingredients for Improvement


If you wanted to go on a diet to lose weight, you would probably want to weigh in first. Successful diets always recommend having a target weight or size in mind before you change anything. Then, once you’ve established your goal, take down your measurements (weight, size, body fat, bmi, etc.) How can you determine whether or not you’re losing any weight if you don’t even know how much you weighed to begin with?

Now, think of your pool game as your body. If you want to shape up and improve your physique, you will need to set some goals and establish benchmarks. Unfortunately, with your pool game, unlike going on a diet, you can’t exactly just hop on a scale to measure your skill level. I don’t believe PoolDawg sells something for that. Therefore, you’ll need to find more specific ways to “weigh in.”

One of my favorite tools for weighing in and measuring your progress is the IPAT (International Playing Ability Test). The IPAT is a series of workbooks with shots and exercises to not only assess your current level but also to practice and improve on. There are a designated number of attempts for each assignment and once completed you receive a mathematical score based on your overall results.

If you constantly play against the same person over and over again, you may notice an improvement if you start winning more games or losing less money. But, how can you truly measure how much you’ve improved? What if your opponent is having an off night? You may find yourself winning more games, but does that really mean you’re actually playing better pool? That system of measurement is quite subjective. Following these five steps will help organize your progress.

1. Weigh in. Accurately assess your current level. Whether you use the IPAT workbooks or your league statistics, find a way to quantifiably measure your current skill level.
2. Set a goal. Establish a tangible target for what you would like to accomplish. Do not overwhelm or discourage yourself with unrealistic benchmarks. Do you want to advance one handicap in league by the end of the season? What about increasing your IPAT score by 100 before the end of the year? Be very specific when setting your goals.
3. Make a plan. What is it going to take to achieve your goal? Take a look at your current practice schedule and see how you can improve it both by quantity and quality. Work on specific exercises that focus on your weaknesses, not just the things that are fun.
4. Measure your progress. Track your results so that you can assess your development. Avoid noting so much that it takes away from your enjoyment. You don’t want the thought of practicing to become daunting. Just keep a small notebook in your pool case where you can jot down a few stats after each session.
5. Review and repeat. Frequently review your notes and once you’ve accomplished your goals, celebrate and set new ones!

The perfect goal should require effort on your part to attain it but be sensible with your level of commitment. You’re the only one that can determine how much time and effort you’re able to invest. It can so rewarding to set a target and reach it. The satisfaction alone will make you want to set more goals.

The next time you’re in the mile high area and looking for a Denver billiard instructor, be sure to look me up.