by Meagan Krafjack

To the average beginning pool player, the words “pool league” are synonymous with feelings of fear and inadequacy.  After all, you’ve been at the local club or pool hall and seen the players with cases full of expensive cues, hitting bank shots you didn’t even think were possible.  How could someone who wasn’t born knowing how to rack a game of 8 ball going to hang with players like that?

The answer is simple.  You don’t.  Most of us are hardwired with an emotion that doesn’t particularly enjoy putting ourselves into what we consider “no-win situations”.  Pride.  Pride is a new player’s kryptonite.  You see, that guy a few tables down, the one with the expensive cue, hitting cut shots that defy the logic of physics, he could probably teach you a few things. 

The pool community is, by and large, a welcoming one.  Older and more experienced players are usually willing to hand out a few pointers to those who genuinely want to learn and improve.  The question is: how do you convince them to give you those pointers?  It’s all in those two terrifying words: pool league. 

There are numerous leagues that cater to players of all skill levels: American Poolplayers Association (APA), BCA Pool Leagues (BCAPL), and Valley National Eight Ball League Association (VNEA).  Each league will be filled with players who can masse, jump, and bank, players who struggle with a straight shot, and everything in between.

If you join one of the leagues, first and foremost, check your pride at the door.  Don’t be afraid to be beaten.  Of course you will come up against a player who will run the table on you, and it will smart.  But nothing gains the respect of other players more than being a gracious and humble loser.  And with respect comes education.  Pointers, advice, strategies, and systems will be offered that can help your game improve exponentially.

As in life, you will run into players who are less than personable.  They play their games with minimal interaction and proceed on their way.  These are usually the intermediate players who still feel that they have something to prove and believe that being overly-friendly is counterproductive.  In those instances, focus on improving your game, and let your playing do the talking.

Eventually, you will find that those two little words were nothing to be scared of.  Personal victories like a truly superior kick shot, or a successful shot with inside english will become more frequent.  And your pride will come from hearing those incredible players praise a difficult shot that you successfully made. 

By playing in a league, you will gain camaraderie and experience, but above all, you will receive a billiards education like no other.  It’s worth it to find a league of your own.

About the Author
Meagan Krafjack is a freelance writer from Bonita Springs, Florida.  Her passion for writing began at the age of seven, during a second grade short story contest.  Her role as wife and mother inspired her to author the blog: Wifemotherwonderwoman, where she comments on the navigation of daily life.  As an avid pool player, who struggled with nervousness and fear during games, she is inspired to help novice players gain both knowledge and confidence through her experience.