Dust off your cues. It’s time to go back to pool! As the weather cools down, the kids return to school and the fall pool season begins. Here are your essentials for a fun and exciting new pool year.

1. Supplies
Take a quick peek at your playing and breaking tips to make sure they are in good shape. Your tip should look symmetrical when you turn it, without any mushrooming. Always carry an extra piece of chalk in your case because you never know when you might need it.

2. Books
As you continue your education in the game, you may want to start building a library of instructional books and videos. A few of my personal favorites are Pleasures of Small Motions by Bob Francher, Ph.D. and pretty much any of Phil Capelle’s books.

3. Campuses
Most of us have our favorite watering hole but are there any new ones in town that you might want to check out? Make a point to stop into at least one new pool room this year that you’ve never played in before. We often get so comfortable in our own little bubble and it’s a good idea to play on different equipment for a change.

4. Lessons
The more you improve the more fun the game becomes. If you haven’t been taking lessons, consider budgeting for at least one pool lesson this year. Most players will invest hundreds of dollars on equipment, leagues, food/drinks, but forget about their education. Look for an instructor in your area and see how much you can learn.

5. Homework
It’s always more fun to play with a friend than to practice alone but it’s that alone time when we really have a chance to improve on our weaknesses. During league and social play, make a note of any particular shots you need to work on. During your private practice time, set up the shots and shoot them over and over until you’re confident with it. Drills are also a fun way to develop your skills.

6. Field Trips
Plan to travel to at least one big tournament this year. The experience of leaving town and traveling to a new place to compete against different people is invaluable. Each time you prepare for and compete in a big event, you will always learn something from it.

7. Teams
Got you team together for the fall league season? Make sure you always keep a copy of the league schedule with you so you know where you’re playing and against whom, even if you’re not the captain. This will help make everyone’s lives much easier. Always arrive early to league so you have enough time to get warmed up and maybe have a little dinner. You never want to be rushed before your match.

8. Lunches
“You are what you eat.” How true is that? Try to stay away from fried, starchy foods before playing pool. These will only make you sleepy and unable to focus as well. Whenever possible, make sure you’re drinking plenty of water and try to have at least one serving a day of fruits and vegetables. One of the best things you can eat before a match is an apple. Try it and see how well it wakes you right up.

9. Extra Curricular Activities
Pool may be a big part of your life but make sure it’s not the only part. When you have a happy, well-balanced personal life, it will reflect in your pool game.

10. Schedule
Plan your pool schedule accordingly. Make sure you have a good balance between practice (playing alone, shooting drills and exercises), studying (reading books and watching videos), competition (leagues and tournaments), and fun (playing socially with friends).

Just like going back to school, remember to do your homework, meet lots of new friends, and have fun!

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