Developing Skills

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Well, here I am sitting in the terminal at Ramstein Airbase near Frankfurt Germany hoping to get on a flight back to the states today. Flying Space Available is never a sure thing! With all this time on my hands, I was thinking how could I get better at the space game.That led right in to thinking about how to improve my pool game.

We have spent a lot of time in these articles developing knowledge of how to play and how to develop a repeatable, reliable swing. What I want to do in this article is look at how we can develop skills that improve our game and increase our confidence while we are playing.

The path to confidence and improvement is knowing we can do pool skills. We get that confidence from improving our pool skills and knowing we can do things with the cue ball when we need to.

We develop this confidence by testing and measuring our results of controlling the cue ball over time. Let's look at the first skill to help us improve our game results, following the cue ball a controlled amount. It is important that you keep records of your results! Keeping records of how you actually do is better than depending on your memory. Your mind will trick you, but tracking your results is hard evidence of your improvement.


Take a look at this diagram:

What you want to do here is pocket the object ball and roll the cue ball forward one, two and then 3 diamonds. You have 2 tries at each shot. The results to measure are how far your cue ball finishes from your target. Over time you will see this distance decrease and you will know that you have measurably developed the ability to roll the cue ball forward a measured amount. 

The next skill we want to develop is our ability to draw the cue ball back a measured amount. I'll give you a warning here, this is hard. Again we get two tries, and our target is in half diamond increments. It is important that you limit your tries to two, and that you measure your results. What you are doing is training your pool mind to pocket an object ball and move the cue ball a measured amount on the first try! We don't get to shoot a shot 20 times until we get it in a game!!

Here is what this skill test looks like:

The last skill I want to look at in the article is modified from the PAT Test. Set up the table according to this diagram, again you have two tries, and the idea is to keep track of how many balls you pocket.

Again this will test and measure your game skills. Keep at these skills. Limiting the number of tries and measuring your results, forces you to concentrate. You can't pretend you did something if your statistics show otherwise!


Keeping statistics on your practice results is a sure way to develop skills and confidence. Thinking you can do something is a lot different than knowing you can do something, and what your margin of error is!

See you on the road. Next stop is Chicago and the BCA Summit. Stop by and say hi.