Rev Up Your Game - 10 Tips for Getting Better Faster
There are no short cuts in pool - improving your game takes hard work and dedication. The good news? With the right fuel in your tank, you will get the most out of your time and give yourself the best shot at accelerating your progress. These road-tested techniques will boost your chances of getting better faster. Let's open 'er up and see what this baby can do!
1. Find an instructor.
Although you can learn something from everyone, finding a qualified teacher with a record for getting results is your best bet for improvement. Look for things like BCA-certification or a recommendation from a good player in your area. Finding someone isn't the end of the process, though - you actually have listen to them and do what they say.
2. Play someone better than you.
Need some motivation? Pick someone who is a level better than you and set your sights on beating him or her. Put their picture on your mental dartboard - or your real one. Just be sure to take it down before they come over to your house.
3. Have some me time.
Nothing, I mean nothing, can substitute for time spent practicing alone. When it's just you and the table, you have the opportunity to hone your skills by repetition and work on shots until you get them just right.
4. Join a league team.
Being part of a team is a great way to learn because your teammates will have a vested interest in how you play. Your teammates can be a great source of information and encouragement - they will most likely always give you feedback, whether you get it right or wrong.
5. Reading is fundamental
By reading the words of knowledgeable people, your understanding of the game will be grounded in fact, not fiction. There are many excellent and informative books about all aspects of pool - everything from the basics to how to improve your mental game.
6. Feel the heat - compete!
Nerves make everything much more difficult, sometimes making you feel like you are two different players - the practice champion and the tournament chump! Playing competitively will refine your game to what works best for you. Nothing that you practice can be trusted until you're sure that it holds up under the pressure test.
7. See how it's done right.
With all the video and live-streaming of professional pool available, there's no excuse not to watch how the game is played at its highest level. Pay attention to the shots the pros choose and what they do with the cue ball and you will be programming your brain for success.
8. Have the right attitude.
Don't get in your own way when trying to improve. Be patient, humble and hard-working - anger, frustration and competitiveness are natural but can undermine your attempts if you let them.
9. Widen your approach.
Don't be afraid to experiment and to try new things. Playing different games, such as straight pool or one-pocket, can teach you new strokes, new shots and new ways of thinking.
10. Enjoy yourself.
If you can find a way to stay positive you will keep coming back for more torture, er... I mean fun! Yes, fun!
Liz Ford is a professional pool player on the WPBA tour and a teacher in New York City. Liz has been playing pool for 15 years and has represented the United States in tournaments around the world. In addition, Liz has appeared on TV nationally as a billiards expert including an episode of "Time Warp" on The Discovery Channel.