: Samm Diep
With every new year comes new resolutions. If “become a better pool player” is one of the items on your list then here are a few of my favorite training aids that will help with your endeavor. These seven savvy tools are staples in my personal pool library and teaching bag.
Most Frequently Used Training Aid – Jim Rempe Training Ball
It’s hard to believe that a cue ball with some special lines on it can be so useful but I never leave home without this ball. How many times do you think you’re drawing the cue ball only to discover it stopped upon contact without reversing at all? Many people do not strike the cue ball where they intend to. Use this ball to develop your draw stroke, your spin, and even your break shot. It’s one of my personal favorites!
Most Simple Training Aid – Cue Ball Tracker
I was recently introduced to this simple little sticker and highly recommend it to anyone seeking a quick cue ball reference while in a game. Affix this small decal on the joint of your cue and use it as an easy, at-a-glance reference to determine which direction the cue ball is headed.
Favorite Instructional Book – Pleasures of Small Motions
No billiard library would be complete without my favorite book on the mental side of the game, “Pleasures of Small Motions: Mastering the Mental Game of Pocket Billiards” by Bob Fancher, PhD, psychotherapist in NY for 14 years. It’s an easy read and delves just enough into the mental side of the game without getting too deep. Readers will learn valuable concepts from concentration tips, to developing a cadence, to techniques for dealing with competition pressures. This book is invaluable.
Favorite Instructional Video – Video Encyclopedia of Pool Shots (discs 1-5)
If it comes from “Dr. Dave” Alciatore you can guarantee you’re going to learn something. The same doctor of mechanical engineering who brought us “The Illustrated Principles of Pool and Billiards” and all his famous slow-motion video clips of various pool shots, has now compiled his teachings into a fast-paced instruction video series of 750 shots in 50 different categories. This comprehensive, well-organized resource is a must-have for any student of the game.
Best Training Workbook – IPAT (International Player Ability Test, vol. 1-3)
In my opinion, there’s not a more comprehensive way to measure and track your progress than with the IPAT test and exercises. Not only do the shots and drills in the workbooks accurately test your skills with a precise numeric score, but all the exercises are also designed to secretly help improve your skills. The optional IPAT DVDs illustrate all the shots in the workbook executed by world champion, Thorsten Hohmann. This is an affordable way to give yourself an effective training program with assignments and benchmarks.
Most Novel Beginner’s Tool – BAT (Billiard Aim Trainer)
This unique little training aid is another simple yet effective tool that I enjoy using with my students. I believe aiming is an intuitive thing. Everyone aims a little differently and what works for someone may not work for someone else. I don’t teach aiming unless you’re a pure beginner and if you are, this is one clever little gadget that will help ‘point you in the right direction’ (pun intended).
Most Fun Training Tool – Ultimate Pool Challenge Games
Of all the tools I have introduced to my students at my monthly pool clinics, none have received as much acclaim as the Ultimate Pool Challenge games. This small deck of 52 cards is a clever way to learn a new shot without even realizing your learning. Both the original and advanced decks are full of color illustrations of shots for players of all levels. It makes learning fun and who doesn’t like that?
The next time you’re in the mile high area and looking for a Denver billiard instructor, be sure to look me up.