After chatting with a group of pool players that enjoy being in a league, I stumbled on a few answers that I searched for as an extremely novice player. In reality, I’m learning that even some of the most recognized players answer questions with almost the same response. Interesting, no? Here are some answers to other questions I’ve asked.
We asked Cindy:
I'm playing like crap. Should I take a break?
For the casual player: Listen, league night is only once a week. Just play, have fun and be social. Playing pool is your leisure time activity, and you should enjoy yourself. If you really are having a tough time, maybe a fresh perspective after having a couple of weeks off will bring you back to your regular game.
However, if you haven’t already, joining a league is a fantastic place to learn from others and work on creating a list of personal bests for yourself. When you’re a novice, it’s all about taking the time to understand your skills, watch others and just enjoy.
For the aspiring player: If you’re in a league and discover you’re having a really bad night, step away. Know when to sit down. Sometimes you’re better just cheering everyone on. If you are aspiring to be a top player…Heck, no. Get into the pool hall and stop whining about everything. The game has ebbs and flows, and you need to learn how to deal with them. One of the best practices you can get is learning how to fight your way out of bad play. Try to learn what it takes to dig deep and raise yourself out of a funk. It’s hard – but you can do it.
We asked Ashley:
I play better with a couple of drinks in me. Should I do a shot before my matches?
For the casual player: Absolutely! Relax and have fun! If that’s what relaxes you. Ninety percent of the game is in your head. I think that any substance that someone uses to relax and let go of their day will open your mind and loosen you up. League night is only once a week, so de-stress and connect with your friends. Lose the ‘monkey brain.
For the aspiring player: Absolutely your choice! You may be that super-focused person that can clear your mind without using anything—one of those lucky, ‘in the now’ personalities. Unless you are also an aspiring alcoholic, I won’t start relying on drinks to make you play better. It may work initially, but pool is a very delicate balance of clear thought and physical precision. Drinking can cloud both of those.
We asked Georgia:
How do Players get a sponsor?
For the casual player: You can’t.
For the aspiring player: Sponsorship is only about one thing. Return on Investment. What do you have to offer a potential sponsor? Do you frequently play on live streams or in big tournaments with lots of visibility? Many players think they are owed sponsorship because they play well, but sponsors want someone who brings visibility to their brand, someone with personality, so to speak. Connect with companies via email or at trade shows, and tell them what you bring to the table. Sometimes companies will send you a product for your own use, and you wear a patch in return. Real monetary sponsorship is usually only available to the upper echelon of players, and even then, you may only get free products that you can sell and keep the profit.
We asked Ray:
Will betting on my game make me better?
Gamble will probably make you broke-er for the casual player, but if you enjoy it, do it! I dont because it just makes me tense. I shoot pool to socialize and have some fun, and I don’t find betting fun. Sometimes I watch the really great players and notice that they bet, but don’t exchange money. I think that the way they kind of keep a running tab is cool.
For the aspiring player: Gambling can be good for your game if it’s done the right way. Lopsided matches won’t do much for your game, so set the spots accordingly. Also, if you spend all of your practice time gambling, you may get stuck protecting your money and not try new things. Like all things in life, it’s about balance.
We asked Brian:
How many hours a week should I practice?
For the casual player: Practice whenever you feel like playing. If you don’t feel like it, a quick warm-up before your league match will do.
For the aspiring player: How many hours do you have free during the week? Can you sneak out on lunch break and hit a few balls? When I first started playing, I intended to make a career of it. I was playing 60 hours a week or more between practice and games. Keep in mind that your pool obsession can significantly impact family life, so make a schedule that everyone can agree to and stick to it. I know you want to get better, but it won’t mean much if you get fired from your job and kicked out by your partner. But then again, think about how good you could be!
Then I talked with Georgia...
In talking with Georgia, owner of Alliance Billiards, I’ve learned that there are leagues for youth and leagues for adults. Georgia really promotes the fun of Youth Leagues at Alliance. The kids have a great time and are subtly learning many skills that they can use daily. Of course, they learn math skills, but they also learn patience, team building, and focus. I had never thought of that before.
Written By: Jane Laker
Photo Credit: Veronika Kovecses
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