During college my buddy Alexis Fecteau and I used to spend hours upon hours playing pool, and we both thought that we were at a pretty good level. In our final year there was a new pool place which opened up by the college and we joined the league that they started there. Both Alexis and I were pretty confident going into this league, but we soon learned that we were way off the pace. We both decided to put the work in and became far better players as a result. If you want to improve how well you play pool, here are some tips which will help.
Playing pool on your own gives you the chance to try out all kinds of different shots and try out different things, without it costing you a game if things go wrong. If you are really committed to this then you’ll find that you improve very quickly, especially if each time you focus on different types of shots and try to nail them. One week try and practice your cuts, the next try to practice your long potting, positioning etc. You will get better if you practice like this.
Play Better Players
Something which really helped me to improve was playing against different and better players than myself. When you do this it really forces you to up your game and find new ways of getting out of sticky situations. Because I had played Alexis so much I knew his strengths and his weaknesses and I probably got a bit complacent. Once I started playing in the league however, I was facing a range of opponents, many of whom were better and all of whom were different from the last.
Focus on Pace
The big mistake which many pool players make is thinking that they have to smash the ball each time, this in fact is very rarely called upon. The key is soft and steady pace, understanding just how hard or soft you need to hit the ball to make the pot and to keep your position. The only time where you need real pace is if you are trying to add some serious spin on the ball, but in truth that is not required very often.
Picking Your Game
Playing 8-ball and 9-ball are very different games and so it makes sense if you pick one and focus your efforts on that. In 8-ball there are more positions to navigate and smaller pockets for the balls, conversely 9-ball has heavier balls and there is a lot more focus on playing plants and long range shots. The best advice would be to focus on 8-ball pool and then if you fancy trying out 9-ball later you can use the skills you’ve learned in 8-ball to enjoy a game with just 9.
Work hard and keep practicing, I guarantee you that you will continue to get better!