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P O O L    S H O O T E R

The Adventures of FastMikie
in search of Truth and Beauty in the art of pocket billiards.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Cloudy Thinking

Recent storms are passing by the front window
here at my seaside Fortress of Solitude.

It reminded me of my days
flying an open cockpit biplane through the Alps.
(see story)

It's one of those great times
to sit back, relax, and
watch the clouds.

I am convinced that time spent watching clouds
is added back to your life on earth.
That must be why there are sunny days,
to keep us from living forever.

Cloudy days are great for thinking.
Today I got to thinking about Practice.

Sometimes, when I have a bit of free time,
I'll go to the table and run the first rack, easily.
And then it might take me 4 or 5 innings
to get through the second rack.

I'm thinking that the first rack
benefits from greater focus and concentration,
and that after demonstrating perfection,
my attention wanes.

In the second rack, I make mistakes
that I wouldn't make in a competition.
I'll take on shots that are interesting
but low percentage.

I'm playing, not practicing.

Making the shot is no longer the priority.
It becomes more of a curiosity thing:
("I wonder if I can...")

This sort of activity is Fun,
but sub-optimal
as a way to improve my game.

Naturally, this leads me to want
to discover/design the Optimal Practice Routine.

Recent posts have mentioned the
Billiard Practice Assistant
job opportunity,
and described the general flow of
a Focused Practice Session (with assistant).

What needs clarification is the
selection of the drills
and the structure of how they progress
during the session.

For example,
the session might begin with
cue ball only, warm up stroke routines,
such as lag shots and other speed controls,
kicks, english, etc.
Next might come specific drills,
and although I have not selected them yet,
I'm thinking that most drills in the
known billiard universe are not designed
to take advantage of a
Billiards Practice Assistant.
So I'll probably be
doing some inventing in this area.

At the very end of the practice session,
I'm thinking there might be a set up table
which would have a wide variety of shots,
stop, draw, follow, english, fast/slow, etc.
and flow from one to the other in rotation
(possibly like the Honduran game of pool).

Of course detailed records would be kept,
including video.

I'm envisioning almost a
Standardized Practice Routine
so that one student's routine could be
compared to another's,
rated and ranked,
and even critiqued by an instructor
who could watch the video.

Such a Standardized Practice Routine
would be a more consistent method
for determining the skill level of a student
than competitions in 8 or 9 ball
which have such elements of luck
and environmental variables.

I'm heading into unknown territory.
Should be interesting.



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