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

Friday, January 30, 2009

Talent and the Brain

For the last several months I have been reading and considering the revelations in two books that have nothing to do with pool. But after reading them, it's clear that they can be a major benefit to my pool game. The books are "Talent is Overrated" and "The Brain That Changes Itself". The first, about talent, simply says that we make our own talent by focused practice over a long period of time. The second book, about the brain, offers many case histories to demonstrate the plasticity of the brain, or how we can cause physical changes in our brains by what we choose to think.

Together, these books indicate that lots of hours of focused practice can be traded for other activities which produce the same changes in the brain and therefore give the same results. For example, simply watching or visualizing matches of pool competitions can produce an increase in skill level.

I like to watch matches on DVD, so I can pause, rewind, slow-motion forward, etc. This sort of active participation, and actually studying a match in detail, has got to pay far greater dividends than simply watching passively, once.

One of my favorites is Thorsten Hohman winning the final of the world straight pool (14.1) championship. Another favorite DVD is Efren Reyes vs. Corey Deuel in an IPT match up in 8-ball, race to 8.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Mike,

I wanted to add, in reference to your mention about visualization, that there have been a number of scientific studies (don't have references handy) that back up the idea that visualization helps.

Even the ones that show the least benefit from visualization show it causing 2/3 as much improvement as concentrated, drill type practice. Imagine how valuable this would be if we do it in addition to practicing.

I think you made a great point about your active participation in your watching of matches. Visualization yields the most results when done correctly. That is, really get into the details as you imagine yourself making the shot. Feel the cue in your hand, feel the stroke and the hit, listen to the hit of cue on cue ball and the sound of the object ball dropping. See the balls rolling on the table. Passive visualization is almost worthless, but active visualization pays significant dividends.

Friday, January 30, 2009 8:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great point on active viewing. I do this often and find it helps.

Can you be more specific on the two videos you mention? I'd like to know where I can see them, or what to order from Accustats.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009 7:34:00 AM  
Blogger Michael McCafferty said...

the videos mentioned can be purchased at internationalpooltour.com

Wednesday, February 25, 2009 3:50:00 PM  

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