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PoolSynergy Vol: 7

My “Poolosophy” or Approach to Pool

By: Charles Eames

I wish I could say my approach to pool was something slick and intimidating like “I Must Break You” made famous of course by Dolph Lundren in Rocky but that simply is not the case. My approach to pool is a simple one “Never Stop Learning”. I am an eternal student of the game and would never choose another path. In my experience those that stop learning within our sport stop excelling. The best players in the world never stop learning or trying to perfect what they already know and there has to be a reason for that. In this instance I look at the variation from American players to European players one of which who comes to mind is Jasmin Ouschan. From what I have learned she has had a coach now for some years as well as other Euro Pro’s. Again there must be a reason for this. They (European Professionals) are regarded as having some of the best mechanics within the whole of cue sports and I don’t think this is a coincidence, unless they put some sort of pool stroke chemical in the water. Hey you never know!!

This topic and my approach to pool most recently remind me of a small story that I will share with you now that just goes to show you how learning can be pivotal to your game. I recently played in a small local tournament where I drew a strong opponent in the first round. As the match progressed I realized that I was ready and focused on the task at hand. He on the other hand was not, putting his jump stick together, going to the bathroom, fiddling with clothing, etc. More and more things just started piling up against him. Now these things were little distractions that in my opinion gave me a slight edge. The reason why I feel this is relevant is because I had just watched one of the “Drill Instructor’s” DVDs about practice secrets from the pros where this exact subject matter was covered. It dawned on me then that I had learned something and surprisingly enough it actually stuck. Now take that scenario and apply it to something even larger. Something like using draw on a shot with a touch of left hand English as opposed to follow with a lot of right, learning different patterns in straight pool, the “cut break” as used in the US Open regularly. The opportunities are limitless as to the knowledge you can gain and that is one of the greatest weapons a player can have in his or her arsenal.

Over the last year of my career, I have had one main teacher. He has taught me patience, speed control, and we analyze racks with each other to find the paths of least resistance. How shots could have been played differently to avoid trouble spots, things of this nature. Steve Kurtz is a very close friend and I consider myself lucky to have him as a mentor and brother in arms in this small microcosm that is our sport. Without him I do not know where my game and new found skills at the table would be as well as the burning desire to better myself on the table all the time, to never stop learning. Also to kick his butt for the years of tournament beatings I took from him. (Sorry Steve!!)  Take a moment while you are reading this to think of someone who has coached you, as I am sure like me you have someone in your life that is, or was, there to help you learn the ins and outs of this game. Another person who has taught me tremendously and worked on my game with me has been Mike “Fingers” Badstuebner. His tireless efforts have been monumental in taking my game to the next level. He is a close friend and a phenomenal teacher. He has the experience that I am lacking and he shares it without question at every pass and I am extremely grateful for his tutelage. I guess I consider myself lucky as my incredible girlfriend Elizabeth has been pushing me as well to better myself on and off the table in the best ways possible. It really helps you realize your dreams when you have an amazing support system like that. She has been there for over four years now pushing me to learn and play and never complains when I practice for long hours (well not too much anyway) and for that I can’t thank her enough. I have learned so much from so many people about our incredible industry in the last year to two years. Charlie Williams from Dragon Promotions / Predator has been a wealth of information which he has shared with me willingly at every turn. From tournament formats to monetary breakdowns his logistical knowledge is incredible and I hear he plays a pretty good game of 14.1 as well. Alison Fischer, Jerry Tarantola, Cristina De La Garza, Angel Levine, and of course Sarah Rousey have also been great friends in showing me the ins and outs of the professional world from both an industry and player standpoint and I cant thank them enough. Facebook really is an incredible tool for keeping people in touch across a country.

There was a post recently on the AZBilliards Forums asking if you would take advice from a lesser player. In my honest opinion yes I would take their advice. What is the harm in listening to someone who wants to help you? My suggestion for this is simple. Listen whole heartedly to what this person has to say, analyze it and glean from it what you can. If you learn nothing than you have made a lesser player’s day that much better because he or she feels that she helped you the better player in your ever increasing game. Now on the other hand if you learn something of value that you may not have seen before then think of the repercussions of this. A glitch in your stroke, jumping up on shots, anything that can help you I refuse to believe can be bad for your game.  In the words of my team mates on my Wednesday night pool league Kenan, Don, and Tommy “It’s only advice”. This of course translates to our team’s time outs. They very much enjoy talking over shots and deciding which is the path of least resistance etc. All three of these player’s games have increased since I have known them, especially Tommy who in my opinion the truest student of us all. His desire to learn is contagious and it makes me want to be a better student myself. Kenan’s and Don’s competitive spirit keeps me in the fight when I want to slam my cue on the ground after a bad roll on an even worse bar table.

Never stop learning. There are pool schools and instructors you can go to for help. Books, magazines, and of course DVD’s dedicated to Pool are readily available to people via the internet and book stores. You would be amazed at the information that is found within them. Watch DVD’s, study players movements, which shots they take and why. Listen to the commentary if there is some and learn from that too.

I guess overall what I am trying to say is keep your eyes and ears open. Information is power the more you have the more powerful you are and the only way to gain it is to learn. Be a student yourself and see what you come up with. In my opinion the results will speak for themselves. In the words of the immortal GI Joe cartoon series “Knowing is half the battle”!

Shoot Well And Keep Up The Great Work Guys !!!!!!!!!


May 15, 2010 Posted by | Pool Synergy | 4 Comments

Women in the US Open Nine Ball Championships

Women In The US Open

By : Charles Eames

Once again the US Open is slowly coming upon us and once again there is much debate over the event. This year however I find this debate to be quite favorable as it involves a very interesting topic. The quintessential battle of the sexes so to speak will play out in October on a nine foot Diamond table to the sound of over two hundred entrants male and female alike. The reason why this is so controversial is a simple one. It is the first year the women are being allowed to compete. In a bold move by tournament promoter and founder Barry Behrman, he has opened the doors of the event wide open to both sexes and has changed the landscape of the tournament in my opinion for the better.

Let’s look at it from a purely monetary standpoint for a moment. How is opening up the field to more players a bad thing?  More players equal bigger prize pools which equals more players in the end which equals more exposure and so on and so forth down the line. How is it possible that this is a bad idea? There are those who would disagree with me and I would not begrudge them their opinion, however I am forced to ask why they would form said opinion. Could it be fear based? Is it the fact that the women of the WPBA have had their own open event in the past and the men have not been allowed to play? Once again I find myself asking this question over and over in my mind when I think about the topic at hand.

Now, take the fear factor for instance. While I understand that people like Mika, Johnny Archer, and Shane may not be quaking in their boots, the top men in the event make up only a small percentage of the event. These “house hold names of pool” so to speak. The others are people who are not top echelon pros. They are people like you and I simply playing in a top tier event for experience, exposure, and to test their skills against players from far and wide. Now take me for instance I don’t consider myself to be an incredible player like Shane or Mika so if I draw Jasmin Ouschan, or Allison Fisher first round I will smile and shake their hands with trepidation and fear knowing that these two women are some of the finest cueists in the world. Not to mention the number of other very qualified candidates like Sarah Rousey, Jeanette Lee, Karen Corr, Ga Young Kim, Xiao Ting Pan, and so many more. There have been statements made online saying that the top women of our sport can’t stand up to the men. Whether or not that is true I know not but I like many others are itching to find out. Mark my words I have a feeling quite a few of the men will be sitting in their chairs down something to the tune of 7-1 wondering how it is they came to that point in time. Being beaten, but much to their dismay, not only being beaten but beaten by a “girl”. Perhaps then it will dawn on them.

In truth I feel the women deserve it. Not just the right to play in the event as it is an open but the chance to show that they are just as skilled, just as powerful, and of course just as determined and disciplined as the men. I personally don’t think this argument will ever find an end but I do think that this is a step in the right direction for professional pool as a whole to show a united front. That the gender line is not just being blurred but rubbed out completely. I know it is the fantasy of most pool players that the powers that be will come together and we as players will be under one governing body. That men and women alike can play in events side by side with one another and that the prize pools will be massive. Well one out of three so far isn’t bad and I applaud Barry Behrman for this decision whatever his reasoning was behind it.

To the incredible women of this sport I salute you. You have taken the initiative and have had your own tour for a number of years in the WPBA as well as quite a number of independent tours. You have tried to step up with the men at every pass and although some tours are men only it has not deterred you. I wish you all the best of luck in the US Open not because you will need it (although we all will in that field) but as one competitor and equal to another. I extend this to you as a sign of friendship and the hope of more events like this to come where we can stand together not as men and women but as pool players united in a common goal.

May 7, 2010 Posted by | Articles and News !! | 3 Comments