The Art of Teaching

by: The Monk

The Monk - Tim Miller

You can go to my web site and read over seventy important instructional articles at no cost to you. www. has video clips to show you how to hit the shots. 

My special three-day workshop is limited to four students. I do not allow my students to get lost in a large class. I am here to help you at a reasonable price. It is about skill development. 


I have two students who have joined my “mentor program”. One is a professional player who seems to be stuck in the middle of the pack. The other is a young man who has dreams of a world championship. They both desire to be world class.


The valley between the desire to reach high skill level and the reality of reaching high skill level is found in how you prepare. It is not in how much time you put on the table. It is how you train. Your training must be deliberate and specific.

As you travel through the training material you must be aware that there are pitfalls at every turn, ways to stray from the path without knowing what is happening. After a while, ten years have passed and you have not experienced the progress you expected when you took up this game.

There are four stages each player must pass through to reach the top.

The first stage is the Shot making stage. Here we simply make balls. While in this stage we find ourselves hooked behind balls and not able to complete our run out. It is at this point many players move on to play position. Moving from the Shot making to position play is fatal for most players.

The second stage is the Four Strokes of Pool. The stroke determines the track line of the cue ball. The stroke determines the speed of the cue ball. Without mastery of the Four Strokes you will always be guessing on your position play.

The third stage is Cue Ball Speed. Here we master speed and position play.

The fourth stage is Mastering Self. In this final stage we learn to control our emotions and are able to deliver one hundred per cent effort on each shot.


If you have a mentor who can guide you through all four phases you will pass through the valley and become a master.

Lets suppose you are faced with a safety shot. You could go for the bank but this would be low percentage. In the Mastering Self stage you realize that you would be playing a bank only to get another bank shot. The right shot would be to play a safety. Bank the ball back to the bottom rail and send the cue ball down table. This way you put your opponent at a disadvantage.

In this shot you must be able to hit the precise edge of the object ball. That comes from the Shot Making stage. Then you must spin the ball down table. This comes form the Four Strokes of Pool stage. Then you must land at the bottom rail. Here you are using the Cue Ball speed stage. As you can see, all four stages come into play on a shot like this.

Don’t trust your game to a “pool player.” Go to a professional teacher. Read books from those who have done the research and have the experience to help you. Studies have shown that the best teachers are at ages sixty-five and over. Take advantage of these wise instructors while they are still in the game. Experience is vital to teaching all phases of this complicated game.

Success is found in skill development. Knowledge applied is skill developed. You can acquire all the knowledge in the world but until you develop your skills you will never reach world class.

The Game of Three Ball

by: Bob Jewett

Bob Jewett

San Francisco Billiard Academy is a BCA Certified Master Academy. 

The academy offers: 

Private Instruction 

Basics Clinic 

Eight Ball Clinic 

Nine Ball Clinic 

Introduction to Billiard Instruction 

BCA Recognized Instructor Course 

BCA Certified Instructor Course



Three ball is a great game for group play. It is
fast action, pure offense, and suitable for small
stakes among players who are not perfectly
matched. Everyone has a chance to win even
if the better player will edge ahead in the long
run. The basic idea is for each player to break
and run three balls off the table in as few shots
as possible in any order and in any pocket. The
player who takes the fewest shots wins the pot.
If there is a tie for lowest score between any two
players, everyone antes again and gets another
turn until there is an untied best score in a
round. Any number may play, but four or more
is best. I’ve heard of 15 in a game.
There are many regional variations in the
detailed rules; I’ll try to cover the ones that
seem the most common. The standard rack
for the break is in a triangle as shown. Among
experienced players this rack is sometimes
considered too easy as the two back balls often
go along the route shown for the four ball —
four cushions around the table and back to its
home corner. I think this break is fine as long
as the players in the game rarely score a “two”
which would be like an eagle at golf, with four
strokes being par. Placing the three balls in line
for the “pro” break removes any really standard
Order is decided by any standard method, such
a pulling peas from a shake bottle. Since the
order is important towards the end of a round,
I favor having whoever shoots last in a round
shoot first in the next round. If you foul, it
is a one-stroke penalty, and any ball made on
the foul shot spots back up. That pretty much
guarantees you won’t win that round.
The recommended break is hard, nearly straight
at the head ball and from the center of the table.
Try to control the cue ball to bring it back to
the middle. This break gives the best chance to
make the two four-railers on the corner balls.
An alternative suggested in an on-line forum
looks a lot like a one-pocket break: shoot softly
from the side and just clip the head ball. That
repositions the farthest ball a little which is then
struck by the third ball and it is redirected to the
pocket. Even if the ball doesn’t go in, you should
have at least one good shot after the break.
If a player has no chance to tie — he has already
taken 4 strokes with 2 balls still up and a 4 has
already been scored — he should concede and
the next player will start. This helps a lot on
coin-op tables where balls in play are precious.
If you shoot last in the round, modify your
strategy accordingly. For example, if the best
score so far is a tie at four strokes, you have to
go all-out for a three, even if that means playing
a fourcushion carom or a 5-foot combination. If
you don’t get all the balls moving on your third
shot, there is no way to score a 3. On the other
hand, if there is a single score of four leading
and you shoot last, the other players are likely
to expect you to take a “conservative” four to tie
and get everyone into the next round.
For other variations, check out the article in
Wikipedia, which includes a 3-ball tourney