Pattern Play Puzzle

Pattern Play Puzzle:  Quick Improvement by Playing Smarter

© 2010 Mike Fieldhammer, BilliardCoach.com

Mike Fieldhammer

When I practice, I do it at home and usually alone. My routine on my 9 foot Diamond Pro Am with Simonis 860 cloth is mainly straight pool. I always encourage people to try adding some 14.1 into their training. The benefits are many-fold.

  • Learn to build runs of many balls
  • Learn the importance of finesse and fine position accuracy
  • Learn to minimize cue ball movement
  • Learn ultra focus on seemingly simple shots
  • Learn to pocket the object ball and trust the cue ball to take care of the rest of its job
  • Many more to be added here from reader suggestions

All of these things that can be worked on by practicing straight pool will build pattern knowledge that can be applied to any game. I see so many players who can pocket balls well and have a decent stroke get into all kinds of trouble by shooting the balls off in the wrong order.

What order would you shoot these balls off to leave yourself a good break shot for a chance to continue your run?  Examine the puzzle and leave your answer in the comment section of my blog at http://bit.ly/cW9JC2 and see what others have thought.

The balls from left to right are 4, 14, 7, 13, 1, 10, and 12.

Pattern Play Puzzle

Photo Caption:  Pattern Play Puzzle. (Link to larger photo online if necessary)

Learning pattern play through 14.1 practice can be priceless. It also happens to be a great game that challenges players of any ability.

Mike Fieldhammer
Professional Billiard Instructor
Samsara Player Representative

www.billiardcoach.com / 612.802.0519

Mike is a full time tournament player and professional billiard instructor.  He is available for private instruction or group clinics and events. Check out the new Billiard Coach Store:  Serious Gear for Serious Players. Gift certificates are available.

Coming From Behind

© 2010 Mike Fieldhammer, BilliardCoach.com

Mike Fieldhammer

Few endeavors have such highs and lows as tournament pool.  Emotional swings within a single match can rival the story arc of a season of ‘Desperate Housewives.’  How can a player cope with such mood and momentum swings and win matches and tournaments without losing one’s marbles?

It has been said that the first and last game are the hardest to win.  This is especially true when your opponent seems to be playing great as well as being the benefactor of some lucky rolls.  What is one to do?  Win a game at the earliest chance possible.  Try to take away one game and give yourself a starting block to hook your toes into.  What may seem like a small victory may wake up a monster.  You may have needed a nudge forward and this may turn into several game wins in a row should your opponent falter.

Turning the tide in a match that is going horribly can be easier said than done.  Sometimes a player must take a time out to regroup.  Wash your hands or get a cool drink.  Take a short break and return to the match with a fresh attitude and new resolve to play with hunger.  When you are stuck in a rut and the wheels are spinning, reorganize and bring new energy to the match to swing the momentum to your favor.

When pool matches are going smoothly, winning games can seem like an easy task.  When you aren’t striking the cue ball quite so accurately or your speed control is on the fritz, few things are as difficult as running out.  When pool gives you this much trouble just take one game at a time, then one inning at a time, then one shot at a time.  Bear down and focus on shooting just one shot to the best of your ability.  Make every trip to the table mean something.  Playing in the moment will vault you out of the quicksand with regularity.

Remember, when you are hopelessly behind, try to mount some kind of comeback, even if it is just a game or two so your opponent must really work for victory. This can have a couple of huge benefits.  He’ll not take victory for granted in your next match, be it on the B side or in a tournament months down the road.  Secondly, you have played a few games well and if the match were to start again from scratch, you may be the victor.  As a matter of fact, if this defeat was your first, you could bring that ‘grind-it-out’ attitude into your first match on the left side of the bracket and mount a charge to win the tournament the hard way.

Don’t roll over in a match when you are well behind in the score.  You may even come back and win the match!  Remember what Nick Varner has to say about the scores of his in-progress matches: “I never worry ‘bout the score until my opponent is on the hill”.  No wonder he’s always dangerous in a match.  He plays one game at a time and never gives up!

Mike Fieldhammer
Professional Billiard Instructor
www.billiardcoach.com / 612.802.0519

Mike is a full time tournament player and professional billiard instructor.  He is available for private instruction or group clinics and events. Check out the new Billiard Coach Store:  Serious Gear for Serious Players. Gift certificates are available.