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.

Team Support – Kickoff to League Season

Team Support – Kickoff to League Season

© 2010 Mike Fieldhammer, BilliardCoach.com

Mike Fieldhammer

Some players participate in pool leagues all summer, but for many September signals the return to playing weekly with a team. Here is the first article in a series about playing on a team and making the experience a productive, enjoyable, and rewarding pursuit.

Team Support. The sum can be greater than its parts.

My most recent memorable experience is winning the BCAPL National Team tournament in Las Vegas in May. The five man squad sardonically named “Who Needs a Billiard Coach?!” fought through a field of 674 teams to take the top prize of $11,000. The whole event was an exhilarating ride for me, propelled by the support of my team:  Brian Haffner, Jared Bailey, Dustin Morris, and Jesse Engel.

Team chemistry is a phrase that is tossed around, but is just one piece of having a successful team. Chemistry implies that there may be many elements blended into a concoction of a cohesive team.  Perhaps one of the most important elements is the support of one’s teammates.

Our team was successful in believing in each other and affirming each action our teammates made. Examples of this blind trust are as follows. For example, if Dustin played an unsuccessful combination shot in an effort to continue his run instead of shooting a solo ball in a different pocket, Jesse said, “Good try, you’ll get another shot this game. Your opponent isn’t getting out here.” We never took issue with a shot or a decision made by a teammate. Or if Brian missed a jump shot instead of kicking the ball which would have been my choice, I didn’t say “Why didn’t you kick at it?” Placing a seed of doubt in his head or shaking his confidence could be the beginnings of a skid in his and the team’s performance.

(A photo collage I framed and presented to each teammate)

Players on our team tried to sweat other teammates matches whenever possible. Caring enough to watch and root them on is an obvious sign of support. Even during a team match, I could hear Jared’s voice say, “Good shot Fieldhammer!” and it would further my resolve to win that game knowing he was spurring me on. Players on our winning team are selfless. We cared about our own performance only as it related to the team goal of winning matches. Never was heard, “Well, I got mine” when a player came to sit down after winning a game.

At its best, unconditional support for one’s teammates can be a catalyst to launching the team to heights unattainable by the five as individuals. Each of the five players on the team made sacrifices for the sake of the team. The team goal that we all had in mind became a truly satisfying achievement that became much sweeter because we shared it with teammates who gave and received support.

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.