Ask the Viper

Melissa Little

Melissa “The Viper” Little has been a WPBA Touring Professional for over 10-years, she has represented the USA in Four WPA World Championships and has over 20 top-10 WPBA career finishes. Melissa is currently the house-pro at the Wynkoop Brewing Company located in Downtown Denver. She teaches monthly clinics, gives private lessons, and has created a juniors program that promotes billiards education to the local youth. For more information about Melissa please visit: www.melissalittle.com 

 

Question: 

“What are the differences between professionals and amateurs? And what is the process of becoming a professional?

— Daniel D. from Denver, CO

Answer: 

The differences between the professionals and the amateurs are that the pros establish a world ranking through either the Women’s Professional Billiards Association (WPBA) or the World Pool Association (WPA). The WPA is the governing body for pool and asks organizations such as the WPBA & BCA for their top ranked woman/men players to participate in tournaments such as the World Championships. I have been honored to represent the USA/WPBA and participate in 6 world championships.

How to become a professional? Over the years the formats have evolved, but currently the WPBA has created nine regional tours across the USA. The top players from each tour receive special invites to participate in the yearly Regional Tour Championships and the top finishers from that event get spots onto the WPBA for the following calendar year.

The WPBA awards points for participation on tour and at the end of the year if you have calculated enough points to be ranked into the top-32 then you become a touring professional plus get an invite to play the following year. At the end of the classic tour year if you’re ranked below the top-32 then you must re-qualify through the regional tours system.

Another venture is to compete in individual WPBA qualifiers. This is where all amateur players are welcome to participate in a tournament in which the winner receives a paid spot into a WPBA event. For more information I suggest visiting www.wpba.com or www.wpa-pool.com.

The men are basically the same, open to all independent events such as the Men’s US Open, Turning Stone, and the Steve Mizerak Championships award points towards the BCA men’s world rankings. Then the top men are invited to participate in events such as the World championships and additional international events. Also, the Mosconi Cup US team is collaborated of the top finishers of the BCA points list. For more information on this visit www.bca-pool.com

Best of luck to you, Viper

If you have a question for “The Viper” please e-mail them to Melissa Little at Melissa@melissalittle.com

Ask The Viper?

“What’s the best advice you could give to an up and coming player?”

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1.Practice

Practice, practice, and practice! Don’t just hit balls around the pool table, have meaningful workouts. I practice at least 4-5 days per week by myself or with friends and then play in at least two open tournaments per week. Before WPBA events I start practicing three weeks out for about 5 ••• hours per day, 6 days per week. A few days before I leave for a big tournament I rest. Preparation brings bliss.

2. Set Goals

Be goal oriented. In everyday practice you should set small goals and taking each ball seriously. Then, set larger goals like winning a certain amount of matches at a local tournament. Participate in more challenging events down the road. Set your standards high so you can push yourself to the limits. If you fall short on a particular goal, you can always resort back to your short-term goals.

3. Don’t forget: You are an athlete

Remember pool is just not a game but a sport, you should be reading books about other sports and converting the information back into pool, be aware of your eating patterns, get plenty of rest, hire a coach to help you get on track, get tips from other players, practice with better players, always have fun playing pool, and If you start feeling bored or unmotivated then its time to take a break.

If you have a question for “The Viper” please email them to otbnews@aol.com