What level of players do you work with?
I work with players from intermediate to advanced.
When this started I believed I could be of best help to higher level players. This is because there is generally a diminishing curve with pool improvement. In the beginning you can improve day by day. As an intermediate player it can still be relatively straight forward to continue to grow but the effort required can become daunting. As you develop in skill it can become increasingly difficult to keep making progress and very easy to stall out. After a period of time goes by without any major breakthroughs you can find yourself thinking you’ve reached your personal limit. This is where I find I can be of the most help to stronger players. Helping players maintain a positive trajectory.
I have since discovered I can be of great benefit to intermediate players. While it is true they may not have hit a rigid plateau, I have found they are often somewhat in the dark on the best road forward. Most players are trying to assemble a puzzle without having ever seen the picture on the cover and missing a handful of pieces. Maybe they’ve seen the world’s best on their computer screen but they struggle to interpret how to duplicate that in practice. Their daily pool experience consists of league players and Valley bar tables. It can be hard to understand how to bridge the gap. I can help identify and prioritize the areas they need to improve, demonstrate those skills and work on them side by side. For those who don’t get to compete against the world’s best this can be a truly eye opening experience that changes their vision of how pool should look and how to pursue it effectively.
Why a three day boot camp?
I chose the three day format because this is where I’ve had some of my biggest personal breakthroughs. Every couple of years my best friend and I went offline for three days to woodshed up and just practice pool. The concentration required to be a top player is something that can’t be taught in a class, it has to be experienced at the table. Getting away from it all and allowing pool to encompass your entire world for a while allows amazing shifts to occur. You can reach levels of focus and get connected to the table in new ways, and those insights and discoveries last back in civilian life.
Additionally, some changes take a while to implement and it is hard to do without objective feedback. There is nothing worse than having a student take something and misapply it on their own until it becomes a bad habit or creates more harm than good. By drilling side by side I can help make sure any changes are positive and integrated permanently into their game. Lessons point the way, boot camp allows me to serve as a guide along the path. Participants will walk away with a new road forward and an elevated benchmark of what they can put in to pool in terms of effort and intensity.
Best of all, for a pool nut spending three days working on pool is pure bliss. Improvement is paramount, but these are experiences that will rekindle your love of pool and remain in your memory as the experience of a lifetime!
What is a typical boot camp like? What will we be doing?
I pick you up at the airport. We get to know each other a bit on the drive back to my place. Upon arrival you can settle in and make sure you are comfortable with the arrangements including food and beverage. Then we get to work.
I start with an assessment. I watch you hit some balls. We have already spoken a bit by phone about your game and you’ve shared your own ideas of where you are strong and where you want to improve. But I will also bring new things to light, things you didn’t know were missing. I use the following chart to help specify where we want to work:
I prioritize on what will help your game improve the most, both immediately and also in the months ahead. You always have the opportunity to adjust the agenda, but to this point I have an uncanny track record of putting a winning game plan together and my students generally feel I know their game better than they do.
Now that we have a plan we can dive into the action. Different exercises depending on what’s on our list. Technique. Cue ball control. Pattern play. Safeties and endgames. Whatever is missing from your game. Not what you’d find in a pool book, but rather fleshing out advanced concepts that are holding you back. Some might be a specific shot. Some might be a specific drill. Others might be working through arranged layouts. I give you a notebook filled with pool diagrams and sheet protectors so you can document what you’ve worked on and breakthroughs as they come.
Typically each exercise takes around 60 minutes give or take. It’s nice that we’re not rushed so we can spend the time needed to absorb the material. In between exercises we take very short breaks, sometimes just a minute or two to sit down and recap what we learned and prep for our next burst of activity. I make sure to alternate between topics that are mentally demanding and those that are more about repetition, so our brains and our bodies have time to recuperate. We must pace ourselves! Every couple of hours I go back to the diagnostic chart to ensure that the work we’ve done is aligned with the priorities we’ve laid out and we are satisfied with the progress. If adjustments to the plan are needed we discuss and implement them. We have a lot of time, but we want to extract the maximum from every hour.
Meal breaks are a good time to refresh, hang out, and usually watch a little pool on the TV. Sometimes this can be a learning opportunity, often it is just a needed break and some fun. Then it’s back to the table. We continue to work together and the excitement with progress more than combats any thought of fatigue. By the end of the first day you are seeing the game in a way you’ve never seen it before, and have done things on the table you’ve never done before! The work is done for the day, now what should we do? Oh, look, a pool table, maybe just a few friendly games. I try to play well and demonstrate professional focus as well as hoping you’ll see how I use the tools I taught to put together an effective game. Finally the clock insists that we call it a night.
Best of all, this is just day one. You will go to dreaming of what we worked on and looking forward to an even longer day tomorrow…
How do you compare to other instructors or courses?
I am a player first and approach things from that perspective. I love pool and the study of pool but there is a big difference between knowledge and execution. Many players know a lot of theory but have trouble putting it into practice. This can be a challenge for those who demand the answer to their pool obstacles come in the form of new information, but when they open to doing what works amazing things are possible.
Results are the bottom line. If knowledge plays a role in those results, great, I know this game inside and out. But I’m very practical. Sometimes the things holding us back aren’t fixed the way we would like. Superficially it isn’t much fun to put in hours of hard work on techniques we struggle with, which is why this is called boot camp. The mood quickly changes once you start smoothing through layouts that would’ve stopped you the week before, and as you connect the input with the output the hard work becomes a lot more invigorating!
Do you do any follow up after the boot camp?
Each student means a lot to me professionally and personally. For this reason I budget time to allow three follow up calls for ongoing conversations in the weeks and months that follow.
I learned a lot about pool from some mentors that took me on the road and shared their knowledge with me. Much of this was discussing specific situations on the table, but even more had to do with general outlook and mental game. Those are things not best demonstrated in a classroom. For one thing, it’s hard for someone to fly across the country and then just talk, you could do that on the phone. For another, many of those things are more meaningful as they come up. Instead of giving a generic lecture on all types of mental game talking points, I’d rather talk to a student who’s back in battle and has called me because they are nervous about a match or discouraged with their results. Now we have a specific challenge and I can help them with it ‘off the clock’. I also do things like pattern reviews and other follow ups down the road to provide feedback as students are continuing their work on their own.
What is your availability?
I can be very flexible given reasonable notice. If you are interested in scheduling or have any additional questions please send me an email at email@example.com or call me at 612-747-9210.