The Ultimate, Complete One Pocket Primer Get Up to Speed Quickly on this Chess-Like Strategic Game

One Pocket is not typically a game people play early in their pool careers, so when they come to it they already have a knowledge of the pool basics; fundamentals, pocketing skills, position play and the like.

I’m going to assume that you too are like this, new to the game but not to pool. That you’re looking for a solid grounding with some of the most important one pocket skills without rehashing what you already know.

5 Main Focus Points

Defense, Defense, Defense

Never leave an open shot for your opponent if you can at all help it. Cue ball control over everything else.

Make Your Opponent Play Defense

If he is always shooting at his hole and you are always playing defense, who do you think is the favorite to win. You must regain control by moving a ball close to your hole when playing safe to turn the tables. And this is a great lead-in to our next focus point:

Do more than 1 thing every shot

Don’t just play safe, play lock-up

Learn to love torturing your opponent

5 Critical Skill Areas

Short Rail Banking

Caroming the Cue Ball to a Target

Seeing Balls in the Rack

Running Balls

Cross-Over Banks

5 Highly Valuable Drills to Up Your Game

Inside english banks
Speed Control (rolling cue ball to opponents side rail)
Drawing under another ball
Avoiding collisions when running

5 Things to Avoid

Leaving a ball in your opponent’s pocket

Focusing only on the CB or OB

Poor Offense/Defense Tradeoffs You don’t want to take a shot that leads nowhere if missing it could lead to a big opportunity for your opponent.

Double Kisses

The Big Mistake One example, breaking open the cluster because the balls will probably move toward your hole.

5 Sources for More Info on One Pocket

5 Great One Pocket Videos to Learn From

5 Most Common Noobie Mistakes

Maximize Your Ability to Learn from Feedback

In order to become better at an accelerated pace, you’ll want to learn to relish feedback. Though you are the navigator of your journey to higher skills, having a map and getting directions are very useful. Especially from people who been where you’re going; it increases the trust factor. Remember: you don’t know what you don’t know. That is, you may not realize there are things you need to learn, or that you’re not working on things in the right order. People watching you have a different perspective than you do when watching yourself.  You may not be doing something the way you think you are.

Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things” Winston Churchill.

Below are listed 10 ways you can improve your ability to benefit from the feedback and criticism you’ll inevitably hear. When you’ve mastered these, it’ll be time to encourage others to provide more, but until you can make good use of it, why bother.

Attitude is Everything

Assume Positive Intent  Don’t get in a huff about an offer of advice or information. Don’t question the competence or the motives of the speaker. Instead, try a calmer, more receptive approach to feedback. Listen attentively; focus on what is actually said. Is it correct? Could it have value? Can you test it? Why does the person believe it applies to you?

Stay positive  Even criticism meant to sting is often true, to some degree. Learn to focus on the free education

Let yourself be wrong  Stay calm – don’t get defensive – don’t take it personally. Take a deep breath or count to 10 before responding

Be open to learning  Some people need to know you’re open to learning if you want them to share. There’s a lot of knowledge out there, and many willing to share. They won’t share with you, though, if you aren’t receptive.

Use your thick skin to avoid pain, not to deflect substance Be honest with yourself, you don’t know everything, right? So why should the fact that you’re ignorant of one particular thing be a surprise? And if it isn’t a surprise, why is it painful?

Stay Humble  Stay grounded, keep your ego in check. Learning to enjoy and appreciate but quickly forget praise, because it doesn’t help you get better, can help you appreciate criticism because it can help you get better

It’s the Message, not the Messenger  Valuable info is valuable info irrespective of who it comes from.

Listen to the Content, not the Tone  Sometimes the person giving you feedback doesn’t have the best of motives. Perhaps they just want to feel good by proving that they knew something you didn’t. So what! if they do know something you don’t, make sure you do know it before the conversation ends.

Ask questions  Strive to learn more by understanding exactly and all of what is meant. Sometimes the most valuable piece of info they have isn’t in the 1st comment

Uncover blind spots – break bad habits  Use the feedback to uncover defects/weaknesses you didn’t know you had. You can fix/improve them now, rejoice.

See feedback/criticism as a challenge to become better  If the person didn’t care they wouldn’t risk hurting your feelings to tell you.

Outside Motivation  Think of it as the swift kick in the butt you need to progress, to rise to the next level, to break out of your rut. It’s like a cold shower or a reset button.

 

Smile

Be Curious – Dig deeper  Ask questions, explore their ideas until you get all they have to offer. Take feedback in the way it was intended and accept their feedback seriously. Show that you appreciate their effort and you may get to hear about an even more valuable nugget.

Say Thanks, and mean it  And later on, after you’ve made an improvement, thank them again.

Criticism is something we can avoid easily by saying nothing, doing nothing and being nothing” – Aristotle

Stay positive  Even criticism meant to sting is often true, to some degree. Learn to focus on the free education

Be prepared for the pain  Criticism hurts our feelings and using all the above doesn’t take away the burn. But you can learn to mitigate/moderate it. Gain from the experience, and appreciate the courage of the provider, who thought enough of you to bother.

Learn to separate the wheat from the chaff, but not until you’ve given it a fair hearing. If it’s chaff, don’t feel bad about

Take Action Afterward

You have to act on what you learn, or it doesn’t do you any good. Reading books, watching videos and/or taking lessons don’t do much good unless you practice them enough to make them a part of your game.

Make a Note of What You Learned  Add it to your list of things you learned from your matches. You keep a list, right?

Make Time to Practice  Take a few minutes to work on one area of weakness each time you come to the table.

discarding it.

Be the better person.

LWL’s Ultimate Primer to the Game of Straight Pool For Experienced Players Who are New to the Game

Many of you are new to the game of straight pool, even though you are experienced players of other games. This primer will help you with all you need to know to come up to speed on straight pool quickly. With a little effort, not just reading this but practicing it, you can make this game one of your strengths.

There’s plenty here to keep you busy, but you won’t be a noob at 14.1 when you’re done. BTW, 14.1 is another name for straight pool, named that way because of the way the 14 object balls are reracked when there’s 1 object ball left on the table.

The 5 Main Focus Areas

Offense: Straight pool is an offensive game. Running balls is what it’s all about.

Position: Better players make the game look easy. They shoot one easy shot after another and put the CB in position for the next easy shot. Pinpoint cue ball control, especially over short distances is a requirement.

Flexibility: Don’t be afraid to change your plan as you progress. Just make sure you have a map to a good break shot.

Patterns: Straight pool is a game of patterns, and some are much better than others.

Key Ball: Plan your patterns, i.e., the order in which you shoot the balls, to leave a good break shot to get into the next rack. The best way to do that is to leave a key ball and a key ball to the key ball to get on the break ball.

5 Simple Strategic Moves You Must Know

Intentional foul if opponent is on more fouls than you

Sometimes, leaving the cue ball in the rack is the best option

Calling safe and making a ball

 

5 Critical Skills that Win Games

Half table game in crowded conditions. Being able to shoot over a ball while maintaining a steady bridge is essential.

Inside english

Speed control

Draw control

Recognizing dead balls in the pack

Breaking up clusters

Recognizing when your run is coming to an end before it does, so you can play a great safety.

5 Standard Safeties Your Opponent Will Know

Opening break

Into one of the top two balls of a 14 ball rack

Into the side of the rack

Skimming the pack and going down table

Into the back of the rack

Skimming of the back of the rack

The 5 Best Break Shots

Side of the rack

OB next to the side

Behind the rack

OB into the side from near the rack

OB near a foot corner

5 Extraordinarily Valuable Practice Drills

The L Drill

Target pool with OB off bottom rail, 5 balls across foot line. Learn to go through the holes

Make a ball in the side and hit balls at every spot around the bottom of the table

Get on a side of the rack break ball after making a ball in a foot end corner

The Short Game by Kinister

Balls at every spot intersection in foot area, make all w/o hitting another ball, then w/o hitting another ball or rail.

Rules of Thumb to Keep You Out of Trouble

Don’t get stuck at the bottom rail

In straight pool, most of the balls most of the time are in the bottom half of the table. With the cue ball on or near the bottom rail, for most shots you’re shooting up-table, meaning either a long shot, a thin back cut int a corner, or a very tight angle into the side.

Clear blocking balls early

Sometime one ball can block several others from having a clear route to a pocket. As you plan your pattern, take these balls out early to free up all the others.

Keep your cue ball in the middle of the table

From there, no shot is very long and the angles will all be reasonable.

Play 3 shots ahead, like in 9 ball

With so many balls on the table it’s easy to get lax about position. Don’t! It’s critically important that you move the cue ball around so you’ll have a series of easy shot if you ever want to run many balls. Not thinking ahead to that third ball will get you in trouble quickly.

Play Dead Balls with Care

When shooting a dead ball, be sure to hit the target ball on the correct side and with the right amount of force. Remember, throw is maximized with a soft half ball hit. Dirty balls will throw more than clean ones. And for heaven’s sake, always know where the cue ball is going to go before you pull the trigger. Don’t get so excited about an easy break out that you wind up stuck.

Side Pockets are Your Friends

Straight pool is a half table game. When played well more than 90% of the balls are pocketed in the side pockets or the bottom corners.  Learn to get comfortable with shooting in the sides and remember to include them prominently in your thought process when creating your patterns.

Have a Good Key Ball

When planning which ball to use to break with (the break ball or BB), think of the best ball to make right before the BB which makes getting good position on the BB easy.  This is the key ball (KB).  Having a good KB and BB combination will make it much easier to go from one rack into another.

5 Videos to Pull it All Together

The four straight pool videos that follow provide basic knowledge that even experienced players of other games may not have.

How to Keep Score in Straight Pool (2 min)

The how to keep score video will explain what those thumbwheel counters you’ve seen on all but Diamond tables are actually for and how to use them.

Pat Fleming on Straight Pool Break Shots (10 min)

Pat Fleming is a terrific player and founder of Accu-Stats videos.  He walks you through all of the classic break shots and provides tips on how best to execute them. This video is an excerpt from his DVD The Creative Edge.

The Kurtz Drill (6 min)

Now that you know how to make those break shots, you need to know how to get on them. Here’s a terrific little video by David Sapolis on how to create key balls in the center of the table. I know most people think drills are boring, but they can really help.

Danny Diliberto 14.1 Lesson (2 hr 18 min)

Quirks in the Straight Pool Rules

Lone Wolf Leagues uses the World Pool-Billiard Association Straight Pool Rules. Disputes about the rules are infrequent, but they do happen. It’s good to know where to go to resolve them.

Knowing the rules makes the game more fun and can keep you from making a mistake that could cost you a win. I suggest you make a particular effort to read and understand the rules around the following situations. They are different from those of any other game you are likely familiar with:

Opening Break

Choose who breaks by lagging or flipping a coin. With the cue ball behind the headstring, the breaker must strike the pack with the cue ball and drive it and 2 object balls to a rail. If this is not done successfully there is a 2 point foul. Also, the opponent gets to choose to take the table as it lies and take his turn or he can make the breaker rerack and rebreak facing the same rules as when he broke the first time. This  does not count toward the 3 foul rule.

If the original breaker were to scratch on the break which was otherwise successful, he is assessed a normal 1 point foul. This does count toward the 3 foul rule.

3 Foul Rule

If a player fouls on 3 consecutive shots, he is further assessed a serious foul which is a 15 point penalty. Thus, the 3 fouls cost a total of 18 points. The opponent must remind the shooter before his third turn that he is “on two fouls”. If he fails to do this reminding, and the shooter fouls again, he is not assessed the serious foul and is still considered to be on two fouls.

Special Racking Situations

When either the cue ball or the 15th object ball, i.e., the one not being racked, interferes with the racking of the 14 balls, it is a special situation. Depending on the exact situation you need to do one of the following:

********* Table of Options goes here *********

Miscellaneous

Jumping is allowed, but only if you hit down into the cue ball; no scooping allowed. This is the same as in other games. In the real world, though, you’ll almost never see this happen. Rarely you might choose to jump into the rack when you’ve not gotten enough angle on your break shot.

If you make the ball you’re trying to make, then any other balls that go in are yours.  If not, any other balls going in get spotted.

 

Straight Pool Info for Players New to the Game

The four straight pool videos that follow provide basic knowledge that even experienced players of other games may not have.

How to Keep Score in Straight Pool (2 min)

The how to keep score video will explain what those thumbwheel counters you’ve seen on all but Diamond tables are actually for and how to use them.

Pat Fleming on Straight Pool Break Shots (10 min)

Pat Fleming is a terrific player and founder of Accu-Stats videos.  He walks you through all of the classic break shots and provides tips on how best to execute them. This video is an excerpt from his DVD The Creative Edge.

The Kurtz Drill (6 min)

Now that you know how to make those break shots, you need to know how to get on them. Here’s a terrific little video by David Sapolis on how to create key balls in the center of the table. I know most people think drills are boring, but they can really help.

Danny Diliberto 14.1 Lesson (2 hr 18 min)

Danny Diliberto gives a 2+ hour lesson in straight pool that you can learn as much from as his student does.

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