This is the first edition of PoolSynergy, A Monthly Collection of the Best Writing on Pool! We’ve got 9 great posts from many of the brightest, most interesting minds writing about pool. Every month we’ll treat you to a plethora of articles loosely tied to a common theme within the world of pool and billiards. We host PoolSynergy on a different blog each month but always publish on the 15th. It’s always worth your time to find it.
Enough about that, though. Let’s get to it! This month our theme is “Strategy”, and we’ve hit it from all angles. To start out, we have Samm Diep, well known for her video interviews of the brightest lights in the pool world for InsidePOOL Magazine; running her own business at Samm’s Side Pocket Productions; writing a steady stream of posts for her blog The Tip Jar, and playing in more tournaments now that she’s sponsored by Tiger. Her article, Corner vs. Side talks about how she improved her game when she took another look at using the side pockets instead of the corners and started to play position for them when appropriate.
Approaching the topic of strategy from a different perspective, Mike Fieldhammer, a BCA Certified Instructor, is the publisher of Billiard Coach, and Billiard Coach Forums, challenges conventional wisdom in Strategy: Should it Change Based on Your Opponent? Mike’s piece shows you how to gain an advantage at the table and win more often by taking your opponent’s abilities and style into account. Don’t be afraid to take advantage of a weakness. Remember: the meek shall inherit . . . the loser’s bracket!
Pocket Billiards Review, Joe Waldron’s site, is filled with insightful articles about the mental game as well as numerous instructional pieces. In Offensive Safeties in 8 Ball (works only in IE), Joe makes clear that safeties aren’t just defensive shots when you have nothing else, but can play a strong offensive role as well. This change in attitude toward the safety can have a profound effect on your game.
Also about strategy at the table, John Biddle’s article Thinking Your Way to More Pool Victories can help you raise your winning percentage. Learn to see and then execute shots that accomplish more than one thing at the same time. You’ll effectively give yourself a spot of an extra shot now and again. Think that could help your win percentage? You’re reading PoolSynergy on John’s Pool Student’s Blog.
“FastMikie” McCafferty’s wise and insightful post The Impossible Dream talks about the role pool plays in your life strategy. Do you want to be good? Do you want to be great? Are you up to the challenge and the trade-offs required? Mike writes at Diary of a Pool Shooter, the longest continually running blog about pool. It’s loaded with stories about his quest to improve his game, and what he’s learned from his instructor, Tony Sorto. Taking some of his own advice, FastMikie is off touring the country in his new RV and taking life easy. He has plenty of time to let his always creative mind run free and this post is one of the results.
Those of you who compete frequently, especially those of you who aren’t winning often, will particularly enjoy Gail Glazebrook’s post, The Deliberate Attack. She gets you to think “How will I beat you” and then gives you an approach to follow that works for her. And it isn’t just talk; Gail took her Kiss of Death team to the BCA National Tournament and they won the title! Gail’s blog is confessions of g squared.
Mark Finkelstein is a BCA Certified Instructor, instruction columnist at the hot new pool website NYC Grind and the house pro at Slate Billiards New York City. His piece, Assessing Ability … On the Road to Effective Strategy, helps you to take an objective look at your game, compare it to where you want to be, and formulate an approach and select the tools that will get you there.
Melinda ‘aka Trigger’ Bailey, in A Strategy to Manage the Mental Side of Your Game helps us to keep our head in the game from the very beginning and recognize issues that need attention before it’s too late. Melinda’s sage advice can help you avoid those dreaded post-competition phrases “If only I’d …” and “I wasn’t staying down” and “I should have …”. Melinda, who calls herself a wanna-be pool player, lives and blogs in Texas at Pool is a Journey.
Wrapping up this month’s edition, R. A. “Jake” Dyer, author of the wonderful book Hustler Days, has written Minnesota Fats: The Quiet Thrashing. This funny story is about how Minnesota Fats, at Johnson City, strategized brilliantly to win all the money from Richie Florence, a young player then considered one of America’s best. Jake Dyer regularly blogs at Untold Stories: Billiard History.
I hope you’re pleased with our first edition. If you are, make sure you tell all your friends and playing partners about it. If not, don’t hesitate to comment, or drop me a note via the Contact page with your ideas for improvement. You might suggest additional bloggers or writers, or new and interesting themes for future editions. You could volunteer to contribute or write a guest post. Feel free to submit any other ideas you have to improve on PoolSynergy. Let’s make it even better as we publish future editions. Thanks.