Learn how to play billiards when A Certified Billiards Instructor spills his guts about How to Play Pool to the Best of Your Ability.
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A few months back, I took a trip to Concord New Hampshire where I studied the game of billiards with a master billiards instructor by the name Ken Tewksbury.
I met Ken through email after he enrolled in my online fundamental course which is provided free through my website.
If you are reading this, you most likely have taken or are currently taking the course.
I took this trip so I could study with Ken and become a certified billiards instructor. I walked away from Kens school with a whole new attitude and sense of excitement for the game. I did walk away a certified billiards instructor. You will find the certificates at the bottom of this page.
Working with Ken gave me some new insight and I learned a few things which I intend to share with you that should have you addicted to the game even more than you already are.
I studied the fundamentals of the game 22 years ago when a gentleman here in my home town (We all call him Fast Eddie. His name is Eddie.) suggested that I read some books about billiards.
I read Willie Mosconi's book, Robert Byrnes had a couple books out and I even read the Minnesota Fats book. I even studied the 99 critical shots in pool.
I learned the fundamentals and have always done my best to stick with them and continue learning over the past 22 years.
In the mid 90's I bought a couple videos which were training drills produced by Bert Kennister. There was a nice review on the fundamentals and I remember changing my stance in my quest to learn how to play billiards, after studying this material.
After studying Berts material and practicing daily for several months, I realized that I had truly learned how to play billiards. I quickly became a 700 plus shooter and a contender in local leagues and tournaments.
I learned a few things in New Hampshire which caused me to make some major changes with my stroke and I have prepared a video to explain these changes. I am going to type them out here in case you learn better from reading. You can scroll down and watch the video if you learn better from watching and listening.
My friend Ken in New Hampshire knows how to play billiards. He ran many racks while I was practicing my new stroke. I think he enjoyed the class. I know that I did.
The sequence of this new method of stroking is Set, Pause and Finish.
1. The distance from my bridge hand to the cue ball has been extended to almost a foot. I used to bridge about four or 5 inches back and I felt like this was the best control. I found that with the other changes which I am about to explain, the long bridge is as natural as can be and somewhat liberating.
2. I no longer hold the cue a few inches behind the balance point. I hold the cue much farther back, almost at the butt. Ken explained and showed me that for my size, I am shooting 4 inches ahead of my stroke when holding the cue closer to the middle. This has been an easy adjustment and again it's kind of liberating.
3. I hold my cue with my thumb and pointing finger only. I was holding the cue with thumb and all fingers lightly. The training with Ken proved that this limits the action of your wrist and the 2 finger grip is very effective with practice. I do find myself reverting back to the 4 finger grip at times. I have to consciously remember to hold the cue with thumb and one finger.
4. I now am working on a significant pause on my back swing right before delivering the stroke. This has been the hardest part to change. I used to count my strokes and shoot on the fifth swing. This would get me in the rhythm of my intended hit. It's weird to say the least, stopping my stroke right before contacting the cue ball. I am continually working on this and it's becoming more natural. The first time I tried it was ugly. lol
I had to start with a pause on my forward stroke and then pull back and shoot. The second day in New Hampshire I was able to pause on the back swing and put a few balls together. I have been practicing this new method now for a few months and I'm more excited about my game and helping you with your game than ever before.
My friends tell me sometimes that I didn't pause when it feels like I did to me. I notice watching video of my game that I forget the pause sometimes. It's hard to change after many years of habit. I have been running quite a few racks and winning most of my league games however.
My 7 year old has been working on the change as well. Sometimes when I tell him he forgot to pause, he yells well I thought I paused. I know the feeling. lol
5. After the pause, you finish your stroke with a straight through shot in one motion. With a little practice, I'm sure you will become a custom to this method and grow to like it as I have.
Check out the video below for an in depth look at the changes that I have made on how to play pool to the best of your ability utilizing the fundamentals of billiards. You will find a second video on the bottom of the page.
The benefits of the Set Pause and Finish method is that it will help you learn how to play billiards like the pros.
Shortly before the new Hampshire trip, I played in a tournament inn Great Falls MT. Shane Van Boening cruised through the tournament taking first place. I watched Shane play at least 6 matches and I can tell you that he knows how to play billiards. The interesting thing is that while watching him, I noticed that he had a long bridge distance, he held the cue close to the butt and he pauses on the back swing before finishing strong.
I have been watching Allison Fisher play live and on television over the years. She also as a noticeable pause on the back swing. Alison does not hold her cue as far back, but she is not a large framed person. I can say however that the statement, Allison does know how to play billiards, is an understatement.
Please feel free to contact me through the contact page on this site for questions or comments. With some concentration and practice, I'm sure you will learn how to play billiards as well.