I finally got a chance to sit down and finish Zen Pool over the weekend. I wish I would’ve picked this book up a few months ago. In an earlier post I mentioned the video “How to play pool right” which is where I first learned about deflection; and while that was a big help, it would’ve been even better to have more of a diagram to study rather than a video. This is only one reason I would have wanted this book earlier.
The book starts off with a strong sequence of articles/chapters talking about the mental aspect of the game: how to spot when you are ‘in the zone’ and ways to push yourself there. All those sections were beneficial to me. The author talks about needing to trust your stroke and how hard it is to get to that point. How it’s important when you’re not playing well to fall back on your fundamentals to get through the tough times. However, his talk about fundamentals were vague – stance, stroke etc – were almost glossed over. He did mention other resources for more in-depth review of those specifics, but I was personally hoping for more pool-related information (so I wouldn’t have to go through multiple titles at once). I could have also foregone the recaps of matches he watched which seemed almost like filler material to get the book to the required number of pages for print. They are good examples (stories) of what he’s talking about – but they seemed a bit out of place; breaking the flow of information. It’s just my opinion though.
The book, I think, is a good book – especially for beginners and intermediates, but honestly anyone above intermediate probably won’t get too much out of it – unless they have no mental game (which is unlikely as they’ve progressed to that stage somehow). Still, I would recommend it for just about anyone, it’s very affordable and even if you already know everything, it’s an entertaining read. I’m sorry Max, but I don’t think it will awaken the master within by itself – but it will help nudge the master in the right direction.
The Karen Corr drill I posted about the other day… I got to try it yesterday – almost all variations posted among those 6 videos. Surprisingly, it didn’t seem quite as hard as I thought it would be. However – I also took advantage of the leniency given by the video. Still – it was not easy and it did shine a spotlight on the deflection issue. IMO, this is the best way to learn your own cue’s deflection rates. I learned more about how my cue deflects with different distances and speeds yesterday than I have for the 6 month’s I’ve owned this stick. I strongly recommend doing this.
If you can’t ride the rail past the side pocket then when you get position off the the 3rd ball, just shoot the last three in the other corner – it allows to try deflection on the other side of the ball – theoretically the same – but a good exercise nonetheless.
Side note: the wind chill is 5(f) today – and overnight it’ll drop to below zero. Guess I’ll have to start wrapping my cue case in a blanket to walk across the parking lot.