My end-all goal, as of now, is to be able to win a local tournament. This will not happen this year, but it’s where I’m aiming for now. Start small. I haven’t picked out a tournament to win because there really aren’t any tournaments in this area – at least none that are played on the 9′ tables.
One of my goals this year is to improve my ranking from 4 to 6, on the scale my local hall uses, which is “Missouri 8-Ball” league rankings, if I remember correctly. The scale goes from 2 through 9. 2 being an absolute beginner, no position play, poor mechanics; 9 being an A or AA player – likely to run several racks in a row. In my first tournament (fail), they gave me a rating of 4. They were considering giving me a 5, I think because of how interested I am and how often I ask questions and seek information; I’m glad they only gave me a 4 though – it was the right call. I feel like I should be a 4 or 5 now. I feel like I have improved over the last 2 months and I hope to be able to show that somehow.
I don’t know what’s really expected of a 6-rated player – but I do know they are expected to be able to run a rack with a good layout, play good position, have good knowledge of safety play. I feel like I have that ability – on a really good day. I know the ability is there, I’ve done it – but it’s not consistent; and that’s what separates the top players from the others.
Another goal is that I want to seek out other good players in the area and play with them, learn from them and hopefully help each other with practice; be it drills or position play or safety play or just general stroke training. I have a pretty strong feeling that if I had a solid practice partner, things would progress a little quicker. I like playing Morris cuz he’s a pretty good player, but I dont think he seeks out information and he never practices – always plays other people. That’s good practice too, but sometimes you just need time to work on a shot.
My last goal is that I want to work towards running a rack successfully at least once a week. I play often enough, albeit in small amounts, that I think this is feasible. I’m learning new patterns all the time, it seems, and there’s no reason I can’t run 7-9 balls, provided the layout is decent. The key to doing this, in my opinion, is entirely based upon speed control and the subtleties of english. Speed control moreso than english, I think. I have to be able to reliably get the cueball 2, 1.5, 1, 1/2, 1/4 table-length after contact – and depending on the fullness of the contact adjust to account for the loss of speed. Every table is different, but there are general guidelines. On a slow table what is 1 table length might be 1.25 on a fast table so while I’d overrun it, it should be simple enough to account for the difference after only a few shots.