I’ve been playing a lot of one-pocket recently.  It’s a very trying game. I even read a book on one-pocket, Upscale One Pocket by Jack Koehler over the holiday weekend.  It was a decent book and explained a few strategies and situational to-do’s. I would recommend it to anyone starting the game. I’m not sure any book can give me what I need to progress at the game though… time and practice.  Practice for cue-ball control.  Time to play the game try out shots, take risks in both offensive and defensive moves. Learn which strategies work better for me and my style of play.

Most of the time, I play fairly decently.  I feel pretty confident when I need to clear out the opponent’s pocket of a few balls, using caroms and banks, while still getting the CB safe (or close to it).  When I play someone my speed or below, I – as I should – win pretty regularly.  I’ve gotten to the point where I can spot some other kids 9-7 or 10-6 and still get out.  but that’s mostly because they make a lot of mistakes with controling the cue ball.  Similarly, when I play someone better than me, I get 9-7 or 10-6 from them, and as expected, when I make a mistake, then run 4 or 5 balls.  When they make a mistake, I might get one or two balls.

I miss a lot of shots I shouldn’t.  Well, I miss a lot banks I shouldn’t. Even more to the point, I miss a lot of cross-banks I dont think I should miss. In accordance with this, I’ve just purchased Dr. Dave’s Video Encyclopedia of Pool Shots (VEPS) – Discs 4 and 5 specifically.  I will get the first 3 soon, but the banking is at the top of my brain right now.  I definitely want all of them.  All of the previews I’ve seen prove to be insightful across all of the discs.  I’m excited to get them and see what sort of gems I can pick out.

I’ll end this on a positive note.  Last night, I was playing scotch-doubles 1P and I was playing horribly.  My partner was a guy that gives me 10-6; and we were playing some guys that were pretty close. I play one of them even and the other I’d probably play 10-8 or 9-7.  Anyway, we had been winning the last few racks, but this rack was just atrocious. We couldn’t make a ball, I fouled twice and they had all the balls on their side.  At the worst point, they needed 2 and we needed 10 (we owed 2, thanks to a scratch and a no-rail shot by me).  I was begging for them to just end it so we can get on with the next one.  I went to the bathroom and washed my hands, splashed my face, tried to cool off since I was getting really angry.  I had a smoke and just did some breathing work in the chair. (no comments about contradictions :p) We finally get a ball… then two.  I play some decent safeties and clearing shots.  We get a few more, they scratch twice, now they need 4 and we need 4.  We slowly, but surely, inch our way back into the game to the point where we each need 2.  I make 2 full table back-cut banks, but scratch on one – so, back to 2.  They get out of line, leaving some good shots on our side, and we get out.  It was a hell of a comeback!  After that, I was pretty calm and mostly confident all night. 🙂

It’s hard to just walk in off the street without hitting a ball and getting straight into a 1P match, for me at least.  I need to hit some balls to get some form of ‘in stroke’ going on before playing seriously – or semi-seriously as this was all for bragging rights only.  Must find a way to get in-stroke quicker.