Imagine, if you will, you are in a crowded bar or pool hall. You have had a perfect run on the table and you are about to go for the 8 ball off bank into the side pocket (or whatever shot suits you), you bend over, carefully lining up and relining up your shot. All of a sudden, a face looks down over the table at you and says “You should be able to do this with your eyes closed, don’t choke now!” and they walk off laughing. You try to reline up your shot again, you pull back your cue only to have someone walks up behind you and purposely bump your cue…
If you are anything like me, after the first act of rudeness, I would’ve stood up, walked away from the table, and sat down. I love shooting pool and have no tolerance of others rudeness when playing. Most pool table etiquette is based off of common courtesy and common sense.
Let’s take a look at a basic list of pool etiquette.
- Don’t put your drinks on the table. With everyone moving around the table, other drinkers, pool cues being used, and random bad shots where a ball may fly off a table can knock a drink either onto a table or onto the floor. Getting the pool cloth wet not only can mess up a game, but ruin the cloth itself. If it gets knocked on the floor, it stops the game being played so it can be cleaned up, not to mention makes a mess that someone can get hurt on.
- Never stand in someones line of sight when they are shooting. Distractions in a bar can be bad enough without someone purposely walking around in front of a pocket you are trying to line up a shot with. It considered polite to actually not be in the shooters line of site, but if you can’t help but be in that general area, then stand as still as possible until they have made their shot.
- Don’t yell. There is nothing more annoying than someone at the next table yelling repeatedly every time they make a ball. While pool is only a game to some, there are some of us there to practice or play seriously.
- If you are with a group of people, and they are standing around watching the game, and you notice someone at another table trying to shoot, be polite and call their attention to it so they can move. There should not be more than the number of people playing anywhere near the table.
- If you jump your ball off a table, and it goes under another table, wait until the other table is done with their shot before retrieving it.
- When racking the balls, don’t just drop the balls onto the table. Not only is it disruptive but can damage the table as well.
- When you are finished playing, be polite and put your stuff away. Just propping up a house cue somewhere can cause it to be knocked over. These cues are used by many different people and when they are damaged or the tip is broken off, it makes them hard to use.
- If you and another person are shooting at the same time and bump each other, make an apology and offer them to go ahead. Let them make their shot and then make yours. If you are polite to them, if it happens again, you may find the politeness returned to you.
- If you accidentally bump someone who is down to shoot, be courteous, apologize, and move so they can make their shot.
- Keep your attention on the game. Nothing is more aggravating than have to chase down an opponent when it’s their turn to shoot.
- It’s just good form to congratulate your opponent on a well-played game, whether you win or lose. It costs nothing to do, shows good sportsmanship, and will earn you respect.
- Avoid putting your quarters down on a table where someone is shooting. This can break their concentration and will not likely be appreciated.
- Don’t lean on or put the cues over your shoulders and wrap your arms over it. This is how cues get warped.
- Avoid coaching other players on how to play. We all have our own style and find it rude for you to tell us how to play if we haven’t asked you.
- If we are calling pockets, and you hit a slop shot, don’t try to act like you meant to do it. I know that you banking the cue ball off four rails and into any random pocket was not what you planned. If it was, you would have called it that way. If it’s slop, admit it and save us both the embarrassing comments that may follow.
So there we have a list of common Pool Etiquette. Depending on where you play, different bars have different rules, as does Billiards rules. And I am sure there are many more rules out there, these are just the ones that I find tend to annoy me the most. As I stated before, most of these are common sense and common courtesy.
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Most billiards pool player who are using a stick with a wooden shaft do not need to use a pool glove or billiards glove unless that players has a problem with perspiration or even clammy hands. The reason why you would use a pool glove if you suffer from any of these is because when you have any type of moisture on your aiming hand the stick may vibrate or stick as you are sliding it through for the shot. A lot of pool player use chalk but chalk can get really messy and even leave imprints on the pool table. If a player does not suffer from ay type of perspiration or clammy hands the a pool glove would not be necessary but it does not hurt to have teh extra glide and stability that a billiards glove can offer.
Any pool player using a fiber glass cue stick need to use a billiards glove at all times. The reason why is the fiber glass surface on the shaft will almost immediately stick and vibrate across your hands because of the fiber glass materials and the non porous surface. When you stroke with a fiber glass shaft immediately you can feel a resistance stroking the cue only for a few second it will pick up any oils and perspiration, and even humidity in the room and will make for a horrible stroke shot. Wit a fiber glass cue you need to have a good fiber glass cleaner, and a good pool billiards glove to go with it. If you try to use chalk on a fiber glass cue you will find that you will need to use chalk almost all the time and will cause a ton of frustration.
Official PRO Sports now offers a huge selection of pool billiards gloves for men and women all types of colors and sizes. The Womens pool billiards gloves even have extra space on the tips of the gloves for females who want to wear a pool glove but have long finger nails. And the colors are everything from red, black, blue, to even cheetah print. Every type of glove for all pool occasions and make sure that you cue glove you purchase matches your stick color.
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In billiards and pool I have learned never assume every pool hall or bar has the tools you need for success this include pool cue bridge heads. And especially in Pool halls because for every 20 sticks they may only have 1 cue stick bridge, and out of those bridges it may be impossible to find one immediately when you need it. Most pool cue shooters are rhythm shooters which means if you are in the zone, meaning you are shooting really well and you have to take 5 to 10 minutes to find a cue stick bridge you may sink out of your rhythm which may create a border of making your next shot. The best advice is to purchase your own pool bridge and buy a large cue stick case to hold it.
Create your own pool enviroment and always be prepared and this includes a good pool cue stick bride with you at all times.
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If you are any kind of pool player you know the importance of making sure your pool cue stick is taken care of 100% of the time. Fiber Glass cue sticks can be tricky some people use windex others use a little water and a rag but both of these methods should be an absolute last resort. Unlike wood Fiber glass will not warp in the same way, and in fact they degrade less then a wood shaft. Most player live and die by wood shafts but this comes down to personal choice.
CueTec pool cue stick company has created a specific fiber glass cue stick cleaner. This cleaner is not only for CueTec stick but for all fiberglass cue sticks this will help protect your cue stick while it cleans and its specific design will make sure your fiber glass cue looks great and shoots straight as long as you take care of the little maintenance. The CueTec stick fiber glass cleaner has been proven to be the number one fiber glass cue stick cleaner in the world.
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Because I play pool so much and in my old age I am getting back problems but I still want to perform as best as I can in Pool and billiards. So along with my morning stretch routines and light work outs I have hired a Masseuse once a month to work on my neck and back, and once in a while on my shooting shoulder and elbow. I know this seems really extreme but a monthly massage can really put a difference back into your game. When you are taller, shooting pool becomes a little awkward by bending over the table your abs and back are already becoming strained and even though you should be resting on your stick holding arm going back and forth from the table after long periods of time can tighten up the muscles in your back. The neck is the most strained if you are shooting pool correctly, your head should be up and looking down the pool cue shaft of the pool cue aiming for the cue ball. When you are looking up your neck must arch upwards which will put tension along the back of your neck and stretch the front. Most massage therapists will tell you most people hold their stress in their shoulders, and putting too much tension on your neck for long periods of time can affect blood flow to the brain. By relieving this tension with a massage you give your full attention to your game and not the cranks that are involved with cramping or a battered neck.
The largest reason you should get a massage is full stress relief just like any sport if you have stress and are thinking about something else other than the pool game in front of you, this can affect the outcome of the game. Every little thing can affect the out come of any game but if you can relieve that stress even for once a month you can see an increase in your ability to focus and really give your self the best chances of winning in a league games or pool tournaments.
I know that the amount of money spent on a Massage Therapist can be expensive but a great idea is find out if there is a local massage therapy school or even a travel Masseuse if you can convince one of these people to come down to your pool hall when there is a maximum amount of people to validated a cheaper rate between you and the Masseuse then possibly everyone can win. I started working with a travel massage therapist and once a month she gives me a really great rate as well as all my friends by hosting a Massage Party where you get everyone together to socialize while people one by one gets a massage. She ends up charging us a fifty cents a minute and you always tip while she ends up making a good amount of money and every on at the party is happy.
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If you are recreational player who plays from time to time or non-competitive then these billiards and pool health tips are really not for you. But if you are serious about billiards pool and want to increase your game then you must remember that your mind and body are one and if your health is bad your game will be just as bad. Even in pool leagues you may only play a few games at a time but usually in the end there is a huge tournament with usually double or triple amount of pool racks, and breaks. You must make sure you health is in good order. Younger pool players are flourishing in higher grade tournaments and one of the major factors is that they do not have to work on their health as much. And not everyone can be 18 again.
Eye sight is key and about half the battle so make sure you are getting your yearly check ups, eat some carrots once in a while and do not try to strain them too often. Wear good professional UV blocking sunglasses, and if you work on a computer or watch a lot of television give your eyes a break every 2 hours by going outside and looking at stationary objects to excercise your vision.
Obviously what comes hand in hand with Billiards and pool has always been bar locations where drinking and smoking surrounds the tables, some players even feel more confident if they have one drink or one shot to kill th nerves before the first game but then again one drink will not kill you but drinking and smoking heavily will affect your game instantly. Alcohol will twist your brain around and smoking will kill your lungs but what a lot of people don’t realize about smoking is that it will affect your eyes. Non-smokers eyes usually get puffy, irritated and red after an hour of being in small room with smokers, imagine the same effect on a regular smoker.
This one may throw a lot of pool players for a loop but balance and flexibility should be a regiment to work on. Most professional players know this and especially female pro pool players. Think about how you shoot, first you walk up to the table, get a good base on your feet, bend over, reach for your aim, and make sure your body stays completely still while your rock your forearm back and forth only without moving the rest of your body. Yoga may be the perfect supplement to a pool player trying to go to the next level in his or her game, which is the art of staying in positions without moving fo long periods of time. Flexibility is important when you have to compact or reach your body across a table to make long shots that are short enough to shoot but no long enough to use pool bridge stick.
Probably one of the most important things you should work on, even as a pool player is that you need to realize that pool is a sport like anything else. And in like every other sport stamina is key. An example of this is when I used to play in the APA league every once a week we would shoot against only one team and the sets are an average of 5 to 6 games per night in 8-ball or 9-ball depending on the matches. But once we made it to the regional you have to play about 4 teams just in one day and that could be anywhere from 20 to 30 games. Not to mention being up for long hours if you keep winning. This is where stamina is so important because your body is tired and your mind is not or vice versa you are out of sync completely. To be a champion you need to train like a champion, you probably do not need to become a marathon runner but 30 minutes to an hour a day you should have some type of physical activity to make sure that your stamina is up to par with your competition, if not more to be a winner. Even the great Jeanette Lee “The Black Widow” in many of her interviews professes the importance of eating healthy and making sure your body is in good shape for lang days of pool because most of the time if your body dies, you mind will quit with it.
To become a great pool player all of these requirements need to be met in some way or fashion. And if you want to go professional you have to put into your mind that no matter how much you practice or train someone out there is trying to practice and train longer and harder than you, to become a champion you have to strive to surpass even your own borders and walls. But it is just like everything else without training for pool and just trying to become a pro without thinking about these things is hard, but then again if becoming a professional pool or billiards player was easy, then everyone would be doing it.
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In recreational pool or billiards there is always a few select individuals who need to come up to me and tell me what I am doing wrong on my pool shot or my shot selection, this is ridiculous. There is a personal bubble space that I need to complete what I am doing whether it is just playing a game of pool for fun or practicing. I call these guys the “Yoda Effect” because most people who need to share their pool information to you, usually think in their head they are better than you right off the bat. If you are a female someone coming up and giving information you don’t need freely is more likely using this as a ploy to get your attention and the possibly sleazy “hit on” process.
The proper etiquette for helping someone in pool and billiards is first the contact of name, and then ask if they want help before spewing information. And if someone does need help unless you are a paid professional player or pool coach is to use words such as “it’s my opinion” and “I believe that” or “it may help if” because when it comes to pool not everyone is that same and not everyone is comfortable with your opinion on shot selection or how to stroke a cue. And to be as self-centered so much that you think you way is the only way is ignorance in itself. Here is an example of bad pool speaking etiquette:
“You should have taken the 2 ball instead of the 7 ball because now you have blocked yourself.”
Here is the same sentence using etiquette:
“Would you like some help? In my opinion if you would have taken the 2 ball instead of the 7 you might have lined up your next shot better.”
The first sentence was a blanketed I know what I am doing, and what you did was wrong. Versus the second sentence which was really trying to give an honest help tip, after asking if that pool player wanted help if they agreed then you could have honestly helped them, instead of a harsh fact statement that could possibly hurt another players feeling, or put them defensive. Me personally I play completely different in a recreational game of pool where I am only shooting for fun or practice versus a tournament or league play so to assume I would have made the same shot during league is pretty ignorant.
If you receive such advice from someone who give it in a brutal manner the best way to reply is “Thank you for your help, but I really don’t need it right now.” and go on your way, some people can not be changed and it’s best not to get defensive and to start friction. Just shake it off, and allow them to be douche bags some where away from you.
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