A few years ago a QC resident emailed me the following comment after several viewings of a pro tournament DVD that I loaned to him:

“I seem to play better after watching this type of match… I think it inspires a bit of patience or something.”

Below was my emailed reply to him which I later realized would definitely make for a useful article that may inspire you to similarly watch and learn from more pro videos and televised tournaments:


A discussion about the way that watching pros often positively transfers to our own playing is probably worthy of an article of its own.

It does seem from my own research, that the *exact* way the video-viewed model of excellent or ideal performance is initially set into our subconscious (then elements of it “called upon” without conscious effort), is not completely understood.

And maybe it’s only important that the viewing of such performances often does transfer some aspects of them to our own playing.  I think one key to effective performance transfer from pool videos’ playing models (or in-person pro tournament spectating) is that the moves and cue ball control comport well with our own style of play and don’t radically exceed what we’re capable of the time.

Generally, in Straight Pool at least, I’ve found that the most flawlessly performed high runs, well worth emulating, involve the continual production of multiple clear and seemingly simple patterns and shots — as risk-free ones as possible.

I personally can’t consistently have high runs at Straight Pool when the patterns, because of less-than-ideal position play on my part, start to require a lot of “9-ball style Straight Pool” moves to get back in line.  The odds against missing then begin to mount cumulatively.

For example, I know that I’m not *consistently* capable of the precise and almost magical positional *corrections* commonly involving a lot of cue ball travel, that an exceptional player like John Schmidt (2 DVDs available for loaning) can perform over hundreds of balls.  So, before some of my Straight Pool tournament play I’ll often watch my DVDs of either Sigel’s 150 and out at the 1992 US Open, or the DVD of Ralf Souquet’s year 2000 near-flawless 120-ball run against Reyes in NYC.  I regularly loan my video of it to QC residents wanting to learn more about Straight Pool (it’s 90 minutes long and Souquet’s run starts at 35 minutes into the match after some safety play):

Sigel and Souquet are my personal models of the kind of older-style ball control and cluster nudging I’m most comfortable with rack after rack.  But we know that doing it consistently, and under tournament or money ball conditions at any game, is what separates a good amateur from top pros or top road players.

In any case, this “ideal model transfer” to our own playing after watching pros, is a well known phenomenon in many sports, particularly those highly dependent on hand-eye coordination and the mental or instinctive selection of the most ideal move from a great variety of available options.

Our sport, perhaps the most precise of all sports, is definitely an extreme case of demanding both of these requirements.

Dick Sussman ~ QC Billiards Club 2006 founder