This may be the most overlooked aspect of playing great pool. I am of the opinion that the more skilled you become at the pool table the more fun you’ll have playing, right? After watching numerous hours of matches I’m not sure that this is true for a lot of pool players. I’ve seen players , all well above average skill up to professional level that don’t appear that they are having fun playing. If you have a tendency to throw or smash your cue after a missed shot, miscue, scratch or other error you’re probably not having any fun. Many players of this temperament are quick to blame the equipment (crooked cue, table not level, balls in poor condition, etc…), the environment (pool room too smoky or loud), or their opponent’s tactics (cheating, sharking, sandbagging). In some instances their case is a valid one but keep in mind your opponent and usually several other players in the room are facing the same conditions. I’ve been guilty of some of these as well but never to the point of throwing or smashing my pool cue.
Winning is fun and losing isn’t is the overwhelming consensus among pool players. Generally speaking, I agree, however here are some things you can do to keep your pool playing fun. The next time you’re in a match and being outplayed take a different approach than what you typically do. Use the situation to learn and expand your skills. If you typically run and gun, try changing up and work on your safety play. If you’re a lock up artist, go for that 3 rail bank shot your opponent just left for you. Sometimes all it takes is a brilliant safety or beautiful shot to turn the whole match around. Regardless of the outcome, ask yourself if that was fun. If not, may be some time away from the game or some pool lessons are in order to refresh your mind and competitive spirit.
Have you ever played Straight pool, One pocket or Rotation? If you haven’t, may I suggest one of these as a refreshing change from your normal routine of 8 ball or 9 ball. If you have played these, what about Cut throat? Kelly pool (Pea Pool) or Golf? My point is there are literally dozens of different games and hundreds of variations of those that can be played on a pool table. Why limit yourself to just 1 or 2?
So the next time you’re about to play pool with friends or family, your weekly league match or even a Pro/Open tournament, remember to have fun!