Free Instructional Billiard Videos & Pool Lessons by Tom

Learn Dart Jumping

This video pool lesson covers jumping billiard balls. The two focus topics will discuss proper technique and the proper equipment.

Learn Pendulum Jumping

Pendulum jumping is a second method for ‘hopping’ over existing balls to make your shot. This online lesson explains proper technique for a successful jump.

Free Pool Lessons by Tom

My billiard students receive a copy of my book, Beat People With a Stick! The book contains 129 one page pool lessons and is available here. Ten sample lessons from the beginning of the book are available below for free.

Since it is my sincere hope to help all pool players improve, you are welcome to distribute these articles freely among your friends or make them available in your pool room, so long as each article is unchanged and retains the original author and copyright information. Publication or sale is not permitted.

Click here for an article by Tom about how to become a better pool player. Click here for Tom’s article about finding your Pattern of Missing, and click here for the corresponding Excel worksheets. These pool lessons contain the techniques used by expert players to beat out their opponents and will get you on your way to becoming the billiards player you’ve always wanted to be.

Shut up and practice!

Most of us don’t have the raw natural talent to become great players without working at it. If you’re good, you practice. If you want to be good, you practice. You won’t be getting better if you’re not practicing. And meanwhile, somebody else, who may beat you in the future, is putting in that practice time. If you actually want to get better, you’ll make time for practice. 15 minutes of concentrated practice will do more for your game thanhours of play. “OK. I practice. I drill a few straight-ins, shoot a coupla spot shots, try a cross-side bank, and Read More

Mechanical Players vs. Feel Players

There are some players who play very consciously. They think about many many details of stroke, form, alignment, aim, etc. They have elaborate pre-shot routines to help ensure their consistency. They are aware of a lot of body sensations. They use whatever physics grasp they have of the game to help them plan and execute their shots. They try to do everything on purpose. I call these Mechanical Players (MP’s). I’m somewhere on this end of the spectrum. The Feel Players (FP’s) are the opposite. They trust their body to do the right thing. They are not conscious of how Read More

Getting a Little On the Side

Sidespin. English. It’s the magic that makes extraordinary shots and great position play. It’s also the cause of many badly missed shots and much humiliation. This month we’ll take a look at the various effects associated with trying to use sidespin. Subsequent columns will talk about how to deal with those effects intelligently. Like most instructors, I try to convince players to use english only when necessary, and then, only as much as necessary. It’s way too hard on beginners to learn to compensate for sidespin before they have the basics of center ball down. You can hit the cueball Read More

Runnin’ Down the Rails

Freeze an object ball to the rail and suddenly it becomes a “special” shot. Many players are afraid of rail shots. You hear all kinds of theories from other players: “You have to hit the rail and the ball at the same time.” Wrong. “If you use inside english on the cueball, the object ball will have inside english as it runs down the rail, and inside english makes the ball hug the rail.” Nope. “If you use outside english on the cueball, the object ball will be thrown a little off the rail, so it doesn’t bounce out away Read More

The Myth of Center Ball

One of the things that makes pool challenging is that what the cueball is doing changes during the shot. While the cueball is moving, it’s doing some combination of rolling, spinning, and sliding. Exactly what that combination is changes over the course of the shot, as the ball collides with rails and other balls, and as it slows and eventually comes to a stop. Why is this important? Understanding what exactly the cueball is doing – and when – is critical to developing the shot planning knowledge and shooting finesse you need to play at a high level. If we’re Read More

Fuzzy Results

A handful of factors combine to make one player better than another. Some factors are things we have no real control over, such as perception, shot memory, and natural physical ability. In some vital areas though, appropriate knowledge and effort can lead to real improvements. So it makes sense to work on things we can actually improve, things such as quality and consistency of stroke, degree of precision, solidity of concentration, and level of pool knowledge. Let’s talk about Precision. Pool is perhaps the most precise game on the planet. That’s part of why we like it so much. One Read More

In & Out of The Zone

Pool players frequently mention that magical state – “The Zone” – when they refer to a great performance at the table. “He was deep in The Zone, man.” “He was unconscious.” “It was just him and the balls.” We all talk about it as if we know what it is, but when we try to explain it to someone, we run out of words pretty quickly. We’re not going to nail it down fully here, but we’ll characterize it and try to identify possible triggers to help us get there. One of the problems in describing The Zone is the Read More

Looking for Trouble

It’s a good idea to stop and check some basics from time to time. We tend to drift into old habits and go into slumps, unless we’re vigilant. When you’re having a slump, or when you’re trying to help someone learn the game, the following are ten of the most common problem areas that cause us trouble, and some simple suggestions for dealing with them.   1.       Doubt: Don’t shoot in the Thinking Position; don’t think in the Shooting Position. Don’t go down on a shot until you have a plan. If you go down, and feel you should change Read More

Draw Like Crazy

One of my favorite pool expssions is “Draw for show, follow for dough.” This is good advice. Follow is easy to control. Draw is definitely not. Follow is easy to execute. Draw is difficult. Follow works well. But draw is way sexier. Call it what you like – draw, backspin, suck-back, screw – everyone wants to be able to shoot big draw shots. It’s thrilling, gratifying, and just plain necessary. So let’s talk about how to get more – and more consistent – draw. There are two physical factors that determine how much draw you get on any shot: How Read More

Follow Through with Abandon

This one is hard to teach, but it’s really important. I’m sure you’ve heard about it your whole life, in every sport you’ve tried. Gotta follow through, gotta follow through. If you’re skeptical, you’re thinking “Yeah, right. That cueball is long gone before I ever have a chance to follow through. What’s the difference?” Well, it’s certainly true that the cueball is gone. Let’s slow this thing way down and look at what happens during a hit stroke. If you are stroking (as opposed to poking), your stick is accelerating toward the impact. If you are poking, your stick is Read More

Memorable Pool Quotes

If you think the pockets are too big, you’re not betting high enough.

– Buddy Hall

Draw for show, follow for dough.

– Tom Simpson

Win it before you’re in it!

– Mark Powell

How do I win from here?

– Buddy Hall

If you can’t deliver the cueball accurately to where you think it should go, your fancy knowledge, years of experience, and clever strategies have little practical value. Invest in your fundamentals.

– Tom Simpson

The will to win is not nearly as important as the will to train.

– Mark Wilson

There is always more precision available.

– Tom Simpson

The “killer instinct” so admired in many top athletes is nothing more than the ability to give consistent and maximum effort at all times – ahead or behind, good opponent or bad.

– Mark Wilson

I don’t care about your ‘two tips left and one tip low.’ What matters is not where you strike the cueball. What matters is what is the cueball doing when it gets where it’s going. When it hits something. To play good pool, THAT is what we must understand and control.

– Tom Simpson

Play how you want to play in the future – now!

– Tom Simpson

The amateur works until he can make the shot. The professional works until he can’t miss it.

– Anonymous

Generate relentless positivity.

– Mark Wilson

It’s not about the winning. It’s about the doing.

– Chuck Noll, Pittsburgh Steelers Coach

You must be present to win.

– Tom Simpson

When would NOW be a good time to become the player you’ve always wanted to be?

– Tom Simpson

If you don’t study every cluster, you are lunchmeat.

– Mark Finkelstein

You must sweat in training to avoid bleeding on the battlefield.

– Mark Finkelstein

Don’t shoot in the thinking position. Don’t think in the shooting position.

– The Unknown Instructor

The sooner you look like a great pool player, the sooner you’ll play like a great pool player.

– Mark Wilson

…makes and misses are just feedback, and should not affect your emotional state or demeanor.

– Mark Wilson

Commit to delivering an excellent stroke. Miss like you mean it.

– Mark Wilson