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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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