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May All The Rolls Go Your WayArticle written by The Monk of Monk Billiard Academy
Welcome to World ClassMany of my students desire to become world class players. Not all of them want to join the tour and compete. They simply want to become world class players. I admire them for their sincere desire to persue pocket billiards excellence. It is pure joy to be able to run racks and achieve mastery over this game. Mastery over this game means that you succeed with the shot in front of you. Pocket billiards will always have the final say, but we who are skilled, can visit this mistress and come away with a good feeling. We have spent time with greatness, and measured up to the high standards she demands.
What is world class? Has anyone ever really defined what world class level really is? In my book The Lesson, I have several exercises. When you can succeed with them, a number of times in a row, you are a world class player.
I had a student visit the Monk Billiard Academy. We began to work on The Monk 101 program. He blew right through the material. By the time we reached the second day of his three day session, I determined I had nothing to teach him. He was a master. He had developed his skills to a world class level. "I can do all the things in your lessons Monk, but I can’t win tournaments." He complained.
His problem was not inner game as one might suspect. Inner game problems come when you are not sure of what you are doing. He was a master player. He could execute every single stroke with precision. He put up world class numbers in the mid term exam. He handled my exerecises with ease. But he could not win tournaments. Since there was nothing further I could teach him, and he still had one more day left in his session, I decided to play matches with him. We would play a match at The Monk Billiard Academy, then go to Boston Billiards for another match, with a final match down by the seashore in Portsmouth New Hampshire. The winner would buy dinner. I can tell you, we had a great day and I am not going to tell you who won.
It was during our session that I discovered why he could not win tournaments. This was a big break through. The reason he could not win tournaments was because he was not a tournament player. He was a match player. When it came to match play, he was a master. He put up world class numbers because he was in his element. And when he left the Monk Billiard Academy, he vowed to stay within his field of expertise. He would play the game that suits him the most. Match play.
A little side bar on what a match player is. He plays for money, but is not a gambler. He does not seek to make money. He only likes pressure on the match. He loves the one on one competition, and will only play a specific match. He will not get involved in a marathon of wills. And he will not back down from anyone. Therefore he is always prepared. He likes to set up a match, prepare for it, and arrive with cue in hand. He simply loves the game. And when the game is over, he can cheer as loudly for his opponent as he can for himself. He is a fan of the art of pocket billiards. Never, will he let this art become destroyed by the focus on gambling. He hates gamblers and will always turn down a match from a gambler. The match player is on the look out for the art of pocket billiards excellence. Tournaments, leagues, social play and gambling are not the art of pocket billiards. Match play is. And he will play for as much as a hundred thousand dollars. The amount he wagers is just enough to hurt him should he fail to win. For two players like us, dinner on the docks was plenty incentive to strive for pocket billiards excellence.
I put up world class numbers that day, and I was richly rewarded by the satisfaction a fine performance can bring. I was beaming when I paid for the dinner, for the match player always wins. He gets to spend time with a true artist and sees the true art of pocket billiards played out.
May all the rolls go your way.
Tim Miller, The Monk
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