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December
21
2005
11:08 pm
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It just came in. I had ordered “The Illustrated Principles of Pool and Billiards” by David G. (“Dr. Dave”) Alciatore, PhD book, companion CD and DVD off of his website last week.


First impression: nice. The book is not too big, not too small, feels weighty enough, etc. As I flip through it, what strikes me first are the many color diagrams everywhere.

And they’re cool diagrams — not just your normal pool table with balls on it and arrows trying to describe concepts. Some of these really get across what he’s trying to show you. One example is Figure 5.14 on page 141 — he shows a big blob across the table for where a decent shot on the 8-ball would be, and how one might get there. Typical books just show big triangles, which I guess is good for theory, but this matches my idea of pool better at the stage I’m at — which is namely “I need to ball to go there-ish, so how do I need to hit the ball to go in that direction?” (* note, see bottom for my take on this).

Also throughout the book are references to video on the DVD/CD. This reminds me of Unix Power Tools book, my all-time favorite technical book and example of how a good technical book should be. It’s riddled with cross-references and indexes such that you can just pick it up, read any page in it and learn something, and then be able to find anything else related to something on that page. I love it.

The book references (and the CD/DVD contains) over 90 digital video clips, 60 special high-speed video clips, 20 technical proofs and lots of cross-referencing within the book itself.

About the only thing I’d improve on the book (again, I’ve had it only 5 minutes so far) is a set of visual chapter indicators on the bleeding edges so that you can page through sections more quickly. Just a personal preference.

You can purchase your own copy in interested by going to his online shopping center.

I look forward to practicing and putting some of these principles to work so that I can know them better. Look here again later on for my reviews of the CD, DVD and book as I use them more. I think this book will make an excellent companion to my “Science of Pocket Billiards” yellow book by Jack Koehler, which I think is the best pool book ever.

I also think this will help me make the ultimate practice, drill and enjoyment system for pool. I just need the time and VC funding to make it happen. I’m still working on the information, but it’s going to be so cool.

————————————————–

* – my take on what I said about “there-ish” and where I’m at. I’ve heard and can agree that probably the best way to learn the dynamics and physics of pool and more specifically, the pool table you’re actually on right at this moment, is to implement “spot shooting,” meaning that for every shot you make, you should point out an exact spot on the table (like dime-sized or smaller) where the cue ball should land. The idea is that if you can get past failing every single time (because I mean who could land on a dime every time, right?), you should be able to quickly see how “off” you are on your position play. You also gain the advantage of actually picking out your next shot and are hopefully including the 3rd shot in consideration as well.

So I agree that spot shooting is better than “I need the ball to go that way”. I am trying to incorporate spot shooting into my playing. It takes a high level discipline and awareness, something I sometimes do not have when practicing or when playing with friends. You also have to be able to get past the failures and actually learn from them.


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