Over to Silk Town for a practice game with Wayne. Since our last practice / coaching session he really has improved. Anything that is half ball now gets dispatched straight away without hesitation which I a great sign.
He is also beginning to adjust the half ball by making it thinner and thicker as the shot demands. I think next time I will have to show him the way side affects a half ball cannon. I am only just getting used to it myself but he is going to have to try these shots anyway if he wants to compete.
We played a game and talked through each shot why he had selected a shot and what the resulting position was going to be. Again just like me he knows what he wants to do but can't quite manage it. We had a particular shot in the middle bag which he elected to play as a half ball loser in the middle. He left the object ball in baulk. I played the same shot but thinner and 1/4 ball slightly forcing it in and the ball stayed in the middle of the table but a little near the baulk line. I then played the same shot but as a half ball loser in the bottom bag and left perfect top of the table position (a little lucky but never mind).
Three ways to play one shot he was quite shocked as he had never considered other shots. I said there were probably even more that, another decent player may pick out even more options but I had not got all the answers.
He played a long loser in the top bag from the 'D' and wanted the ball in mid table he failed. I played the same shot but with drag and the balls only moved 3 feet. He could not get that shot at all. He practiced the same shot 20 times before the slow drag shot kicked in. He will always be able to play that shot now just nobody had showed him.
He is also getting lots more side on the cue ball now. The spotted ball helped show he had made significant progress with his cueing he was really getting the ball to spin.
A situation came up where the balls were in place for a couple of quick nursery cannons. I AM NO GOOD at these despite hours of practice. However I keep underestimating my skill level when compare with Wayne. At least I had put 4 or 5 hours in trying the shot over the past few months. I managed about 10 small cannons along the rail before losing position and potting the red. But he realised the potential of the shot as a quick few extra points with little risk.
We stopped and I showed him the way I had practiced the shot with Roger Morgan and in addition I played the Rocker Canon showing him how the yellow just rocks a tiny bit. I played 25 in a row (50 break) before stopping. I had not played this shot for weeks but they just worked first time. Sometimes I play this shot and manage about 3 so I was very lucky.
He was totally amazed by my efforts, I explained that I was hopeless and he should just try out the shots when he has time and not get bogged down with such difficult shots. I did point out that they really help you develop a nice touch when the ball are close together so they were worth a bit of an effort.
I enjoyed the night as I realise that although I am only just understanding the basics of billiard in the past 6 months I have really made massive strides in the game. I just never really knew it until last night. I can't believe that I am trying to coach and encourage someone else when I have only just been doing this for a few months I don't want to put him off but to encourage him to carry on and master as much as he can. He is already a totally different billiards player a few more months of intensive work and he will overtake me as his potting skills are much better.
I have gone back over the blog today and realise just how much effort and practice I have put in in the last 6 months, I think it has really been worthwhile any snooker players out there who are fed up with the sport take up billiards it gives you so much more in return and will improve your snooker skills as well.
Wayne is going to enter the Bradford English Open as a Wild card and is going to do the exam with Paul Dunning as soon as he can, that will really boost his confidence if he can past that as well.