Your Personal Pool Stats
Written by Bryan W. Mitchell ( NWQPOOL.COM )
If you play in a league, I am sure you know your win/lose record. You may even know your record against players of a specific rank. And you have someone keeping track of your innings on the team scorecard. But do you know how many innings you average per game, per match, per month?
For example if you play in the Philadelphia APA and your 8 ball rank is 6 and you win matches verses players ranked 4 and 5, you may play for a very long time before you see a change in your rank. At the same time, you may be averaging one fewer inning per game or as many as 6 fewer innings per match better than this time last year. And if you are a top ranked player, you may never see improvement on your part reflected in your ranking. You might even show a different ranking and win lose record if you were playing in a different region, like Norristown. You would be playing different players on different tables, under different conditions.
How do you know if you are getting better as you put in all of this playing time and practice time? You may not be improving at all but declining in skill. Some highly ranked players might decline in ability as a result of playing lower ranked players from one week to the next. The higher ranked player may also practice less because he does not need to put in as much work to post wins from week to week.
Another problem is that the higher you are ranked, the more subtle your improvement or decline. As an example, let’s say Player ONE can run 5 racks of balls in 85 shots (75 would be perfect), but it takes Player TWO 125 shots to run the same 75 balls. After 6 months of practice, it is much easier for player TWO to get down to 115 than it is for Player ONE to get down to 75. (A ten shot improvement for each player)
Outside of knowing if your overall performance is improving, wouldn’t you like to know about specific areas of your game? As an example, what is your break percentage today verses a year ago? Do you have more wins on bar boxes or on larger tables? Do you play better on Tuesdays verses Mondays? This last one might seem a little bit of a stretch, but at times players play better on specific days of the week because of other activities. For example, someone who works out on Monday mornings might play better on Tuesday night verses Monday night.
What about that low-deflection cue you just bought, or that new break cue you bought recently. Do you play better with this new equipment? Maybe you only think you play better with it. Maybe you play much better and do not know just how much improvement you can attribute to having good equipment. Serious players who keep good stats can tell you for a fact that they play better with certain types of cues because they have hundreds of hours of stats showing before and after performance numbers.
I would be surprised if every pro could not tell you if he or she shoots better with a low deflection shaft or what the ideal weight for a break cue is for them. It will take some large trial numbers to get accurate comparisons in some areas of your game, but you will not have anything to work with down the road if you do not start now. You may not want to measure the same things that another player might, but here is a list of a few things you may want to consider.
1) What is your likelihood of making a ball on the break in 8-ball and 9-ball?
2) How often do you scratch on the break?
3) Do you have a better win percentage during low inning games or high inning games?
4) How many shots does it take you to run 5 racks of balls?
5) What is your average number of innings played (minus defensive shots) in 8-ball or 9-ball
Find your own system and items you would like to measure, but I find numbers 1 and 4 very useful. In fact, I do what I call a Rack and Run test every day of the week. This would be number 4 on the list above. Note: I count scratches as two shots and spot a ball if I scratch. Any ball made unintentionally after the break gets spotted, and I also count breaks as one shot. 75 points is a perfect score.
If you have questions or comments, you can email me at Bryan@NWQPOOL.com