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Pool Player's Edge
Pool Player's Edge
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Shari gives an overview of the book:

The best-selling guide that helped countless players improve their game is now updated, expanded, and better than ever! With Pool Player’s Edge you will sharpen your strategy and shot-making skills while mastering tactics and techniques in the four most popular forms of the game: 9-ball, 8-ball, straight pool, and one-pocket. In this new edition, billiards experts and tour pros Gerry “The Ghost” Kanov and Shari “The Shark” Stauch share their secrets on every aspect of the game. In Pool Player’s Edge you will learn these skills: Perfect your aim and master your shots Control the cue ball Set the tone for the game with a power break Handle the most common and troublesome shots Map the table and set up shots Strategize your game Remain focused and unnerved in competitive play Step-by-...
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The best-selling guide that helped countless players improve their game is now updated, expanded, and better than ever!

With Pool Player’s Edge you will sharpen your strategy and shot-making skills while mastering tactics and techniques in the four most popular forms of the game: 9-ball, 8-ball, straight pool, and one-pocket.

In this new edition, billiards experts and tour pros Gerry “The Ghost” Kanov and Shari “The Shark” Stauch share their secrets on every aspect of the game. In Pool Player’s Edge you will learn these skills:

  • Perfect your aim and master your shots
  • Control the cue ball
  • Set the tone for the game with a power break
  • Handle the most common and troublesome shots
  • Map the table and set up shots
  • Strategize your game
  • Remain focused and unnerved in competitive play

Step-by-step professional instruction and over 200 full-color detailed diagrams will show you how to take your game to the next level. Whether you’re a league player or a seasoned professional, if you’re serious about pool and looking for a competitive edge, Pool Player’s Edge is your best shot.

Contents
Part 1: Become a Player
Chapter 1. The Essentials
Chapter 2. Perfect Your Aim
Chapter 3. Cue Ball Control
Chapter 4. Top-Shelf Shots
Chapter 5. Map the Table

Part II: Act the Part
Chapter 6. Think Ahead
Chapter 7. Master the Mind Game
Chapter 8. Put It in Play

Part III: Expert 8-Ball
Chapter 9. 8-Ball Openers
Chapter 10. Midgame Strategy
Chapter 11. End-Game Excellence

Part IV: Top-Notch 9-Ball
Chapter 12. 9-Ball Openers
Chapter 13. Winning Moves
Chapter 14. Table-Closing Tactics

Gerry “The Ghost” Kanov and Shari “The Shark” Stauch combine an unprecedented wealth of professional pool experience and talent. Both contribute to Pool & Billiard Magazine, the top publication for the sport. They have also played against or worked with most of the top professional pool players and instructors in the world.

Kanov has been playing professional and amateur pool since 1968. He has dozens of local and national top-three finishes and championships, including two national team championships as a player and coach. He is an instructional editor and technical advisor for Pool & Billiard Magazine and has written dozens of instructional articles, including the columns “Ghost” and “Eight Ball Ernie,” both reader favorites.

Kanov was a touring professional on the Camel Pro Billiard series and a coach for several top players. He also has a screen credit: He portrayed a referee in the motion picture The Color of Money. Kanov and his wife make their home in Nashville, Tennessee.

Stauch, a 2007 inductee into the Women's Professional Billiard Association (WPBA) Hall of Fame, was a touring pro on the Women’s Pro Billiard Tour from 1980 to 2004, when she retired to pursue promotion of the sport full time. She was consistently ranked in the top 32 players in the world, even while serving as executive editor of Pool & Billiard Magazine and handling publicity for the Women’s Pro Billiard Tour. She has performed dozens of exhibitions for clients, including ESPN.

Stauch was the founding president of the Billiard Education Foundation, which conducts youth billiard national championships and scholarship programs. Stauch also was involved as a consultant for The Color of Money. Shari resides with her husband and two children outside of Charleston, South Carolina. She is a BCA- and ACS-certified instructor and certified coach.

"Pool Player's Edge is a shortcut to mastering the game, no matter what level you strive to reach.”

Ewa Mataya Laurance -- "The Striking Viking", World Trick Shot and 9-Ball Champion

Read an excerpt »

Beware of Confidence Killers (From Chapter 7: The Mind Game)

Henry Ford once said, “Whether you think you can or can’t, you’re right.”

 There are four hulking confidence killers that will try to emerge when you play, bouncing around your mind like childish, unwanted guests. Be mindful. Don’t let them in when they come knocking:

1. Excuses, excuses. You cannot feel confident if you look for excuses why you didn’t play up to your potential. Imagining success means looking for reasons to play well rather than excuses to play poorly. Expect good things to happen rather than fear what might go wrong. See yourself playing your best pool and you can.

2. External circumstances. Think only about what you can control at the table—your body, your mind, your decisions, and your results. Many players let external circumstances control their confidence meters. Do bad rolls affect your confidence? Do you feel intimidated when you play a seasoned player? Does crowd noise suddenly make you unable to concentrate? Don’t dwell on the circumstances that surround your game situation. Expend your energy on the things you can control, such as the quality of your practice time, your reliable pre-shot routine, and the work you’ve put in to be mentally prepared to play.

 

3. Fear factors. It’s been said that, “Fear is the wrong use of imagination.” It’s been said that, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” It’s been said that, “Faith and fear cannot coexist.” It’s high time you listened. Whether it’s a tiny fear (a particular shot, for example) or a big one (fear of your opponent, fear of losing a match or tournament), it needs to be addressed and reframed in your mind’s eye. Fear causes hesitation, awkward movements, and extra adrenaline that can shake up your arms and your shots.

Part of the problem with fear factors is that everyone has a few, but nobody wants to admit to them, even to themselves. It’s easier to say the other guy got lucky than to admit you were afraid you couldn’t measure up. Nevertheless, as taught in all those hero movies, real courage is about facing the fear, meeting it head-on, and plodding through. Every fear factor you will encounter has an antidote if you’re tough enough to face the fact that you’ve got it. Here are some common fear factors:

Fear of shots. All players have shots they’re not comfortable attempting, but different reactions to the fear produce different outcomes. If you “poke and hope,” you may make it, and you can act indifferent if you don’t make it. You can practice the shot until it doesn’t evoke visions of embarrassment in your mind. You can make a mental note to practice it before the next event, but also make your best attempt to do it right this time. In the third option, you allow yourself to feel uncomfortable about the shot, but at least have faith in your ability to give it a go.

Fear of opponents. What did we tell you about playing the table? If you’re afraid of your opponent because she is better than you, play the table. Remember, everyone (including you!) knows your opponent is better anyway, so what have you got to lose? Ah, but if you win . . .

Many top players actually put more pressure on themselves when playing a lesser player. They already know this player has nothing to lose, and they often fear the opposite, that they’ll look really silly if they get beat by someone they shouldn’t. Again, play the table. Let your confidence go to work for you. You’ve got the game, you’ve got the experience, and you’ve got the talent. Use it!

Fear of humiliation. It’s been said that fear would not exist without pain, whether mental or physical, and the mental is what we’re talking about here. Players fear not playing their best game in front of friends, family, and fans. They fear embarrassing themselves with a poor performance or a stupid mistake. They fear recrimination from their coaches. But if they allow all these fears to cloud their focus at the table, they’re toast.

The best antidote to this fear is to reframe your reason for being in the match. Are you playing for your family, friends, fans, or coach? No! You play because you enjoy playing. Keep your focus on the table, and play your game for you alone, not for anyone else. This takes the pressure off and allows you to perform to the best of your ability instead of allowing others to define your successes or missteps. It is, after all, only a game—keep having fun!

4. Overconfidence. Finally, be honest with yourself. You can act confident and develop your confidence, but having a false sense of confidence can be deadly in strategic pool. Knowing your skills (in which you may have great confidence) and your limitations (in which you will not) can actually increase your confidence because you’ll play smarter pool. For instance, rolling out to a jump shot in a game of 9-Ball, when you haven’t yet acquired the solid skills (with practice) to make this shot, is exhibiting false confidence. You are attempting a shot that you know (if you are honest with yourself) you probably won’t make. If you fail, the other player runs out. Now your confidence in your ability to shoot and win has eroded. Even if you make it, you’ll be feeling a little guilty, knowing you got away with it but didn’t necessarily deserve it. And the thought will nag at your brain, chipping away at your focus.

Instead, play those percentages. If you’re more confident in the bank shot than the safety, by all means, go for it. But if you know it’s a low-percentage shot for you, have the confidence in your mental game to think of a better option. It’s always easier to remain confident in what you can do.

shari-j-stauch's picture

Excited to see the 2nd edition of our Pool Player's Edge release this November. It's bigger (same size as Precision Pool), and now in full color - so the two new editions are a perfect set!

About Shari

Creator of Where Writers Win, Shari Stauch has been involved in publishing, marketing and PR for 30 years. She manages the Charleston Center for Women Women’s Writer Series, and is a past producer of the South Carolina Writers Workshop (SCWW) Conference. Stauch is also Co-...

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Author's Publishing Notes

With over 250 illustrations and photos, this full-color book gives you the diagrams and tips you need to advance your pool skills. The photos of current and former pros are augmented by author tips and sidebars, so you will receive a real inside look at the game. If you're serious about improving and winning, Pool Player's Edge is your best shot.