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IMGCA Article - The Mental Game of Billiards


The Making of a Billiards Champion

(1st of a Series)

Jackie "The Angel" Broadhurst


No matter what kind of skill or level of skill you want, goal-setting has proven to be very effective. Achievers in various fields including athletes and business people use this technique. It gives you long-term vision and short-term motivation. It helps you focus and organize. It forces you to confront certain realities about your game so that you know what you need to improve on.


Not every pool player has the desire to become a world-class pool player. But for people who love competition, it is their nature to be the best that they can be. The first step in setting goals is to consider what you want to achieve. So at what level do you want to play pool?
• Do you want to beat all of your friends?
• Do you want to move up a rating in your league?
• Do you want to be the best in the world?


First, you must have a specific measurement in mind to determine your long-term goal. For example, if your goal is to beat all of your friends, how many balls would you have to run to be the best player amongst your friends? Would the best be able to run 3 or 4 balls, or 3 or 4 racks? Write that number down. Next, you must measure your ability now. For example, how many balls you can run without a miss, right now? 'You must know where you are, to get where you want to go.' Throw all 15 balls on the table, with ball-in-hand on your first shot, and see how many you can make without missing. Try this drill 20 or more times and record your highest run.


How much time are you going to spend practicing to improve your performance? Consult an instructor on how much focused practice time he/she thinks it would take for you to achieve this goal. If you plan to practice only 1 hour a week, and your goal is to increase your high run by 50 balls, it could take you years to achieve this goal. But if you practiced for 6 hours/day, you may be able to achieve it in months. If you think it will take too much time for you to obtain your long-term goal, either consider more practice time or setting a lower long-term goal.


First, subtract your long-term goal from your current measurement of ability. For example, when I set my goal to win the BCA 8-Ball tournament, my long-term goal was 100 balls. One year prior, I could only run 32 balls, but I practiced for 6 hours/day, 6 days/week. Therefore, my long-term goal subtracted from current ability was 68 balls. Next, Divide that number by the number of months or weeks that you plan to achieve your goal. I planned to run 100 balls in 1 year, so 68 divided by 12 is 5.6. Therefore my short-term goal was to increase my high run by 5 or 6 balls per month. By setting sharp, clearly defined goals, you can measure and take pride in the achievement of those goals. You can see forward progress in what might previously have seemed a long pointless grind. After seeing this technique work, you will then be able to achieve even higher and more difficult goals. Remember that if you are getting significantly higher or lower results than you expected, you can make adjustments. The next articles are designed to help you perfect your practice and be the best you can be in the shortest amount of time.

Jackie "The Angel" Broadhurst, 2003 BCA 8-Ball and Trick Shot Champion, is currently training to win the US Open 9-Ball Championship. This would be a historic event since a woman has never won this title. She invites everyone, no matter what gender, ethnicity, age or background you are, to play and learn together about this great game. Visit her website at

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