If you have not heard yet about Efren “Bata” Reyes, you are either a teenager who is starting to learn playing pool or an adult who has been living under the rock. Every billiards fan, whether pro or noob, knows who “The Magician” is in the billiards arena. No wonder—this Filipino professional billiards player is often touted as one of the greatest pool players of all time.
Let’s take a look at the admirable qualities of this excellent athlete that can teach and inspire you to become better at playing pool.
1. Creative and innovative
More than just being a regular pool player, The Magician works his magic on the pool table simply by his creativity and innovation. He is not afraid to try out new techniques and patterns. His ability to improve himself by exploring new things makes him a real standout.
2. Calm and collected
Although Reyes has the reputation for being a hard-to-beat player on the billiards table, many pros regard him as a favorite not only because of his superb skills but also his being calm and relaxed. When he made mistakes, he would just smile and scratch his head. The best part? He carries on despite the embarrassment. He just enjoys the game and keeps on smiling even under intense pressure—while other players are hotheaded and would go nuts when their shots do not go as desired.
The guy has accomplished so much more than you could imagine, but you won’t see him flaunting it himself, unlike those boastful athletes who love to bash their opponents on TV. Reyes has a lot of achievements tucked under his belt. A 70-time international champ, Reyes is the first billiards player to win two different disciplines in the World Championships. In the 1980s, when the world did not know him yet, he was considered the best billiards player in the Philippines, his home country. And he holds the distinction of being the first Asian to be inducted into the Hall of Fame of the Billiard Congress of America in 2003.
What could be more annoying to a hardcore billiards enthusiast than hearing stuff that is not necessarily true about the sport? Whether you are a pro or an amateur at playing pool, here are the misconceptions that should be clear to you—they remain just that, myths that are needed to be debunked.
How many of you can relate to these common myths about billiards?
1. It’s all about the money
Nope—well, yes, in some countries, people make money out of making billiards some sort of gambling. However, there are many pool players play in club rooms and are members of tournaments. Billiards is a regulated sport system, just like other sports.
Trying to impress girls by learning how to play pool? You’ve got the wrong motivation, buddy. It just works in the movies.
While you can grab the attention of your female audience with your smooth strokes and amazing swings, that will not guarantee that you will win the hearts of women. Consider the fact that the typical pool areas have a men-women ratio of 9:1. Not an ideal prospect, unless you are trying to impress a fellow male.
4. Luck, or the lack of it, is the name of the game
This is just a convenient excuse for losers. If you lose a game, don’t blame luck. Or even if you win it, luck has little to do with it. Your outcome during a pool game depends on factors such as how you plan your moves, how you execute your shots, and how you control the cue ball. In short, it all boils down to skills.
Struggling to learn playing pool? Are you fed up with the teasing from your buddies because of your sloppy strokes? If you are overwhelmed with learning the game, you can, of course, simplify things a bit. Here are three simple techniques that you can easily learn to be a better billiards player.
1. Be aware of what your body is doing
Rather than give yourself verbal commands while playing pool, be more conscious of how your body actually moves. How relaxed is your wrist? Is your arm swinging the right way? That is a more effective way of playing pool instead of telling yourself to relax your body or move in a certain way.
2. Keep your wrist relaxed
If your wrist is tensed, you can easily lose precision and distract the cue. Let it loose for a smoother stroke and a more precise shot.
3. Keep your head and body still
Your whole body should be still while playing billiards—do not make unnecessary movements. Even the slightest motion can ruin your chances of shooting the balls. The only time you will need to move your arm is when you are shooting the balls. Nothing else!
4. Keep the same stance every game
Make sure that your body stance is aligned in the same way with to the direction of your shot. This way, you won’t make things harder for yourself while playing pool. Billiard instructors teach this valuable technique when making a shot: practice your body alignment with the shot direction, take an extra step off the billiards table before you shoot, and then shoot from the front rather than the side. It works every time!
Practice these four billiards techniques and surprise your friends the next time you play pool again!