Last year I traveled to New York City to meet Chris Lynch, the house pro at Amsterdam Billiards. We knocked the balls around for a couple hours while Chris gave me some pointers and advice on how to improve my game. During our conversation, Chris mentioned that one of the biggest contributors to his advancement as a player was his reading of a book written by Bob Henning, called “The Pro Book.” He said the book was designed around the concept of ‘reference shots.’ The book presents 16 basic shots which you must shoot over and over again until you know them like the back of your hand. The theory is that almost all other shots are merely variations of the basic 16. I thought the concept sounded interesting, but after leaving New York, I soon forgot about it.
Last week I was on Amazon searching for a different billiard book, and…drum roll please…up popped “The Pro Book.” I remembered my conversation with Chris, and did a search on Bob Henning. Not only did I find “The Pro Book,” but I also found “The Advanced Pro Book.” Yippeee! My AMEX card jumped out of my wallet so fast it left burn marks in the leather. I arranged for expedited shipping to make sure it arrived before this weekend. Friday evening after work, I returned home and saw a package sitting at my front door. I quickened my pace, then picked up the package and flipped it over. The package was from Amazon! CHRISTMAS IN FEBRUARY! Whoohooo!
I ripped open the package on the spot, and there they were, wrapped in beautiful protective shrink wrap, two sacred texts chocked full of strategies and training techniques for the serious pool player. These books are not filled with the normal dumbed-down pre-adolescent short attention span dribble that you so commonly see in most billiard books today. No, these books are for the serious pool player who wants to lay down the gauntlet, chew some bubble gum, and kick ass! My hands were trembling as I fumbled with my keys to open the front door. I was eager to get inside so I could glance through the books and relish the joy that I had found.
After a day and a half of scanning and speed reading, I’ve determined that my route to becoming a professional is now much clearer. I still have a TON of work to do, but at least I now have a clear path. No more guessing and no more fumbling around in the dark. I’m already four months into my two year journey, and although I’ve made good progress, I still have a very long way to go. Tomorrow I’ll put together a formal training program with clearly defined objectives, timelines, and due dates. As I said in my post a few days ago, it’s time to get serious. On Monday I’ll start executing against the plan. Stay tuned tomorrow, same bat time, same bat channel, for another update.