I was introduced to the International Playing Ability Test (IPAT) concept early last year by a fellow pool player and thought it would be a great idea to add the IPAT workbooks to my growing pile of pool practice materials. I googled the IPAT, read about the tests, then decided to buy the IPAT2 and IPAT3 workbooks. I was very excited when they finally arrived in the mail last spring. I tore through the packaging like a kid on Christmas morning. After flipping through the books and trying to estimate how I would perform on the tests, I put the books on my bookshelf for safe keeping until I made time to use them. I don’t know about you, but usually when I buy something new, like a new shirt, I tend to not wear it because I’m “saving it for something special.” Unfortunately, the same thing happened with my IPAT workbooks…they never got used!
Yesterday on New Year’s Eve, I decided to take the IPAT2 test to bring the year 2010 to a close and set the stage for my training in 2011. This was my first experience using the IPAT materials. They were obviously written in another language (probably German), then translated into English, so it took me a little bit of time to figure out the intention of some of the exercises. Overall it took me about 3.5 hours to complete the entire IPAT2 test, but I prevailed, and was able to score an 832. If you score over 800 points, you qualify to take the IPAT3 test, so I was pretty excited about that!
For each exercise in the IPAT system, there is a target score that you should strive to beat. I figured this would serve as a good tool to help me identify strengths and weaknesses in my game. Using the target scores from each individual drill as the bar to judge my performance, I’ve identified strengths and weaknesses in my game as follows:
Above Average: Draw skills, 9 ball run out skills
Average: Speed control skills, follow skills, straight shooting, big position skills (routes), endless position drill (routes), standard position shots
Below Average: Small position skills (routes), frozen rail shots (wwaaaayy below average!)
Most, if not all, experts in the field of performance optimization say the fastest road to improvement is to identify and work on areas of weakness, so my next plan is to work on small position drills and frozen rail shots. If you are bored with your current drills and exercises, I recommend the IPAT series. They also offer DVDs to accompany the workbooks that I bought. I’m sure the DVDs would be great and probably go a long way in helping you understand the concepts and the shots, but I’m too much of a cheapskate to buy them. Oh well, back to the table!
Oh, and HAVE A HAPPY NEW YEAR!! 😉