i suppose people may debate the merits of having a teacher/coach to further your pool skills. some believe firmly in it, others will tell us that we can learn by ourselves from books, dvds, and watching pro matches. i’m not sure which approach is the best, but a good teacher can really shorten the learning process, sometimes shrinking years of self-struggle to a mere few months. that is, if you find a good teacher. so below is a random list of things i would look for in a pool teacher/coach. yours may vary.
1. your teacher/coach can emphasize YOU.
when i say emphasize you, i mean the teacher possesses knowledge that can help bring out your strengths, or find the best forms/techniques that you can use. in short, the teacher can be “you-centered”. ideally, the teacher is not too interested in teaching only his/her system, but is very focused on things that will work for you, the individual. as i said many times before, not one in 10,000 can learn the efren stroke properly.
2. your teacher checks his/her ego at the door.
hopefully, your pool teacher is interested in helping you learn, and not trying to impress you with his/her various accolades and sundry credentials. my previous post talks about just such fine gentleman; this supposed teacher is so intent on impressing his students with his knowledge that his sessions are basically pointless. i mean, how effective can a teacher be if all he/she does is rapidly mouthing off shot after shot, without really explaining each shot? not sure if any of his students ever learned anything.
3. your teacher is knowledgeable.
beware if your teacher explains something to you but just cannot demonstrate it on the table, even after 20 attempts. this can mean the teacher’s knowledge is either dubious, or the person does not know as much as you originally believed. although not a total deal-breaker, if your teacher can’t properly demonstrate the things he/she is talking about, exercise caution.
4. your teacher listens.
this is basically related to #1. if your teacher is willing to listen to your difficulties, it means he/she is trying to solve the problem with you. but there needs to have a balance; if all your teacher does is listen to you, he/she may not be able to give you discipline when you need it. conversely, if your teacher never listens to you, think about leaving.
5. your teacher is fair.
by fair i mean your teacher will charge you for the services provided, and no more. most likely your teacher needs to make a living, and by charging fairly, he/she can provide a great service at a reasonable cost. unfortunately i can’t really say what price is fair; that can be affected by region, average rate, experience, reputation, etc. the best thing you can do is to check around first and get some feedback from previous students, if possible. sometimes internet forums can be helpful, since you can contact people from across states and nations. also, talk to the teacher and see if you get any gut instincts. a test drive (taking one or two lessons first) can also help you gauge things. bottom line: a good teacher can help you improve. at least you have some objective criteria here.
that’s all i can think of right now. one more thing: if you are the student, please honor your appointments. there’s nothing worse than booking a session with your teacher and not show up. i mean, at least call ahead (i’m thinking at least 6 hours ahead) if you cancel. your teacher could be holding another lesson if you cancel early.
btw, i totally forgot to do this one wordreka moment! last month when i hosted poolSynergy. so here it is.
Smassy: a combination of smart and sassy
there. now it’s official. 😀