Archive for 'Ask the Billiard Coach'

Got Chalk? Clinic Tonight.

Posted on 07. Aug, 2012 by .


Six p.m. at Two Stooges Bar & Grill in Fridley, MN.

Ever wonder what all the hoopla is over chalk? Why what we used to take for granted or even slip into our cases ten years ago is now gone bonkers? Standard Masters brand chalk handed out in the pool rooms with racks of balls was worth about five cents a cube. Nowadays, chalk can range from $0.15 to $35.00 per CUBE!

At this clinic, I’ll be discussing truths about various chalk. We’ll also do a comparison with some of the hottest chalks around. Also for you beginners or those experienced players who think you’re chalking your stick correctly, the BEST and most consistent technique will be taught.

Chalk that will be at the clinic include:
Masters (Today’s version)
Masters “Pre-Flag”
Blue Diamond
Kamui ver.121
Kamui ver.98 (I need a volunteer to loan their cube for class)
and the newest “Cube” on the block: Predator Chalk

Scroll down to see the money shots.

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Snooker: The Masters

Posted on 18. Jan, 2012 by .


This is my third favourite snooker tournament of the year after the World Championships and the UK Championships. Still, it’s a great 8 days of snooker!

June asked a question on the forums and I thought it would make a perfect post. Sorry for the derailment of my post a day this month. Hand problems fouled things up. Epic post is in the works. Stay tuned.

I have a couple of Snooker Rules I need to find out about:


1) If you are shooting at a Red and miss the ball, does something happen with points and does the cue ball stay where it stops?

2) My understanding is if you scratch, you need to put the cue ball in the 1/2 circle and shoot it from there.  If the last Red is behind the 1/2 circle, can you shoot directly at it from the 1/2 circle?

3) Can any combination shots be made with Reds?

4) Can any combination shots be made with a Red and Colored ball?

5) If you are shooting at a Colored ball and scratch, what happens with points and the cue ball?


I think that there are more things that came up last night, but I can’t remember right now so I might have to ask again later.  It would probably help if I watched the game, but I haven’t had a chance to.

Oh June, thanks so much for asking. I’ll do my best to type quick and accurate answers before I go to bed. I’ve got to get up at 6:25am for what could be a great match: [color=#BF0000]Ronnie O’Sullivan vs. Judd Trump.  Naughty snooker indeed![/color]


1. If the referee deems that the shooter didn’t make an all out attempt at making a good hit on a red, he may be called on “A foul and a miss.”  Example, a simple one rail hit on one red is possible, but the shooter hits a lag speed three rail kick towards a red that will be safe. (not a sell out like the one rail kick)  The minimum penalty is 4 points awarded to the non-shooter. If the blue, pink, or black is contacted the penalty is the value of that colour. The incoming player can ask for the balls to be restored in the case of a miss and the shooter must make another attempt. At world class levels, players have replayed a shot 5, 6, or more times. It is better on occasion to give up 20 or 30 points in fouls rather than sell out and give up 50+ and the frame on the incoming player’s next break. (Break is what a run is called in snooker.)


2. If the white drops in a pocket, the incoming player must shoot from the D. At any time, they can shoot at a red that is in baulk, or the lowest colour available if all the reds have been potted.


3. Plants (combination shots) can be played on reds at any time and are legal. Plants cannot be played on colours. i.e. If you pot a red and shoot the pink, the cue ball must hit the pink first and it is the only ball that can be potted. If a red or other colour flukes in, it is a foul stroke.


4. See # 3.


5. See # 3 and here’s more info. Colours are always spotted on their own spot immediately after being potted whether a foul stroke or not. They are spotted on the highest value spot if their own spot is occupied or obstructed. Referee’s ball markers used when cleaning the white also can be used as a measuring device to ascertain availability of said spot. If the colour is potted and the cue ball scratches, the ball is spotted and the cue ball is in hand by the incoming shooter in the D. Penalty is awarded to the non-shooter for the value of the ball during the foul stroke or 4 points, whichever is larger.



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Recharge to Avoid Pool Burnout

Posted on 15. Dec, 2011 by .


Burnout: The dreaded risk of quitting pool due to overwhelming pressure and exhaustion of living the tough and stressful life of a pool player.

I’ve been playing lots of pool for more than twenty years and it has been my life for the past six years. Michael Reddick’s topic of “Recharging” is vital to my lifestyle so that I don’t get burned out.

Once upon a time, I read a book that was named or had the message “Work to live, not live to work.” The message was that once you quit working, you should have plenty of interests and hobbies to keep you busy. I guess there are people out there who don’t know what to do with their time once they retire. Pool is my job, but I cultivate plenty of other areas so that I don’t feel useless or lost while not playing pool. These pursuits also relax or excite me, thus recharging me for pool.

My recharging methods vary with situation and season. Summer, large tournament on the road, or the regular grind of being in my home town busy with lessons, leagues, and local tournaments.

Summer: During the summertime, I try to do some DIY projects around my house. This summer I repaired a segment of ruptured underground sprinkler tube amongst other maintenance chores. I hauled away a couple of truckloads of tree and bush clippings with the help of a pool teammate. This summer I spent some time visiting my family too. My folks are in Arizona during the winter, so I spent some time with them in Minnesota.

I still teach pool lessons through the summer, albeit a much lighter schedule. It’s still enough to keep me in pretty good stroke, but not at top gear.

Blistered Fingers from Bass Guitar Lessons in the summer

This past summer it kind of backfired. I admit I was not at all prepared for the summertime Seminole event in Canton, OH. Jesse Engel and I drove out to Fiddlestix in one day and my performance was rusty and frustrating. Usually in the fall, I’ve got a couple of weeks of leagues and serious practice under my belt before the first important tournament. Now that I think about it, my trip to Ohio was doomed to fail.  I accept and learned from my mistake. The story still has a happy ending — the Monday spent riding roller coasters at Cedar Point on the way home was the most exciting day of my summer.

Big Tournament on the Road: One of the great things about traveling for tournaments is the opportunity and freedom to explore the area and do some site seeing. If possible, I try to arrive a day before a tournament to rest up. This is especially important if traveling takes more than half a day. Getting to the event with enough time to settle in, relax, and warm up on the equipment makes for a more enjoyable and usually more successful tournament outing. Think about it, if the whole ordeal of getting to and playing in a tournament is less hectic, it will certainly be less exhausting and easier to repeat in a week or in the next month. I also love staying behind an extra day or two. I enjoy watching (or preferably playing in) the finals and not having to frantically pack up and store baggage Sunday morning before matches begin. Even better, I’ve enjoyed some terrific tourism Monday or Tuesday after an event when the rest of the world is back to work.


Regular Grind in Minnesota:  My routine when I’m around home is pretty pool heavy. Taking breaks, no matter how brief, help me keep my energy and interest level in pool high. I’ll watch a film, listen to music, read, or even overclock my pc as an enjoyable respite from the pool player lifestyle. It’s funny, but just last week I started playing again with an old favorite cue of mine and I watched a good portion of snooker’s UK Championship. Both of these things strangely tweaked my interest in pool and recharged my spirit and enthusiasm. I guess sometimes a little hair of the dog is the best cure for burnout!

Mike Fieldhammer


Miscellaneous items that I am sure to have around to recharge my energy:

Crossword puzzles. A stack of them in my special clipboard.

Cooler and healthy snacks…vital for R&R in the hotel room or on the road.

Pillow—Must for good night’s sleep whether I’m home or away.

Listening to music. FLAC format please on my quality headphones.

A book or an audio book if driving.

Click this Host Link to read Michael’s into to this month’s Pool Synergy topic and to read other articles on the same topic:

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Bankroll Management Follow Up

Posted on 09. Apr, 2011 by .


This morning a friend posted a link on my discussion forums referencing my January 1 blog post on bankroll management. (Link to the post)

His post on the forums goes to the Broccoli Wad website. Kudos to making me laugh. I hope I get some royalty checks in the mail.


Stealing my idea



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