Ray Martins The 99 Critical Shot in Pool
This book should be required reading for anyone that wants to improve their game. Ray Martin is a no-nonsense kind of guy and it really shows in his book. His “just the facts” approach to instruction is a breath of fresh air. This book has been around a long time and it continues to be at the head of the pack as far as instructional materials are concerned.
What surprises me the most about this book are the people who buy it, read some of it and put it on a shelf to collect dust without ever really giving it a serious effort. I know a guy that bought this book and still asks me how to play a certain shot. I tell him, “You got the answer, its been sitting on your shelf for over a year!” This book wont make you a better player, but it will tell you what you need to know to make yourself a better player.
Do you ever sit and watch other players (good ones) and say “Wait a minute, how did they make that shot?” Well, chances are that the answer is in Ray Martins book. At first glance you may think that Ray has pulled a fast one on you. I remember thinking all he was doing was introducing 30 shots or so and showing different variations of them, but that simply isn’t the case. Ray does a great job of illustrating shots that come up allot more than you think and shows you the best way to deal with them when they do. He has an impressive background in straight pool that shows in his shot selection. He explains how to hit each shot, what english to use and how hard or soft to hit the cue ball.
Ray is a big proponent of keeping things simple. He comes from the same school of thought that dictates that you don’t move the cue ball any more than necessary. Plans changes with every hit of the cue ball so its important be able to change your strategy during the match.
The biggest thing I took away from this book is confidence that I now knew how to deal with certain shots that my opponents most likely wont know. If you can just study 10 shots a week, master them and memorize them, your game will take a huge leap by the time you finish the book. If nothing else you should gain a valuable new perspective on how to look at table layouts and that alone will be worth the purchase price.
Get this book, read it and memorize it. Then, 6 months later do it again. You wont be sorry. You can’t go wrong with this book. If it doesn’t help you it’s either your fault or you are already so good that all instruction is beneath you! (I’m betting is your fault!)
Have you shot all 99 shots?