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Carom Billiard - General - Kozoom Interview

Juanjo Trilles: the teachings of a billiard lover

Posted by on September 7, 2015

Juanjo Trilles: the teachings of a billiard lover

© Kozoom
Juanjo Trilles with the two players for his battle in three cushion: Dick Jaspers and Frédéric Caudron

MARXUQUERA - Juanjo Trilles is a lover, a student, and, allow us to express it in this way, a Billiard Professor with capital letters. His experiences in our sport have not left anybody indifferent. His contribution is not just a grain of sand but rather a whole sand beach for those that, as himself, love the things well done, based on thorough work and deep observations, investigations and knowledge.

His articles and videos in his web on billiards, where anybody may study his works, are a true encyclopedia, another bible of our sport.

Some time ago we wanted to inquire into his latest works on billiards and into a 'secret' that allows incredible progression in the three cushion billiard, the most extended discipline across the planet in the world of caroms. Juan Fraile from Kozoom sent him a questionnaire and his responses were immediate:

Juanjo Trilles to Mr. Juan Fraile:

Good questions. I hope my answers will result convincing.

My congratulations to you and Fernando Requena for devoting important efforts to maintain among followers the fire of love for this wonderful sport-game-art named carom billiard.

Kozoom/Juan Fraile: About a year ago, I believe that through YouTube, you declared to have the intention to write a method for a rapid playing improvement to the students interested in the three cushion billiard game. Can you tell me something about that?

Juanjo Trilles: It had always called my attention a very well-known and accepted fact: there are many fine 3 cushion players (no champions) with averages per entry between 0.7 and 0.8 that recognize that their playing level has not noticeably improved along the last... 20 or 30 years, whereas the great champions have reached averages of two and more. Why this difference? Where the obstacle preventing the progression stands? Is it possible to overcome it? And if so, how?

To find the answers to the above questions I devoted several months to the observation and analysis of such outstanding phenomenon by designing a number of different shot tests to be performed by several players of different skill levels. Then, applying statistical analysis to the results I reached a surprising conclusion, although a very logical one, but constantly unnoticed to the vast majority of players and also to most scholars and experts. That is the reason why I call it a 'secret'. Then I decided to publish the methodology employed and the conclusions reached. The document with the information has been titled ‘Secrets of 3 Cushion Billiard' in English and ‘Secretos del Billar a 3 Bandas' in Spanish. Both documents can be downloaded free from the Internet web page www.juanjotrillesschool.com.

Kozoom J.F: You mentioned a revolutionary and effective method. We already know methods recommended by Blomdahl (different shots from the usual ones), the continuous and stubborn daily practice suggested by Ceulemans. What are the basis of the method you propose?
J.T: Allow me first to present some background. To start, it was necessary to attain a thorough understanding of the essential aspects intervening in the 3 cushion game, which can be synthetized as explained here: Every shot is carried out in two phases: A) CONCEPTION and B) EXECUTION.
A) In the CONCEPTION phase the player observes the balls' position, mentally imagines the trajectory that must be followed by ball 1 and determines the right values of the ‘shot parameters', being: 1- Direction, meaning the alignment of the cue to push ball 1 in the correct direction to hit ball 2 or a cushion in the desired point. 2 - Effect, or the point in the visible hemisphere of the ball 1 where the cue must touch it in order to generate the adequate ball's rotation. 3 - Power, being the velocity that ball 1 will acquire as a result of the cue impact, and 4 - Nature, that establishes whether the hit must be dragged or curt.
B) The second phase is the EXECUTION, which is performed by means of the 'shot mechanism' of the player, involving the body position and the cue movement. The goal of the shot mechanism is to transmit to ball 1 the movement that will accomplish the already determined value of the parameters in the CONCEPTION phase, that is to say, Direction, Effect, Power and Nature.

The quality of the shot mechanism, which in turn is the quality of the EXECUTION must be measured by two factors: 1 - Precision, meaning the exactitude with which the four parameters of the CONCEPTION phase are procured when hitting the ball, and 2 - Uniformity, measuring the consistency of the precision along a significant number of repetitions of the same shot.

All this is explained with detail in the JJ Carom Method, which can be read as a separate document and also as part of the 'Secrets of 3 Cushion Billiard'. Both documents can be down loaded from the web www.juanjotrillesschool.com

Well, the 'secret' that is revealed in these works, as the main responsible for the progress blockage in most players is that their Shot Mechanism lacks Precision and Uniformity and, worse, the player is not aware of it, and consequently, he does not devote any effort to improve it. Normally, the player erroneously thinks that the problem is in the CONCEPTION parameters (Direction, Effect, Power and Nature) for each position of the balls and devotes his efforts in improving them, instead of working his poor Shot Mechanism. For that reason the progression stops since the root of the problem is in the EXECUTION and not in the CONCEPTION.

The JJ Carom Method proposes several exercises that are intended to improve the Precision and Uniformity in the Shot Mechanism of the player. For example, an important clue that the method unveils is that, when the cue is about to hit the ball, the player must look only to the point where the cue must impact ball 1 and forget about looking to ball 2, as normally do most players, who are unaware of the fact that that, if they look at ball 2, the cue will impact ball 1 in a different point from what they expect, and not knowing that this deviation is in general the true cause of losing the carom.

Kozoom J.F: You also said that by practicing your method just one hour daily along one year would be enough for achieving an astonishing improvement in the playing level. Aren`t you afraid that such a promise could upset even Mr. Raymond Ceulemans?
J.T: I tested the method on myself and found that in less than one year I had reached and surpassed an average of 1, starting from a level as low as 0.4. Other players that have also tried the method have reported spectacular improvements in only a few months. And I can assure you that any player that decides to follow the JJ Carom method will be very pleased with the result. The only obstacle is that the method requires that the student devotes time to follow the exercises designed to improve his shot, and unfortunately, this is a little bit boring. Normally, the player prefers to play games. But one must understand that rational practicing is necessary in order to achieve a good level in any discipline. Take for instance sports or musical instrument interpretation. One must, in the first place, work and polish his execution mechanism in order to accomplish technical mastery, because without going through this somewhat tedious stage, he will never go beyond a modest level of performance.

Kozoom J.F: Any seasoned billiard player that has not reached the magic average of "1"... almost surely will pay whatever is asked for in order to obtain the 'philosopher's stone' that you offer. So, what are you asking in return for conducting the student through the seemingly utopic path that leads to the promised goal?
J.T: The only motivation behind my efforts to study and designing a learning method was the purpose and pleasure of carrying out a thorough investigation on the matter. I never had any intention of obtaining people's recognition and much less any income, which, I must admit, I do not need. If my work contributes to stimulate the billiard players towards improving their playing level, this will be for me the only desired reward.

Diner time during the challenge with Juanjo Trilles, former UMB president Jean Claude Dupont, Enny, Jesscica Caudron, Frédéric Caudron, Angèle Ceulemans, Raymond Ceulemans and Dick Jaspers.

Kozoom J.F: Mr Juanjo Trilles, as it can be seen in many videos, you have amazed many people with your fantasy shots. Do you also have videos showing your three cushion playing?
J.T: I want to say that before I got familiarized with the 3 cushion world I devoted a time investigating the artistic modality of billiard games, including not only the shots within the official program but also the free-fantasy ones outside the program. I started from scratch because I had no idea whatsoever about the required technique to produce the counter-intuitive and almost devilish trajectories followed by the ball as a consequence of just a single impact with the cue. Well, I can say that, in spite of my old age (70 years), I achieved, in only 9 months of practice, following the JJ Carom method applied to artistic playing, a technical dominance of the artistic shots that, in the opinion of many experts, has reached the highest level, comparable to the one exhibited by the most celebrated players in the world in this discipline. This can be verified in the TRAINING VIDEOS and the EXHIBITION VIDEOS that are contained in the already mentioned web page: www.juanjotrillesschool.com.

I would like to take this opportunity to express here my gratitude to one of the greatest artistic players: My admired Mexican friend Mr. Roberto Rojas, who spent three weeks living in my house. We shared unforgettable playing sessions in my billiard table where he gave me very wise advices. Anyone interested may watch the video ‘JTCup 2011 - Volume V. The 50 Figures' downloaded from the EXHIBITION VIDEOS in the above mentioned web. With respect to your question, it is evident that if an artistic player does not have a true mastery of the required technique, he will not be capable to record a video with a single top-class artistic carom, and hence the published videos of artistic shots from many players are always credible. But in 3 cushion, any acceptable player may record difficult caroms that have been previously failed many times and also he could exhibit a high number of caroms apparently made from a single entrance without being true. For that reason, the videos showing 3 cushion caroms are only credible when they are recorded within a championship or competition with public and referee. This does not apply in my case since I do not participate in any competition. I have always played exclusively for pleasure and only with friends.

Juanjo Trilles with the artistic players he invited in his room for a tournament in 2012

Kozoom J.F: There are people who declare that in 3 cushion billiard it is better to follow ‘systems' that use the signals on the table. Others, on the contrary, prefer to follow the ‘feeling' that one develops with practice. What does Juanjo Trilles think on this subject?
J.T: I have no doubts on this matter. Not only have I reached the conclusion as a result of my own investigations. Two living world champions with the most astonishing records of success, namely Raymond Ceulemans and Frederic Caudrón confessed separately to me in my own house, that, although they have published books containing systems of table signals to help beginners, they do play by ‘feeling' and they admit that if players want to reach high entrance averages, say 1.5 or more, it is necessary that they develop and use the feeling as their playing basis. It is a fact that, if a player has worked his shot mechanism to the point of reaching a good precision and uniformity, he will automatically develop a natural feeling that, when bending on the table for preparing the shot, and after imagining the trajectory that ball 1 must follow, will tell him intuitively the exact CONCEPTION parameters (Direction, Effect, Power and Nature) for each balls' position. Any champion will agree with this, even if he has mainly used signal systems during his learning years.
I want to go beyond and add, knowing that this will not please many readers, that the calculations using systems based on table signals lack the required accuracy and they may bring the danger of installing in the student a loss of confidence in his natural playing, preventing in many cases the development of a sound feeling that should be essential to become a top-class player. I suggest therefore to forget all signal systems from the very beginning of the learning period and forever. Instead, I advise to concentrate in improving the ‘precision' and ‘uniformity' of the shot mechanism. That, and only that, will surely lead to the highest playing levels.

Kozoom J.F: Why is billiards, in your opinion, a minority sport? Is it due to the difficulty to obtain sponsoring? Or to the slender capacity of the managing people?
J.T: Billiard games, that traditionally have had the consideration of a sport for all social stratus and ages has lost, along the past decade, its attractiveness to today's youth because young people prefer to dedicate their free time to play console games and to heavily participate in social networks. This is an unstoppable tendency. With the fortunate exception of South Korea, where billiard is a national sport with many thousands of enthusiastic players and clubs, we must surrender to the evidence that this wonderful sport will be confined to minority niches.

My opinion is that it is necessary to improve the structure of the federations' networks in order to create and maintain channels for institutional funding, always recognizing that billiards will be a sport with little impact in the culture of the masses of today and tomorrow, clearly orientated to the universal use of ‘smartphones', ‘tablets', video games and social networks. I am sorry for not being more optimistic. However I do believe that there will always be sensible and intelligent people who will appreciate the carom billiard as a shining exponent of the combination of sport, science and beauty, and therefore its survival is guaranteed.

The responsible people involved in the world of billiards have in front a difficult but interesting challenge. It should be honest to mention here the valuable work carried out by the former UMB president, Mr. Jean-Claude Dupont and by the present one Sr.Fernando Requena, and, obviously and above all, to praise the outstanding daily labor carried out by this ‘rara avis' of utmost importance for maintaining the interest for billiards. I am referring to the Kozoom organization, its general manager Mr. Mr. Xavier Carrer with his team, and also to specialized journalists like you.

Kozoom J.F: Will there be a second edition of the challenge between Caudron and Jaspers or other billiard event in Marxuquera?
J.T: I cannot predict the future. It could be possible, but at this moment there is not any project of that kind on the desk.

Kozoom J.F: Thank you very much and we hope that Juanjo Trilles will continue loving and pouring his knowledge to the billiard world.

Many thanks for the translation in English, Mr Juanjo!!

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