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Carom Billiard - 3-Cushion - Bert's column (NED)

Don't do math when you should be playing billiards

Posted by on October 30, 2015

Don't do math when you should be playing billiards

© Kozoom

Rugby players have it easy. Billiard players are the ones who know what pain is. There's no team to share the hurt with. We have no coach, no mechanic, no caddy, no doubles partner. There is never any help. If we get it wrong, there are no good excuses, only lots of bad ones.   

It can be scary, to walk SO alone. Which is why billiard players look for a crutch. The table is a jungle, and finding your way can wear you down and confuse you. You're looking for a compass, a navigating device. An arrow to point you in the right direction. Where to aim, how to hit. You know what would be great? If you had a set of instructions you could follow, in every possible position. You need a billiards manual. You need a SYSTEM!      

There you have it. We've been looking for the Holy Grail of 3-C billiards, a system, for a century now. Nobody has found it of course, because it does not exist. All tables are different and what is true on one, is a lie on another.  But good attempts have been made to catch the rainbow and put it in a box. People have come up with books full of diagrams, hours of video  and wonderful animations, and even though their calculations could drive Stephen Hawking  insane, some of their work is accurate and admirable.

And some of it is total crap. In this article, I want to ignore the good of the systems and their educational value for a second, and focus on the nonsense that is all over the internet these days. The diagrams below come from FIVE different sources, and there are many more. I have not mentioned the authors or used the original layout, because I don't want to offend people I like, who love the sport and do fine work. But it's my job to warn the 0.4, the 0.6 and even the 0.8 player that he is in danger of wasting practice hours and, more importantly, might even damage his natural feel for the game if he gets lost in this mad world of quadratic equations with round balls. 

 diagram 1

1) Because it never comes up. I've played 34 seasons of competitive 3-C now, and this problem has presented itself maybe twice. If you like the diagram: study the calculations that come with it, practice the shot on your table, memorize it all, and put it to good use in 2031. On a very different table.  

Diagram 2

2) Because for this line, the difference between table X and table Y is not two or three points. It could be as much as a diamond and a half. Stroke, speed, the condition of the balls: it can easily add 6 points of length to this line, or take 12 away from it. Play a few reversing english shots during warm-up, THAT will help. Studying a "system"  for this position is a total waste of time.  

Diagram 3

3) Because you have a cue, and eyesight. And that is really all you need, to make this shot.  If you look at this position and start to add and subtract, there is not much of a future for you in 3-C billiards.   

Diagram 4

4) Because the (immense) difficulty of the shot has nothing to do with the diamonds. This is 80 % technique, 19 % courage and 1 % knowledge. You need an exceptionally straight stroke and perfect aim for this shot, and even if you have it, you'll still miss more often than you'll score. Knowing the correct spot to hit on the left short rail and the bottom long rail is not much help.    

Diagram 5

5) Because no player in his right mind would ever pick the solution in the diagram. This may be a fun calculating game for nerds who like billiards, but it is not an educational tool. Do you seriously want to learn the correct way to play the wrong shot?  

And have you noticed how nicely the 2nd and 3d ball are always side by side in these diagrams? In my league matches, they are always 30 cm apart, not 5.  

If some country, let's say Scotland, would put me in charge of schooling their many talented 12 - 18 year-old 3-C players, I would not expose the bonny lads and lasses to a diamond system until they had a 0.8 average, a reliable stroke and a well-developed billiards intuition.  

The five diagrams above do not, let me say it again, do not represent the common sense side of systems. The Túzüls, van Kuyks and Eflers know very well what happens on a table. I picked examples that show you where the numerologists lose sight of the reality of our game. But even at its best, a diamond system has two dimensions, and the game has three. I can't say this often enough:

"Billiard balls obey the laws of physics, and could not care less about the laws of mathematics."



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My Comments

Thats right.

He had very good players in a pool hall I went by chance I wanted to play billiards 3c.
I decided to play billiards 3C 2.5 years ago. (Free game I played years ago and I was no stranger to the pool).
A system 3c billiards, saying began to research the internet. I started working on systems such as a students work in the most difficult exam. the PC game systems I've tried out. I worked for months and I played my first game, go to the billiard room with a big disappointment. (Cue ball did stand beside accounts for minutes)

2.5 years, so why don't succeed, I continued to study more systems

I wrote two encyclopedias enough to collect data about the system until now.
 Every beat of my, I can not throw the ball from the calculation of the amount of thickness effects.
The average was not no increase. (In theory very good. But too bad practice)
Sometimes I get very good numbers, but I can not make a steady game.
And now I want to get rid of it. Because I love this game

Message 1/6 - Publish at October 30, 2015 4:55 PM

Spot on
Another excellent column, Bert. One more point I think should be addressed. All five diagrams you chose, and 90% of the system diagrams I have ever seen, suffer from an insurmountable fault. The lines do not represent even the approximate path of the balls because the lines touch the balls and the cushions. Diagram 3 is a prime example. With that line of aim to the first cushion, you will hit the yellow full in the face. The second cushion contact point must be much closer to the yellow.

Message 2/6 - Publish at October 30, 2015 5:22 PM

Great Post
If a System was 100% accurate, nobody will missed a shot!!, Glad you're doing this column, I enjoy very much.

Message 3/6 - Publish at October 30, 2015 7:15 PM

good column
Thanks Bert.

Message 4/6 - Publish at November 1, 2015 1:39 PM

Grateful for confirmation!
Bert, after playing this beautiful game now for 3 years (and that, after 40 years of competitive pocket billiards) and struggling with systems, you have confirmed my growing suspicions: systems are tools to serve, as needed, a carom billiards player who already has the technique, vision and patience to identify solutions and apply common sense and creativity while adjusting those solutions for dynamic playing conditions we will always face. This column should be read together with your .6 to 1.6 column last month.

There is hope for better play with consistent, disciplined practice in the fullness of time! Thanks again!

Message 5/6 - Publish at November 2, 2015 4:20 AM

beneath the surface
beneath the surface
Excellent reading
I can't find any systems to learn in the first place nor have anyone to guide me along the way in my area

I have my own table, I'm developing intuition,

I see myself attempting several of the shots you displayed, having little to no success

Not because of a system only because that's all I can see and as you stated, some are incredibly low percentage of being made, as I know from experience

I see why so many rave about your articles this is the first I've read but not the last

Message 6/6 - Publish at January 14, 2016 3:29 AM

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