When I was a child, until I turned six, we had a pool table in our basement. My sister and I weren't allowed to play on the table, but occasionally we'd be able to sneak down and roll a few balls around with our hands before we'd get caught. When I was six we moved to a different house and didn't take the pool table with us. I've often wondered how much better I might play today if I'd had a pool table for all those years as a child.
Once we'd moved into our new house, lacking a pool table of my own, I did the next best thing - I found a friend with a table in HIS house. I remember playing many many games of what we called "straight pool" - but all we really did was see who could make 8 balls first without scratching. Every scratch meant a ball would come back up. Sometimes we'd play this simple game for hours without a winner. I remember that every straight-in shot became an almost definite scratch shot since we hadn't discovered the stop shot yet.
Then for a while my Grandma had a miniature table upstairs. It was about 1.5' x 3', and it had real rubber cushions, and the cutest little set of balls. I'd play for a couple of hours every day after school on that thing. So great was my desire to shoot pool that I overcame my great fear of my Grandma's spooky upstairs to do it.
Once I entered Junior High other things took over my interest and I didn't pay much attention to pool until I was about sixteen, when, out of the blue, my Dad brought a bumper pool table home. We only had it for a few months, but during those few months I pretty much wore that table out. I had every cushion mapped out to where I could pretty much run the table at will. It was during this period that I really started to develop a stroke, and the ability to concentrate on what I was doing. The cue I had then didn't have a tip or even a ferrule on it, but I could still chalk the wood, and so I began to get a slight feel for the mysteries of english - and a great respect for the dreaded miscue. I remember playing a real game of bumper pool at a friend's house. I banked my five balls in without missing, and my friend didn't know what to think. Funny, I never got invited there again.
By the time I was eighteen, and in the Air Force, I'd finally figured out that if I had any real talent at anything it was pool. I've played pretty much ever since, with some time off for marriage and such, but I've always been at my happiest just shooting balls into holes.
There are hundred of books, tapes, instructors, etc that purport to teach the game of pool. I've put this site together mainly for my own use (and that of my students) to put a few extra tidbits that may not be covered in more conventional sources. Most of what I'll put here will be directly related to my game, and therefore not particularly useful to anyone else. For those of you hoping to find some interesting tips or information here it should be noted that this information is mostly intended for advanced players, so there's not a lot of basic information.