The 99 Critical Shots in Pool: Everything You Need to Know to Learn and Master the Game Paperback – Oct 5 1993
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From the Inside Flap
Taking a cue from the millions of younger Americans who have recently rediscovered pool, Times Books has revamped and redesigned this classic guide to the sport.
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Top Customer Reviews
The book starts out with basic shots, then builds in complexity. At no point is the player suddenly thrown into the deep end, but many of the shots are sufficiently detailed to force the player to concentrate on the mechanics necessary for well played pool.
Some of the diagrams could be plotted better, but they didn't detract from my learning. When I saw that a shot wasn't playing out like it was diagrammed, I analyzed it to see why the deviation was happening; I also experimented with different stroke speeds and English to see how they effected the shot. This experimentation taught me a lot. No other pool instruction book has encouraged me to experiment and analyze as much as 99 Critical Shots has.
The book is not without it's drawbacks. This is a 220 page book. Of that, 50 pages are devoted to The Official Rules and Glossary of Terms. An additional 25 pages skim the basics of shooting form, etc. That leaves only 145 pages for the meat of the book, the 99 critical shots. Of the 99 shots, 22 are devoted to break shots for straight pool. If, like me, you play only 8-ball and 9-ball, then this book should be called "The 77 Critical Shots in Pool" because you'll never use the other 22. So, for me, this 220 page book has only 107 useful pages.
The format of the shots section is great. Each shot includes a diagram of the whole table layout, a diagram of the cue ball showing exactly where to strike it to impart the draw, follow or English, and a text description of the shot. As others have pointed out, the text refers to a black ball (the object ball) and gray balls (all other balls), yet they are indistinguishable in the diagrams; they both look black. This is an annoyance, but does not keep you from understanding the author's intentions. Between the text description and the lines indicating the ball paths, I was always able to determine which ball was the object ball.
If I still had my own pool table, I would have this book sitting right next to it.Read more ›
First, the book is filled with useful information that appeals to both beginner, intermediate, and expert pool players. For beginners, it covers stance, bridge in a concise and no-nonsense way with diagrams. Yet the book doesn't belabor these important yet simple fundamentals. For intermediate players, the book describes in simple terms the concepts of english, throw, leave, etc... And for experts, there's plenty of tips on straight pool, etc..
But what makes the book stand-out from the concept is the PRESENTATION. 99 pool shots ranging from the simple to the complex, spanning every concept from english, throw, bank shots, etc are presented. Since reading the book last week, I have seen over 25 of these shots in my games and used the techniques presented.
But all this aside...I'm giving this book 5 stars for 1 reason -- it works! It improved my game. I think it'll improve your's...
Reading this book is sure to improve your game. It worked for me!
The other night I was playing eight-ball and was in a virtually impossible position to make a shot. Using a little imagination and three principles I learned a long time ago from the 99 Critical Shots, I was able to make a really slick shot, instead of playing a safety.
However, this is NOT a book of trick shots. It is a book of fundamental principles, many of which I doubt you can learn on your own (at least, I couldn't have). In fact, the book does an excellent job of emphasizing that pool is not about trick shots, but about controlling your position.
As a side note, about ten years ago I was playing straight pool in Elizabeth, NJ. I had discovered the 99 Critical Shots three or four years earlier. There was a guy who was watching me play pool for a half-hour, until his table was called. Then, he picked up his case and left. Spray-painted across the case was "Ray Martin".
Anytime I feel myself falling into a slump, I crack this book and review the shot fundamentals-- stance, pace, grip, english, and position play. It helps me get back on track to a consistent game.
The shots described in this book do come up every time in at least one form or another. It's a great book for any level billiard enthusiast and for any billiard game. I do agree with one reviewer; however, when he stated that the last 20 or so shots deal with the 'straight pool' game. Nevertheless, there is a good deal of information that will help you improve your game or get it back on track to run-out or crack the rack. :-)
Most recent customer reviews
Best book in billiards. If you want to improve your game, buy this book! I saw improvement in my game within the first two weeks.Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
Excellent book, worth reading for anyone who is serious about pool or wants o get serious about pool.Published 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
Of The 23 trillion or so possible pool table layouts, the author has distilled them down to 99 different recurring situations in this best seller book. Read morePublished on Dec 31 2003
I got this book as a rookie. I started practicing about 5 days a week and thought I should get a book. This was a good book for practicing a few shots. Read morePublished on Nov. 11 2003 by S. Brooks
I had the good fortune of finding this book right after I decided I wanted to really learn to shoot pool (as opposed to just bang balls around at bars). Read morePublished on April 17 2003
This is my third billiard book (one more to go for now) and this was by far the most informative. The illustrations and explanations were clear and understandable. Read morePublished on May 21 2002 by Amazon Customer
As a poolplayer, and a personal friend of Ray Martin, I wholeheartedly recommend this book to beginners, intermediates, and professionals. Read morePublished on April 29 2002 by W. Bailey
I got this book as an intermediate player and it really has not helped my game. I think there are better books out there, so shop around.Published on April 7 2002 by Steven G.
This book really works. After I had read this book once and looked at the table next day I was surprised how many new shots I could see and, more important, make.Published on April 5 2002 by Amazon Customer