Target Pool by Kim Davenport
The lovely Trigger has ask us PoolSynergy columnists to write what we think would be a great Pool Instruction book/video gift for that special pool player in your life. Well, my recommendation is a book that came out a while ago and is quite a tricky thing to get your hands on. Some lucky players are fortunately to find it on EBay every now and then, some gain it through inheritance or donation. My favorite pool book ever is Kim Davenport’s Target Pool. I love it because it’s not a book I’ve got to read and consume like a textbook but instead is a GAME I can play to learn.
Target Pool is a game you can play by yourself, with others, or even can run as a tournament. It helps players of all levels learn position play, cue ball control, creative shot selections and stroke corrections. I really enjoy this game and it’s something Tony and I enjoy playing together — with TWEAKED rule adjustments for our respective handicaps of course. i.e. I get 4 shots at the target, he gets 2. We then average our score.
The book comes in a box that includes the different shots layouts with instructions on how to hit the target, two TARGETs that you place on the table and aim for, and a Scorecard for keeping track of your target scores. The book is divided into Courses (Chapters) that specialize on particular workouts. They include:
- English Shots
- Draw Shots
- Cheating the Pocket Shots
- Riding the Rails
- Even Banking
- & Many More
I decided to take the game to my weekly NAPL league match and it was a HUGE hit at the poolroom. Everyone was intrigued and wanted a chance at the shots that were presented.
So EVERYONE was actually ‘practicing pool’ without really knowing they were practicing.
Similar to playing the ghost, you are distracted by the game you are playing, and unaware that you are actually learning and practicing too. Pool players are competitors by nature. The problem is, practicing a shot can be rather boring but if you can distract yourself by keeping a score and have the gimmick of a target on the table to give you a solid goal to achieve, it changes your whole perception of practicing.I was once playing it with my friend Naldo and professional pool player Zion Zvi waltzed over asking what we were doing. He’d never seen Target Pool before and was intrigued. To his surprised, even he struggled to find the right mix of English, speed and accuracy to hit a bull’s-eye often. The higher courses will challenge even the top level players. The game was so popular amongst the pros at one point that back around 1995, many of the Pro Billiards Tour (the PBT) stops held Target Pool tournaments in unison with their regular tour stops. Tony said he finish 2nd in one, losing to Rafael Martinez by 1 point (Ouch!)
Kim Davenport really did a fantastic job with this invention and I wish it were republished and marketed again as I feel so many would be greatly helped by it’s knowledge and playful teaching methods.
I wish I could help you get a hold of these box-sets but like I said earlier, they are really tough to come by. Ask around in you area and see if you might have a friend that has a copy. I guarantee you won’t want to give it back so quickly!
Happy Holiday to all my Pool Enthusiasts out there!!
A video from our NAPL night: