the Monk
Learning Tools: The Lesson

How is your practice going? Even the great ones have to put their time in the trenches. When it comes to making the tough shot, the results are often directly related to how much you have been on the table practicing. I've faced tough shots for the match and told myself I deserve it because I put my time in. With this kind of attitude, you are able to deliver a better stroke. Confidence comes from practice.

With The Lesson, you have a manual for practice. I delivered a fine stroke on one of "the deadly pairs" the other day. A fellow player came over and asked me to demonstrate that shot again. I did. I shot it several times with ease. He returned to his table and could not succeed with the shot. His cue ball was all over the place. Right away, I knew he had not been doing the 2-7-2 work. While he was a talented player, he had not experienced the all around building of his stroke. He could not get the shot, because he did not have the stroke. When I finished The Lesson, I decided I would re-enter the sport as a Player. I had it all right in my hands. All I needed to do is master The Lesson.

I'm getting letters from all over the world. The Lesson has changed the way people practice. The no longer spend endless hours on shots. They work on their stroke. The stroke skills is what gives them the ability to succeed. It won't happen without stroke skills.

Are you stuck in a certain level and can't seem to move forward. No matter what you do, you can't seem to break out of the level you are in. This is a common problem. I just finished a three day session with Sandra Jensen. She is from Kansas City and was stuck in the same level for years. Within two days, she was on her way to a new game. I helped her understand the art of hitting the cue ball. There is a subtle art. There is a specific focus. It is all found in the 2-7-2 program in The Lesson. If you can take the time to master the four strokes of pool and the variations of each one, you will unlock the restraints on your game, and open the door to unlimited possiblity. That is what we all want. We want to move forward and explore just how far we can go. To improve is to keep coming back to the game.

I watched Johnny Archer play a match in Virginia. During a run out, he used a shot from The Lesson. I went to Chicago to see him win the World Nine Ball Open and he again used shots from The Lesson. In Boston, I told my friend that I would nudge her when Johnny used a shot from The Lesson. She is a student of my work and was able to recognize the shots Johnny used. Johnny didn't learn these shots from The Lesson. He knew them long before I wrote that book. Since my work is totally about stroke development, it stands to reason that the greatest player today is using this material.

How do you get as good as Johnny? This would be a lofty goal. To begin your journey towards this level of play, you must lay a solid foundation to your game. You cannot shoot the shots Johnny does without a good solid stroke. I do not teach shots. I teach skill. For skill is the only way you will master shots. This is why I encourage you to practice. Practicing the right things, helps to develop your stroke.

The Monk, November, 1997

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