It may seem like the answer is obvious…..good players who win make for a winning pool team. Of course, that is true, but here are some other “not so obvious” things that can also separate the winning teams from the others.
1. Attendance. A team that always has several players available at the match at all times does not have to worry about “getting the right matchup” based on what the other team does. Winning the game on the table is hard enough without having to worry if your next player will be there in time or if the person shooting is also the scorekeeper and coach for their own match. The player at the table should be able to focus 100% on his/her match and should not be in a hurry to finish that match because they have to be somewhere else.
2. Lack of “Team Drama”. Related to #1 above, it is hard to be focused on the task at hand on the pool table if you or others on your team are arguing. It is distracting and will probably make the player shooting not shoot to their ability.
3. Know your players. Some players will shoot better if they can be 100% focused on their pool game and not talking to anyone even when their opponent is at the table. Other players will play better if they are talking/joking with their teammates when their opponent is at the table. Some players can shoot well while they are eating their wings. Others…like me… can not. If your player is playing poorly on a given night, they might respond favorably from some gentle “ribbing” from the teammates. Other players will play worse. Your job as a good teammate is to make the conditions favorable for the particular player shooting to play their best game.
4. Having other players engaged in the match. A “3” or a “4” will probably have a better chance of winning their match if there is at least one higher skilled player (the “coach”) paying attention and “ready to pounce” with a timeout if the opportunity presents itself. This does not mean that the coach should use both timeouts every game. The ideal coach – player relationship is a skillful and attentive coach who can coach the player to their ability, and a player who is open to getting advice from the coach.
5. Practice. Every team / player has different things that they want to get out of pool league. Some teams enjoy getting together with friends and sharing some laughs while playing a game that they enjoy. Trying to improve their game is not a prime concern. There is nothing wrong with that if the team is on the same page about expectations. Other teams are more competitive. The players are putting in several hours or more each week in practice to try to improve. A player wishing to improve should try to get some practice in during the week outside of pool league. However, much can be learned also by watching good players shoot in their league match and trying to learn strategies ( safeties, pattern play, etc) that they use on a regular basis.
6. Don’t get blindingly drunk. I don’t think any explanation is needed. You may think you shoot better drunk. You don’t. Having a couple drinks might “lift the edge” and help, but you should stay below the point where you’d fail a sobriety test if you want to increase your chances of winning.
These are just a few things that come to mind…there are many others. Happy shooting!!