Shane: “I feel it’s just the beginning”

To commemorate Shane Van Boening's second straight win as the Player of the Year, we sat down with him at the 2015 Derby City Classic and conducted the following interview... Shane, congratulations on being named the Player of the Year. What was the highlight of the year for you?

Shane Van Boening: Well, I would say there were two major highlights. One was winning my third consecutive U.S. Open Championship, my fourth U.S. Open in total, and the other one was winning the World Pool Masters which is one I have wanted to win for the last ten years. It is a real honor for me to win the World Pool Masters.

AZB: Last October you won your third consecutive U.S. Open. Are there some events where you just find yourself always falling into that high gear?

Shane: I felt like I was playing my best pool when I won the U.S. Open, especially how I played in the finals. I think I shot my best rating of the tournament then. I just felt like I was playing my best.

AZB: You got the monkey off of your back by winning overseas at the Masters. But then you had a less than stellar showing at the Mosconi Cup where you were missing shots and kicks that are normally routine for you. Pundits would say it was the venue or the pressure but what is your take on it?

Shane: Well, I felt like I could've won. But when you have a crowd that kind of wants you to lose and they are making noises when you shoot and you are worried about your team there are just a lot of things going on in the Mosconi Cup. I am trying to play 100% but I am also trying to help my team-mates who have a lack of experience playing in the Mosconi Cup and being in front of a big crowd like that in Blackpool. It's a lot of work to try and keep your team on track and trying to help them to win and that put a lot of stress on me, trying to help the team as well as trying to win my own matches. I would have to say I missed a couple of shots and I made a few mistakes, I could have done better but I am going to have to say it was a learning experience and I will do things different in the coming years to help my team and help myself.

AZB: Pool has fewer events in the USA than in the past. Are you planning on spending more time overseas playing this year?

Shane: No, I have already been traveling all around the world, to China and and different other countries. I travel to five or six other countries every year. So it will be the same. Wherever there is a tournament is where I will go. And wherever the money is, is where I will go.

AZB: For the last couple of years during your off time at the holiday season we see you on social media spending time fishing or going out with friends when years ago you were known for never putting down your cue. What has changed and what has it brought to your game?

Shane: It's the age. As you get older you realize there are other things in life you need to do. It can't be everything about pool. Psychologically if you just focus on one thing it can make you crazy and you lose your friends and making new friends and keeping old ones is important. That's why I'd rather go home and stay with my friends. I haven't been practicing as much as I did when I was a youngster because it takes a toll on your body and you just can't do it. I just feel I need to enjoy my life more now (chuckles).

AZB: How many more years do you intend to play? 

Shane: I will probably play until I am about 45 years old. I'm 31 right now, I probably have a good ten years and that's when I'm going to hit the peak.

AZB: So you feel like you're going to play even better in the next ten years?

Shane: Yes (smiles), I feel it's just the beginning! ...and then there will be a lot of young players coming up and beating me and I realize that. There's always gonna be better players coming after you, that's just the way the sport is.

AZB: You have been at the top of the AZB Money List for a number of years and have now won over a million dollars since 2007. What are the main reasons you have had so much more success than your peers?

Shane: I have goals in my life and every year I set new goals but most of the time I do not worry about how much money I win. Every time I go on a trip I try to make a profit whether I am traveling overseas or here in the States. And I put $1,000 in cash in my pocket and the goal for the trip is to turn that into $10,000. 

It is hard for pool players to make a living. There are probably a thousand of them around the world and there is not enough money to go around for everyone. It is certainly not easy to make $100,000 or $200,000 per year. I have made 1.2 million in my whole career and it is just a lot of work to keep winning and keep practicing enough to win. To stay at that level is very difficult.

AZB: You're the most successful player in the country. Do you ever consider the other roads in the industry that might be open to you? Do you have any interest in being a teacher or opening a room or promoting events, etc?

Shane: I think you can only do one thing at a time. If you are going to open a room then you are not going to be a full-time player anymore. It takes too much time to care for your business. I have studied other players who own rooms and try to go out and play pro pool and I just do not think it is possible to do both at the same time. Since I have to choose one thing, right now I choose to be a player and do all the travel that involves.

AZB: You have achieved so much. With that in mind, where do you go from here? What are your goals for 2015?

Shane: I have many goals that are not public but one that is is that I want to win the World 9-Ball Championship. Winning that title would be mission accomplished for every game I play. I have already won the World Pool Masters, the World Cup of Pool, the Derby City Championship. There are many tournaments that I have won but there is one missing and that is the World 9-Ball Championship.


We would like to thank our partners at Saluc Yves Bilquin and Ivan Lee with Aramith Ball and Simonis Cloth for their assistance in creating this award.

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