Using Data to Improve Your Game

Objective/subjective evaluations of your game

How do you know when you are on top of your pool game?  We regularly hear players talk about “how well they are hitting them,” but with comments like that what do we really know?  Performance appraisal is this week’s article, as how you grade your play will make a big difference when it comes to your confidence, focus, motivation, and resiliency as they contribute to your future success.

Types of measurement

There are two ways to measure a performance: objectively and subjectively.  Objective measurements are made by counting things, like how many balls you made and games you won.  Objective measurements are nice in that it keeps scoring equal among participants, meaning that it is very easy to count observable evidence.  Subjective measurements are fuzzier in that they rely on a person’s biased opinion — for example, a player might say he’s not playing well, but beyond his opinion there is no evidence to back up the claim.  

Interestingly, both means of measurement are good for pool players.  Objective measurements, especially as this applies to how many games you win, are important as they provide truth relating to your game.  For example, if you won 3 games and lost 3 games, the numbers show that you are a .500 player (average).  With this number you can set future goals that include a greater number of wins.  Subjective measurements, while not nearly as accurate, still impact a player’s game.  For example, if you feel like your game is improving but have yet to win a tournament, the confidence you have in your game will help you stay focused and confident as you commit to improving your game.  Not everything can be observed and counted, especially as this applies to how we feel about ourselves, making subjective measurements important to note.

Apply what you learn

Regardless of whether it is objective or subjective measurement, what is most important is that you learn from the data you gather.  For example, if you see you are trending favorably based on your recent winnings, ask yourself why?  What are you doing well, and how do you improve in your areas of weakness?  Similarly, if you feel like something is off your game (maybe you are rushing your shots), your subjective understanding will capture your feelings far better than an objective measurement.  Remember, data collection is one thing, but it’s what you do with the data that counts!