How to create a transition towards a more one-pocket-loving community?
This blog and Project One Pocket came into being because I wanted to show the beauty and importance of One Pocket to as many players as possible. It resulted in ‘The first 5’, my One Pocket Manifesto being one of them. I was, and am trying to spread these words and hope my message reaches the right people.
Soon after I started, I realized that this wouldn’t be enough. I don’t want to be just another pool player with an opinion (which is also the reason why I’ve tried my hand at teaching the past few weeks). So, I started thinking about how to actively change the Dutch pool scene towards a somewhat more One-Pocket-loving community in which players have opened their eyes and understand the important learning opportunities that One Pocket bears within its complicated heart. I asked myself: how to accomplish such a transition? Like many questions, it raised some more questions.
Why is One Pocket not as popular as other pool games?
Although One Pocket is an upcoming game in the Netherlands, it’s far from being established. Yeah, well, it wouldn’t be ‘upcoming’ if it was an established game already. Enfin. I want to understand the essence of the shortfall of One Pocket. Do players lack inspiration? Is it a lack of opportunity? Is the game too difficult? Does it take too much time and effort to learn a game in which there’s no opportunity to compete? Is the essence of One Pocket too different from all other pool games? Is it because One Pocket is ‘the unknown’? Do players don’t play One Pocket because others around them never play the game?
One Pocket is a time consuming game. I often hear that players think the game is too slow, they don’t like moving all the time, there’s not enough shot making and running involved, and many think it’s just boring all together. It’s my mission to convince as many players as possible about the beauty of the game. Playing One Pocket can add to strategic, tactical, and technical skills. It makes you a more complete pool player. You’ll become a smarter player and should use this knowledge in all other games. I believe you haven’t played One Pocket on a proper level, too less, or don’t fully understand the game when you think it’s boring, but that’s just my opinion.
What to do?
How do you solve such a complex and deep rooted ‘problem’? Only using a top-down approach, in the form of organizing a tournament doesn’t solve the issues at the root of the problem. Only inspiring people to play One Pocket is also not enough if there’s no opportunity to test your skills, although inspiring others could eventually lead to people organizing tournaments, but we’re not going to wait for that anymore. I think, it has to be a combination of top-down and bottom-up projects at the same time. Actively writing and inspiring people around you to play the game and set up something with which you offer them an opportunity to compete.
How to organize such a thing in such a discipline? Many players think the game is too difficult. Should we use handicaps to attract more players and offer them a fair chance to win matches? But, do we want to raise pool players with handicaps? How does that work out in the long run? They will get used to handicapping and equal chances. We also don’t do this in other disciplines. It’s in the nature of competing to test your skills against someone else’s. Nepse Pool Productions started a discussion about the use of handicaps to which Steve Booth replied:
After thinking about all these questions and asking other pool players what they think about it, we came up with an innovative setup and a format inspired by the World Pool Series. Read more about the setup here.