Pool & billiards has always been a passion of mine ever since I first saw those shiny colored spheres on a perfectly level green clothed table. There's a joy in making shots, especially difficult and low-percentage ones. When I learned to apply spin and started to run entire racks, I played and practiced for hours every day to try to get even better.
Every once and a while, I would get into a state where I could not miss and could play nearly flawlessly. In psychology, this effect is called "flow" and is commonly referred to as being "in the zone" or in "deadstroke". In this state, I felt like I could beat anyone!
For years, I studied deadstroke by reading books such as The Pleasures of Small Motions: Mastering the Mental Game of Pocket Billiards and The Psychology of Concentration in Sports Performers. Now when I shoot, it is a very pleasurable experience even if I'm not playing great that day.
Pool & billiards is not just about getting into deadstroke and winning - the sport offers many different aspects that anyone at any age can find appealing:
Pool & Billiards is Physical
Walking around a table and stroking a cue might not seem like much, but it at least gets you on your feet and moving. The motions to cut a ball at an exact angle or apply a specific amount of spin require extreme fine-grain control and thousands of hours of practice to become a top player. The sport improves hand-eye coordination and teaches you how to keep your body still while only moving your arm.
Pool & Billiards is Mental
Every rack is entirely different and there are numerous decisions to be made every match. If you want to be good at pool, you have to think ahead and plan your runout. If you can't get out, then you need to think about playing defense and consider your opponent's abilities. Pool & billiards teaches you great patience and humility as you watch your opponent play, with nothing you can do about it.
Pool & Billiards is Social
Leagues, tournaments, social clubs, pool halls, private homes - these all bring a diverse set of people together to form a community of players. On the table, it doesn't matter if you're younger, taller, stronger, or richer - everyone can play and enjoy this great sport. Pool teaches you how to interact with others in relaxed environments and high-stress competitive environments, even if you're a casual beginner or a seasoned pro competing around the world.