Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Setting up a Training Program Dutch Style - Introduction

Over the next few weeks I will be going into each category in depth, but here is the basic recipe for a pre-season training regimen as defined by Johan Ruysink.  It is pretty brutal when Johan conducts a training bootcamp with his country's top players (Niels Feijen, Nick van den Berg, et al.) The schedule is for two weeks or more, five days on, two days off - for ten hours per day (broken down into multiple sessions.)  The idea behind it is similar to weight-lifting - no pain, no gain. Push yourself hard, and your body and brain will have to work to repair themselves, making you a stronger player in the end. 

The system is broken down into five areas of training and each is completed before moving on to the next. These are Johan's terms and then my take on what they mean

1. Single Shots:  Rote training focusing on alignment, stroke and aim with very little attention paid to fine cue ball control.
2. Dynamic Shots: Practicing types of shots and cue-ball reactions (stun, natural roll, draw) in situations that are a little different every time.
3. Dynamic Exercises:  It's heavy-duty drill time! Evil things, like Bert Kinister's "The Ladder."
4. Playing Formats:  Practice games that are played with a partner that make you focus on different objectives.
5. Disciplines and Sparring:  Practicing the actual games (playing the ghost, practicing straight-pool, etc.)  and then on to playing those games with others.

At the end of each session, 20 minutes of training is thrown in on shots that require a unique body movement or position, like the break, shooting jacked-up or jump shots.  The idea is that once you practice these types of shots for 20 minutes your arm and body will be pretty much useless :)

A concept that is essential to this training is that your physical energy should start high and be consumed, but your mental energy should start low and build.  In the beginning you are all arm - hitting shots repetitively and at a quick pace without the laser focus that you would use in a match.  As you progress through the system, your focus and thinking become deeper.  I think there is a nice and logical flow to this kind of program.  You make sure that the basics are there and start layering upon them one step at a time.

Next installment... Single Shots


Mojoe said...

This is great stuff.. Thanks for sharing, I am looking forward to learning how you were taught to train. I too feel that strong discipline is the key to success in pool or any other sport that we choose to take on.

Liz Ford said...

Thanks for writing, Mojoe. It's nice to hear that what I'm sharing is useful, it motivates me to keep doing it. Good luck with your game.


oxheart said...

Hey Liz, I stumbled onto your blog two weeks ago after shopping on Pool Dawg. Your outlook and commitment are, to say the least, inspiring (and so, so informative). I've started to take my own game very seriously in the past few months, playing leagues and tournaments four nights per week. I can't begin to explain how helpful your writing has been in focusing my practice. Thank you so much!

Liz Ford said...

Thanks, oxheart, practice hard :)

Viper6942 said...

Hi Liz, Hope you get to go on your trip? You single? What guy wouldn't love to wake up with you beside them, and get to play pool all day. Wish I had the funds to send you. Win I win my next tournament I will definately help you out. PS I'm single!

Liz Ford said...

Thanks, Viper, for the ... uh ... flattery :)

P.S. I already went to Holland and am posted what I learned while I was there. said...

Hey, no one's allowed to make Liz mildly uncomfortable with stalkerish flattery but me!

jbiddle said...

This is a great start to what looks to be an excellent, if daunting training regimen. I look forward to reading the details.

How would you compare the training habits of European players and their American counterparts? And how about the Asians?

I wonder how Neils would compare this to the work he did with Bert Kinister awhile back.

Liz Ford said...


John - A lot of what Johan uses for training came directly from Niels' time with Bert. As a trainer, Johan is an information collector, he spends a lot of time with great players, picking their brains.

I don't think I've collected enough information to speculate on different countries, but I am happy to share what I learned over there. The schedule, as Holland's top players do it is pretty daunting. If I try to commit to that much, I'd probably be scared off, so I am just going to do as much as I can.