Take a ball, a stick, and a tabletop, and you have all you need for billiards. Depending on where in the rules, the number of palls, and your part of the world, you may be playing English or French billiards, snooker, pocket billiards, and other pool games.
Billiards started as a pastime for the rich and famous in Renaissance Europe as a lawn game like croquet or lawn golf. Those European winters eventually drove it indoors to the equivalent of the castle’s version of a “man cave.”
7 reasons billiards is still one of the most popular games
Professional players compete aggressively. Others play for beers just to socialize with pals. Some compete in team play, and still, others just enjoy playing alone. There’s something about the relationship between cognitive and muscular skills that entertain players everywhere.
- Strengthen cognition: Billiards offers unique challenges for the brain. It stimulates eye-hand coordination and invites imaginative solutions to spatial relationships. In any game or personal drill, the ball positions and combinations multiply in infinite numbers and patterns.
- Provides exercise: It may seem a bit of a stretch to think playing pool while consuming beers would burn calories. But, beer or no beer, players walk, bend, and stretch for hours on end. The better they play, the better muscle control they exercise. For instance, HealthFitnessNewsRevolution.com reports, “a typical 2-hour 8-ball or 9-ball session often provides 100 trips around the table’s perimeter, which is about equal to walking nearly three-quarters of a mile.”
- World-class Competition: What appears to be a relaxing game among friends becomes aggressively competitive in professional play. Matthew Sherman, writing for Thought.com, says, “the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association and the World Confederation of Billiards — are pushing to have pool included in the 2024 Olympic Games.”
- Modest investment: If you have the floor space, you can invest in the best billiard table for a surprisingly modest price. Or, you might consider a cheaper table that folds up or sits upon another table. If you want to improve your play, you might increase your investment in cues and accessories as you go along.
- Singular play: This is a game you can play by yourself. You can run drills on different ball combinations or on trick and challenging shots. Pros will do just that to hone skills, but amateurs can improve their game by practising in hypothetical tabletop situations.
- Team play: Playing billiards as a team member requires you to use those individual skills in offensive and defensive play. Your personal eye-hand coordination, decision-making, and strategic play must complement the play of teammates and anticipate the moves of opponents.
- Family play: Billiards attracts players regardless of age or gender. It can bind families through competitive fun. Youngsters will develop coordination, and seniors will strengthen ageing cognitive skills. But, most play just for the fun of it.
Billiards is still a popular game to learn
Billiards is a learning experience whether you play seriously or just for fun. Every time you adjust your shot, run a drill or plan an approach, your brain-body systems learn lessons they won’t forget. Each play, decision, and win develop your muscle memory and neurological chain. And, the learning happens unconsciously during enjoyable play.