Playing billiards or “pocket pool” is an activity involving skill and strategy that many people participate in every day. Billiards, often considered a leisure sport, has been leaning more to a competitive sport as of recent, one with many various benefits. Whether you use pool as a leisure activity to pass the time or as a serious player aiming to take their game to the next level, the more you play the better you get. There is a reason the saying “practice makes perfect” exists and as you practice and play, you take full advantage of the benefits the game of billiards has to offer such as improving your analytical thinking, your sportsmanship, as well as your hand-eye coordination.
Pool evolved from a lawn game similar to croquet sometime during the 15th century somewhere in Northern Europe. The first billiard room was constructed in England in 1765. The billiard room consisted of a table with one pocket and four balls where they played “One-Pocket”. Later in the 19th century, a “Pool room” was a betting parlor where betting on horse racing took place. Billiards tables were installed in order to pass the time in between races. This led to the public making the two synonymous and now the two terms are now used interchangeably. Billiards, once considered a sport for royalty, is now an iconic part of millions of working families ‘ lives. Due to the popularity of pool tables in various pubs and bars across the world, it has played a major factor in the social aspect of millions of people’s lives but it goes far beyond being a social, fun, and addictive game. There have been various health benefits we will discuss below.
- Improves Life skills
Various studies had proven that billiards helps build essential life skills or skill needed in day to day life. This is especially true when starting at a young age. Through the evolution of a game, players are constantly strategizing and planning, calculating distances and angles, determining the power and speed needed for each shot, and the hand-eye coordination to pull all that together to complete the shot as intended.
- Strengthens Friendships and Family Bonds
If you have ever played a game a pool, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to hear it is a great game to play in social environments amongst friends and family. What may come as a surprise though is that a study conducted by the University of Copenhagen has shown that playing a few games of pool while enjoying a few drinks has been shown to slow the effects of aging in the elderly while also improving many cognitive functions. This suggests that the social and mental stimulus provided by playing has many strong and beneficial factors.
- Playable by All Ages
Billiards is one of the very rare sports that allows play across virtually all ages. How many other sports are there where a grand parent can actively play a game with their grand children? While Billiards does have a pretty steep learning curve, it is also one of the easiest sports to just pick up and play regardless of age. These factors combined with the various health and social benefits leads to pool being one of the best sports for a family to participate in together.
- Aids in Mental Fortitude.
Studies have shown that those who take part in an occasional game of pool have more honed minds and are less likely to freeze in the midst of emergencies. The game of billiards requires many mental numerical evaluations, such as geometry, and the ability to determine exact angles and how much power to apply a mid-stroke. These evaluations and quick decisions lead to quicker mental reactions and less freezing in the moment.
- Billiards Physical Benefits
You wouldn’t think pool has many physical benefits but you would be wrong. It is not uncommon for the average player to walk about a mile in just one game. Also, take into account all the various stretching and bending to line up a shot just right, sometimes even balancing on one foot to make the shot. All this aids in the toning of muscles in your legs, hips, and lower back as well as your flexibility and stability. While playing pool would not be your first thought when it comes to exercising, but it can be a great, low impact option to stay in shape.
Get started playing billiards today. At home, at your local bar/tavern or join a sanctioned/association league in your area. See the following list for sanctioned league information. These organization will direct you to local leagues in your area:
- ACS – American CueSports
- APA – American Poolplayers Association
- BCA – BCA Pool League
- TAP – Pool’s Amateur Tour
- USA – USA Pool League
- VNEA – The Valley National I-Ball League Association
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