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Vanity, or the key to success?


Published by bert van manen

© © Kozoom

We see Tasdemir struggle in Bordeaux: 40 in 38. A day later, he makes 40 in 15. In the poor match, only the win counted. Is it always that way? Is the game about winning, not about average?

We see Leppens and Bury play the decider in their group. Leppens had the better average, and needed only a draw. That was a huge advantage. Does every inning count?

Truth, version 1.

Average is extremely overrated. No title is ever won because of average, it is mainly vanity. You can end 1st, 4th, 17th with the highest average of the tournament. Ask Jaspers, who once was an inning away from a 3.000 average in a World Cup. (the world record is 2.739) Did he win it? No.

If you make it to the final of a World Cup or a world championship, what is your goal? To play a high average, or to win the match? The latter, of course. If you end up playing a nightmare of a match with a red ball stuck in the corner for many innings, with negative play or even shameless defense from both sides, you will maybe feel sorry for the spectators, but that doesn't mean you are going to change your choice of shot. The innings will be forgotten soon, the title goes into the record books.  There is no prize money for playing well, only for winning.

Some insiders have even suggested that we should get rid of the innings on the scoreboards. All that matters is, who wins.

If there are two types of player: A) I lost, but I played beautifully, and B) I played ugly, but I won, it will always be type B who achieves success, gets things done, goes home with the money.

Truth, version 2.

Average is the key to success. If you want to win races, you need to be able to run faster than the others. No player with a modest year average (think: below 1.5) will ever win a World Cup or a world title again. Maybe your confidence comes from the fact that you can drive better than the others, but if your car has a little engine, you will be overtaken. If your runs are 5's and 6's, you can't keep up with the  big guys who run 10's and 12's. 

Look at the world ranking list, or at least the honest section of it (below 60th or 70th place it loses all credibility). The higher you look on the ranking, the higher the averages of the players. The 2.0 guys dominate the 1.7 guys, all the 1.5 players are higher up than the 1.3 players.  There is an absolute and linear, logical relation between your average and your place in the 3-cushion pecking order.

Have you ever heard one of your billiard friends produce this story: "I could play a higher average if I wanted, but I am a defensive player. I don't mind using a few more innings, I like to play a tactical game." That friend of yours is full of ****, excusez le mot. Don't let him get away with that story.

Three cushion at the top level can only be played if you have found the correct balance between attack and defense. If you are not good enough at one of the two, if you neglect either, you will never get into the top 12. Focusing strongly on one of the two is the same as neglecting the other.  

So which is the truth, version 1 or version 2? I'll let you decide for yourself. And if you have an opinion about it, please share it with us. Kozoom has a "comment" section for a reason.