Play Your Best Pool: The Future of the Sport in the USA Will Be Billiard Instruction

Johnny Henson, Professor Pool

Many players contact me wanting to improve their games, after having struggled with their games for years. With all of the game improvement books and videos out there it is no wonder that so few players discover the way to truly improve their games. Most players are very surprised at how much they can learn and improve their games in a very short period of time with proper instruction. Players in countries throughout the world utilize professional instruction much more than they do in the USA, and the growth of the sport worldwide in those countries reflects this.

I would like to share some statistics about professional billiard instruction in the USA. Let’s estimate that there are about 15 million pool players in the USA in 2024. There are about 750 professional billiard instructors in the USA in 2024, and I am one of them. This means that there is just one professional billiard instructor for every 20,000 players who play pool in the USA. Let’s just say as an instructor, I gave 200 players a lesson every year, it would take me 100 years to give 20,000 players a lesson. To say that we are not properly utilizing billiard instruction in the USA is an understatement.

The number of billiard players who play in the USA has been dropping over the last 10 years. Players, league operators, business owners, pool halls, and billiard supply dealers all want the sport to grow, but they have missed a very important thing that would help the sport grow. That is billiard instruction and more precisely professional billiard instructors. Players just will not practice and play for years to try to become good or competitive. If a player doesn’t play well or become competitive within one to three years, they will just quit playing and move on to something else.

In my opinion, for the sport to grow in the future in the USA, I believe every professional billiard instructor should be kept busy. League operators, business owners, pool halls, and billiard supply dealers need to promote and encourage players to seek out instruction every chance they get. In theory every billiard instructor in the USA should be booked for private lessons, and have a six-month waiting list for a two-day instructional seminar. I feel bad that there are millions of players wanting to improve their game, who do not realize that professional instruction is the only true way for them to improve their game and take it to the next level. Many players who struggle without proper instruction usually quit the game without ever playing well. As an instructor, I feel that instructors are the hope for the sport now and going forward into the future.

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