Over the past few months, I have received various messages from players at all levels that play the game of pool in spite of being disabled. For this reason, I decided to seek some wisdom from one of the best when it comes to disabled pool. None other than 3-time Wheelchair World Champion Dave Beaumont.
Dave is a superb player and all round great guy so I met up with him to fire a few questions his way that I thought you members would find valuable. Here’s how things played out:
Q: When Did you Start Playing Pool?
A: I started playing when I was 12, I was lucky enough to have a snooker / pool table at home. It was a 6×3 slate bed table with a set of pool balls as well as a set of snooker balls. I used to take 5 of the red pool balls and add them to the 10 reds in the snooker set to make the complete set. I knew every inch of that table and used it to my advantage as I went on to make a break of 135 on it – not bad for a 15-year-old!
Q: What’s your greatest ever victory and why?
A: Greatest ever victory… I think this has to be in 2014 when I won the Wheelchair Championship for the very first time. I came in as an unknown player in a strong field and managed to get through to the final. I prevailed 5-0 in the final against a player who had beaten me in the group stages – so it was payback time!
I prefer to play attacking pool but i can also play a tactical game if i have to. My opponent in the 2014 final was very much a slower, more tactical player. Everything that was thrown at me during that final, I overcame and played some of the best pool I’d produced all week. Including a memorable break and dish in Frame number 4 which put me on the hill. Getting that final frame, potting that last black was unreal. I couldn’t believe I’d done it, Wheelchair World Champion… Amazing!
My son was by my side every step of the way and he kept me focussed throughout.
Q: Which area of your game could you improve?
A: I know I could improve my tactical play. In some matches I should bide my time but I can end up digging a hole for myself instead. I think that when you have a chance, you have to take it as you may not get another!
I know that if I had to play every game in a tactical manner, then I probably wouldn’t be playing the game!
Q: What obstacles do you feel players with disabilities have to overcome to succeed in the game?
A: I had a motorcycle accident in 1985 where I suffered a broken back. Out of nowhere I was suddenly now a wheelchair user.
In the Occupational Therapy Dept. at Owestry Orthopaedic Hospital, there was a pool table. I started to try and replicate the game that I used to play standing up.
It was difficult to adapt at first. Some shots were harder and the overall view of the table was different… I was now missing the aerial view of the table layout.
I worked on the angles more than I ever had before my accident as some shots seemed more achievable using more than one cushion… it’s difficult to explain but when you can’t see the “overall view”, you need to map your course in a different way.
Q: How did you overcome these obstacles?
It was very much an experimental time with my pool game. I continued to play more pool when I left the hospital some months later. I would then often go to my local pub on my own, and play for 2 hours just learning what I could and couldn’t do playing from a chair.
Most shots are achievable from a sitting position. But the Chinese snooker shot is really hard as you can’t look down the cue when taking the shot. Some opponents will leave you in this predicament on purpose, knowing the difficulty!
Q: How much practice time do you put in on the table in the lead up to a tournament?
I play pool about 3 to 4 times a week, and in the run up to a tournament I try to keep playing regularly. In the past, I have practiced a lot before a tournament and then performed poorly, so I think you can overdo it.
I have issues with my back and playing for a long time can have a detrimental outcome. So, it really is a fine balance for me. Also, the older I get, the more evident that is!
Q: What is your favourite thing about playing pool?
My favourite thing about playing pool has got to be the circle of friends with whom you play. It’s a great game to play for a local pub, as part of a team, but also a game you can play individually. This flexibility works well and gives you a varied experience.
I’ve been playing pool for a pub team now for 15+ years, they’re a great bunch of people.
I also play for a club too in one of the larger local leagues. Again, great people and a great standard of players. This league is more competitive and is more about the pool.
Playing against better players is one of the main ways to improve your game and there are certainly some tidy players in the stoke pool league.
Q: What is your favourite shot?
My favourite shot. For some reason, playing a deep screw shot with right hand side, feels so natural to me. I’d say 9 out 10 of these are executed well. Potting a ball into a blind pocket, screwing off one cushion with side, to bring the cue ball back down the table. This shot can really help get you out of trouble, help you continue your progress and can definitely be a match winning shot!
I’d like to Thank Dave for sharing his story and his thoughts openly and honestly. The will and determination he has shown is testament to his strong character. Hopefully this gives you a valuable insight into just important ‘Desire’ is, in overcoming obstacles, bettering yourself and achieving big things in pool and in life.
Hope this helps,
THE POOL COACH 🎱