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Billiards Team Building - 2017 [Recap]

By Matt Acosta on

PoolWe took our team and taught them the high stakes of a business market through a strategic game of pool. The table was positioned as our competitor, and like the market, it is always at an advantage. In order to succeed, our team needed to work together, and quickly learn from our mistakes. The team leader needed to coach, and create opportunities for each member. The result was nothing short of amazing. The game of billiards has strong parallels to marketing, and business in general. 

I appreciated the point system, which was not focused on punishment. My team was free to make mistakes and learn, while continuing to play the game. However, if we made enough mistakes, we lost the game. 

I also enjoyed the parallels to taking risks. If our team played it safe, and missed, the loss was minimal. If we took a chance where the reward was high, the risk scaled as well. At times we found ourselves in analysis paralysis, taking too long to make a shot.

I could go on with the parallels to business and team work, but instead I would encourage you to read the game below. I also would like to thank Metro Billiards for their hospitality.

*Gallery Below

Billiards Team Building: Game Rules 


  • Teams should be fewer than 5 people: if needed, create two equal teams.
  • Teams must consist of players who are not equal in skill.
  • Teams do not compete against each other.
  • Your team will compete against the table based on score limits.
  • Your team objective is to reach your score limit before the table reaches its score limit. 
  • Team members take turns and do not continue after scoring a point. 

Score Limits:

  • The table is your competitor, and like the market, it is always at an advantage. This will give your team little room for error.
  • Your team must reach a score of 96 points (80%) to win.
  • The table must reach a score of 24 points (20%) to win.

Team Player Scoring:

  • Team players score by pocketing balls.
  • Any ball can be pocketed except the 8-ball.
    • The 8-ball can be pocketed, but only when there are no other balls remaining.
  • The score you receive for pocketing a ball is equal to the number on the ball. Example: A 9-ball is worth 9 points.

Table Scoring: Table Scores by Your Mistakes.

  • Note* Team members must learn from each mistake. As a team leader, you need to mitigate mistakes and coach your team to prevent mistakes.
  • If no ball is pocketed on a shot, the table gets 1 point.
  • If there is a scratch by pocketing the white ball, the table gets 4 points.
  • If you scratch by pocketing the 8-ball, the team automatically loses.

Brake Rules:

  • The team leader brakes.
    • The team leader’s goal is to setup the team for success.
    • As the team leader, you must create as many opportunities for your team as possible.   
  • The team leader cannot pocket a ball on a brake.
    • If the team leader pockets a ball, your team will NOT receive a point, and the ball must remain in pocket. The point value of ball is forfeited for the remainder of the game. (This demonstrates the loss of an opportunity for your team.)
  • Unless the team leader scratches, the table does not receive any points during a brake.
    • If the team leader scratches on a brake, the table gains an advantage and is awarded 8 points.
    • The team leader is removed and replaced with a new team leader, based on skill.
  • After a new team leader is chosen, the team must pick up where the pervious team leader left off: the table does not reset.
    • On a scratch, the white ball is placed in the centre of the D.

Scratch Rules:

  • If your team scratches by sinking the white ball, the table gets 4 points, and the white ball is reset to the centre of the D line.
  • If your team pockets a ball and scratches, the team gets half the points of the ball, and the table gets 2 points.
  • The focus of the points system is not punishment.
    • The team has the autonomy to make mistakes and to learn from each mistake, while continuing to play the game. However, if your team makes enough mistakes, it will cost you the game.
  • The bigger the stakes, the more is at risk.
    • Example A: Your team scratches on a ball valued at 2 points, this mistake will cost your team 1 point and the table will receive 2 points, for a total loss of 3 points.
    • Example B: Your team scratches on a ball valued at 15 points, this mistake will cost your team 7 points (rounded down) and the table will receive 2 points, for a total loss of 9 points.
By Matt Acosta on
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