Dr. Dave's VEPS Review (4.5 outta 5)

I received discs 4 and 5 from the series Dr. Dave's Video Encyclopedia of Pool Shots (VEPS) last week.  I skipped the first 3 because disc 4 dealt with banks and kicks and I really want to work on that aspect of my game at the moment.  The first 3 discs are filled with great information and I will be getting them soon as well, so just because I skipped them doesn't mean you should.

If you've seen any of their preview videos, then you know what to expect.  To be honest, the production quality looks like it was done on a small budget - but that doesn't mean the information isn't super high quality.  If you can get past the off-balance room mic and introductory level graphics, you will find yourself being treated to some of the best information on pool available. 

This is not an instructional dvd series, so don't expect your video guides to spend a lot of time telling you how to aim shots. They tell you/show you how to line-up the shot for the base shot then they might repeat it for a variation. In most cases (at least in disc 4) they are far more concerned with what happens with the object ball.  Which is fair, considering this is about banking and kicking.

What you can expect though is an uneding assault of information about each and every shot they demonstrate.  The typical format goes like this: Introduce a shot, shoot the shot, show what happens with variations to the shot (speed and english), show the correct shot again from a different position.  In some cases, they'll spend some time demonstrating several variations of the base shot. (banks, for example)  There are some areas of the discs where they will spend more time explaining the shot and variations on them.  3-rail kicks, for example, was explained and demonstrated from several locations around the table and that made it much easier to take that information to the table.

Disc 5 is a collection of stroke and specialty shots.  Great shots to know - but you will rarely ever need them in a real game.  There are some great tips about how the rack works for certain games.  Some "secrets of the rack", if you will.  Some of this information is the same as what you'd find on other discs. Mastering Pool, Disc 3 (with Mika) also has a few shots sections that involve half-ball jumps and masse shots.  However, VEPS d5 also gives some instruction on how to really use that information, how to predict the masse curve and some basic techniques for how to execute jump-shots.

I have to watch these discs to try and gather all the information they present.  Disc 4, especially, has a ton of information - and they move through it quite rapidly in areas.  I have to keep reminding myself, this is not an instructional dvd, per se, it's an encylopedia - straight and to the point, no extra blabber.  Disc 5 has some things that might be considered filler, but those that like to trick their friends, you'll find some good stuff there.

My only "gripe" about these discs is that they refer to external resources far too much.  For a lot of shots  they refer to an article written in a magazine up to 5 years ago, or their website to watch more youtube videos about the shot they just explained.  All of the external information is free (which is nice), but if I'm paying for a dvd of shots and information, I don't want to have to go through a variety of other online resources to complete the disc I'm paying for.  If I wanted to watch youtube videos, I'd watch them.  If I wanted to read articles in magazines, I'd read them.  Instead, I chose to watch a dvd and I shouldn't have to go somewhere else to "complete" the information presented.  If they don't want to waste main-disc space with all the extra high-speed videos, then include a 2nd disc of "extras" which could have the high speed videos and maybe even PDF's of the articles they suggest.

Overall, I'm very pleased with this purchase and I will most certainly be completing my collection in the very near future.  I would absolutely recommend these discs to any other pool player who is serious about the game and who might wonder why the balls do what they do.  I'm excited to get discs I - III, and when I do, I'll be sure to post a review here as well.

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