When hitting a cue ball that is (or almost is)
frozen to a cushion, you have to take extra caution on getting a good
hit on its vertical axis. Keep these keys in mind: 1) Be sure you are
hitting the vertical center; 2) Get as level a cue as you can; 3) Use an
open bridge resting your cue on the cushion; 4) Make sure your tip is
in good condition and chalked; 5) Use a soft stroke and limit your
Speed Control With Draw
Some players have the ability to draw the length
of the table or just a few inches, but that's it, nothing in between.
Speed control is one of the keys to top play and that means you have to
be able to control your draw speed too. Here's how to get good at it.
Set up a straight in shot to any pocket and mark the table with chalk
measuring each inch back from the object ball up to three feet.
Now attempt to draw two inches or five inches and so on until you can
hit the marks and control your draw speed. Don't give up on this one, it
Eliminate the Easy Miss
Have you noticed that easy shots are missed and
stop runs as often as hard shots? The reason is almost always a break in
concentration. You've made the easy shot so often that you don't think
you are required to focus on it. You can eliminate this miss simply by
learning to take nothing for granted and require yourself to focus on
How to Win More Games
When is the last time you spent an hour or more
practicing? A long, long practice session will challenge your power of
concentration and that is one of the most useful results. In a long practice session you will have to force yourself to FOCUS on every shot, the easy ones
included. A high level of focus results in making more balls and winning
Plan Your Run in Reverse
Running racks of 9-Ball and 8-Ball requires you to
plan your run in advance and then run your plan. Many top players find it easier to
assess the table from the last ball back to the first ball. Therefore in
a game of 9-Ball, figure out how you can get to the 9 from 8, and then
from the 7 to the 8, etc., all the way back to the 1 ball. Now attempt
to execute your plan and if you get out of line, make a new plan from
the 9 back to the ball you are on currently.
Test Your Stroke's Hit
It's surprising to discover how many players do
not hit the cue ball where they think they hit it. Want to test
yourself? Chalk your cue tip with a heavy amount of chalk. Now replace
the cue ball with one of the object balls and aim at a specific spot on
the ball, i.e., somewhere on the number, and hit a shot with it
attempting to pocket a ball. Now retrieve the object ball you used as a
cue ball and see how accurately you struck it by finding the chalk mark.
Surprised? If, not... your stroke is fine. If you are surprised to find
you were a little to the left or right of your intended hit, it's time
to spend some valuable time on working to straighten that stroke.
A lot can be said for playing "Zone" position. But
there are great advantages to setting goals of "Exact" position during
your practice sessions. Find the exact spot you want your cue ball to
arrive at and go for it. When you miss your target, assess the effect
that it will have on your next shot. This will show you the nuances that
exist in exact position play in 8-Ball, 9-Ball and Straight Pool.
Something Extra in Caroms & Combos
When you become proficient at carom and
combination shots you have often the chance to continue at the table
when otherwise it would seem your run may have ended. But even if you
get good at these shots, there is something EXTRA you have to concern
yourself with. That extra is playing position on these shots. And that
is because it gets complicated by the fact you have to play position on
two balls: your cue ball and the object ball used in the combo or carom,
when both of them are in motion. The key is to not just focus on making
the shot and thinking of your cue ball shape, but to really consider
where that other object ball will end up. Knowing the problem is a big
part of solving it. So the next time you come across one of these opportunities, remember to look for that "Something Extra".