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from the Publisher of P&B, Harold L. Simonsen

Improve Your Draw Stroke

To execute the draw stroke properly requires a couple basic moves. First, you must strike the cue ball below its horizontal axis and you can even hit a spot even close to the bottom of the cue ball. A second requirement is to use bit more power than you do on a stop or follow shot. To execute the required power simply think of accelerating through the cue ball. Now exaggerate your follow through. Once you learn to strike the cue ball low (without skipping under it or raising your tip at the last second), and you become aware of the need to follow through, you are well on your way to becoming a draw shot master.

5 Keys to Shooting from a Cushion

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 follow through.

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 is attainable.

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 every shot.

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 more games.

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.

Exactly

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".




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