Pattern Play, simply stated, is the plan you have
to pocket a successive number of object balls. It's called a "pattern"
because you are not just planning to make ball "A" and get position on
ball "B". You are actually getting position on "B" in a way that will
let you get to "C" and then to "D", etc. In 9-Ball, you have less
options than in other games, because you must hit the lowest numbered
ball first on your way to making the nine. In 8-Ball, you have more
options, but of course you are limited to pocketing your group of balls
on your way to the eight. In Straight Pool (aka 14.1 Continuous), you
must create your own pattern from a variety of options, but your pattern
must take you back to a key ball that will lead you to a break shot to
get into the next rack. The moral of the story is, no matter what game
you are playing, don't just play position, play a pattern.
Why Side Spin
Side Spin (english) is normally used to change the
natural path the cue ball will take after contacting a cushion. A cue
ball usually rebounds from a cushion at the same angle (degrees) at
which it arrived. However, if the cue ball has right english on it, the
cue ball will go more to the right. If the cue ball arrives at the
cushion with left english imparted to it, it will rebound more to the
left than it normally would. Simple, huh?
Get Your Ducks in a Row
A basic fundamental of the game is to line up your
shot while standing, before bending down to shoot. This practice will
allow you to line up correctly and shoot straight. You should place
several parts of your body in line with your contact on the cue ball and
the target point on the object ball. Put your Bridge Hand, Center of
Vision, Grip Hand, Shoulder, Forearm and Elbow on that line and you have
a good chance of success.
Aim Needs Stroke for Success
Legendary pool and billiard instructor, Jerry
Briesath, when asked. "If I am aiming correctly, will I always make the
ball?", gave P&B Readers this answer: "Not necessarily. If you are
not stroking smoothly and slowly, you may not be contacting the cue ball
where you think you are, or you may follow through in a different
direction than you intended."
Wade Crane's 3 Keys to Winning
In the Dec. 1989 issue of Pool & Billiard Magazine, the legendary Wade Crane gave readers the 3 Keys to Winning:
1) Play the table and not the opponent;
2) Play high percentage shots on both offense and defense;
3) Concentrate on cue ball control to avoid simple mistakes.
Jumping Over the Edge
Anytime the cue ball is struck above its
horizontal axis with a medium stroke, it leaves the table. To
demonstrate: place a cue ball at one end of the table against the rail.
Now place a dime on the table near the cue ball directly in its path.
Shoot the cue ball with enough speed to rebound off the far rail and
back to you as if you were lagging. You will discover you completely
jumped over the dime. Now with the understanding that when your round
cue ball passes the edge of a round interfering ball, when one is higher
at the moment they pass, their edges will not touch. You don't have to
jump the cue ball a foot in the air to sneak past the outside edge of an
intruding ball. Just shoot a little harder and a little above center.
Two Simple Keys for Accuracy
If your goal is to shoot straight, there are two simple basics that you MUST adhere to:
1. Stay down on the shot (meaning do not jump up upon contacting the cue ball)>
2. Follow through (meaning do not jab or poke at the cue ball, but stroke through it with a smooth follow).
To be a winner in any sport, you have to give
it your all. Keep your head in the game even when you are not at the
table. Be aware of your opponent's strong points and weaknesses. Because
you've stayed involved, when you get your turn at the table, you will
do so with the belief that you deserve to win. This belief will result
in the confidence to play your best.