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".
Think Before You Shoot
Take enough time to plan your strategy before
bending down to shoot. Don't be in too much of a hurry to shoot that
first shot without knowing your whole plan... a common
error that loses games and matches. Pool is a thinking game, meaning
think before you shoot.
Push the Envelope
Author and Instructor Phil Capelle, advised
P&B readers in the May 2007 issue to "discover your limits on a
particular shot." To paraphrase Phil: You can do this with any shot,
but for this example we'll use safeties. Start with a simple safety and
work your way up to a very difficult version of it. "Push the Envelope.
After all. practice is a time to learn the limits of each shot as well
as the extent of your capabilities."