Chalk up and Don't Scratch

By Calvin Post of CJP Billiards


There are a lot of things here in pool that are just straight myths. I see on a lot of groups these typical round table discussions on the same worn out topics with hundreds of wrong opinions. I want to cover some of controversy and provide factual statements.


You can’t buy a stroke. No matter wood or carbon fiber, and no matter Low Deflection or High Deflection the price and material of the shaft doesn’t make you a better player. All low deflection allows for is to add more spin while staying on the shot line. This technology allows a player to incorporate more spin to their game without having to compensate for the deflection found in a typical hard wood shaft. It’s the Indian and not the arrow. A good stroke to pot balls is learned over time, not taught. With proper training and mental adjustment made for whatever cue you are shooting with, one cue is not better than the other. Just different. Many people fall under the assumption a carbon fiber cue will fix their stroke, and help them pot balls easier. This is not the case.


The only major plus for carbon fiber over wood is durability. Carbon fiber is 10 times stronger than steel. It is hard to scratch and put nicks/dents in it. Carbon fiber is easy to clean with an alcohol wipe, and when cleaned feels brand new again. This also makes them worth their inflated price because these shafts can last damage free for a lifetime.


All LEATHER tips generally make the same amount of contact and spin when striking the cue ball. The tip of your cue touches the cue ball for such little time during your stroke. As long as a leather tip is shaped properly, and a steady comfortable stroke is used all leather tips can produce the same results. The key here to remember is all tips feel different. This feel is how you as a pool player connect to your shots. So it’s important to find a durable tip, and one that you enjoy the feedback off of. But don’t get hung up on all these new tips coming to market if you love the one you’ve been using. No fancy tip will make you any better a player just by buying it.


Chalk is another thing subject 100% to personal preference. Key factors to consider are how long it sticks to the tip, cleanliness on hands, table, balls, and it’s overall price. All chalk works the same in principle. So use what you like. Cheap old masters, and $25 Taom work the same. Don’t get caught up on having to use pricey chalk if you really enjoy cheap chalk.


Aiming systems. Whew, the most controversial topic here in pool. Yes, they indeed work. There are many popular methods. Some of the most notable are Ghost Ball, Fractional, and CTE. If you find an aiming system works for your game, do not let others discourage you from using it. Yes “feel” works as well and many pro players just feel how each shot should go and shoot it. There are conscious and subconscious aiming systems. Conscious is an actual thought process. Considering your math and system and mentally thinking about it each shot. A subconscious system is trusting your muscles and “feel” to do the work for you calculating. The player simply thinks “Low left so I can come back down the table” and then their muscles and subconscious make this visualization happen. There is always some type of aiming system happening in all shots it’s just important to see whether it’s a mental thought process, or years of repetition and muscle process being used. Neither are wrong if you can successfully navigate the table, and run racks.


Pro Players play with what they are paid to use. Many posts I see claim “Many pros in this tournament aren’t using carbon fiber, is the fad over?” This is a worn out topic. See my first paragraph on shafts. It’s the Indian not the arrow. Carbon fiber won’t ever go away. It’s proven it’s worth as suitable material for low deflection shafts. So it’s all what the Pro is paid to play with, or they just prefer a wood shaft from their sponsor.


I feel that this covers the majority of all the equipment controversies I always see players asking about. There are no myths or magical things to buy or learn to make yourself a better pool player. Learning this game and executing it in a high level is a hard task. One that takes hours upon hours of practice to get good at. Don’t get frustrated if a part of your game is lacking. Keep working on your weak areas and before you know it you’ll break and run. Then a few times each night, and then back to back or even more.


Chalk up, and don’t scratch!


- Calvin @ CJPBilliards

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