For this blog post Jacqueline Karol is pleased to introduce Kelly Linzy, one of her top students, as a guest commentator.
I’m obsessed with stop shots. I thought I was good at them. I thought they were easy, but then I realized that making a shot once does not mean “I’ve got it.” You have to attempt a shot over and over before you realize how inaccurate are the impression of your abilities.
I’ve heard that some pros, after missing a shot, will later practice the shot over and over until they perfect it. I wanted to give myself an easy drill to start with, so I went back to a simple stop shot drill.
Here’s how it works:
I start off by putting the object ball (OB) in the center of the table and placing the cue ball (QB) one diamond away, lined up to make the OB straight into a corner pocket. After making a shot many times (75, in my case), my confidence takes over—more than just my brain and eyes are working in my favor. My body itself becomes a biological alarm system alerting me to the fact that I’m “off” and my eyes don’t know what the hell they’re doing.
There is a connection with thought process, vision, and muscles that no one can get by making a shot once or twice. You have to put the work in to gain this connection, but once you do you can literally feel the accuracy of the shot. It is rewarding because you know you can make it. False confidence falls away and is replaced by true confidence. For me, the tangible results are what fuel my obsession—but now, back to the shot.
The next step is to start pulling back the cue ball (QB) one diamond at a time until it is down at the end rail. Then put the QB back at the diamond that you started from and start moving the OB toward the corner pocket a diamond at a time, shooting each shot 75 times in a row.
Finally, the last shot is having the OB in the jaws of the corner and the QB in front of the opposite corner. A stop shot at this point is no longer simple, taking the drill from seemingly basic into what is advanced. Once the drill is complete, you will have gained a crazy amount of skills, including the ability to gauge how low and how hard to strike the QB to make it stop no matter where the OB or QB are lying, and there will be a solid point of reference for a contact point when making cut shots. You will also avoid the scratch when following your OB into the pocket. Let’s face it: being able to make a super-long, straight-in shot and stop the QB dead is impressive. And it feels good.