We all want it, we all strive for it, all of the great players seem to have it. Why can’t we seem to achieve it and why can’t we seem to maintain it once we find it?
Answer: Mistakes!! We all make them.
Some more than others. Some less.
Where do these mistakes come from? Believe it or not, most have “practiced” them into their game and do not know they are making them or don’t know how to change. Don’t keep on trying to correct them—eliminate them!
I started making a list of mistakes from what I observed in others and myself, which were the same mistakes, and then learned how to eliminate them. Ball pocketing, cue ball control, cue ball speed, and mental concentration are what are needed to become a highly skilled player. These areas are where we make the mistakes that usually lead us into the one loss side of the bracket and usually out of the tournament.
We will take a look into each of these and find ways to eliminate them from your game!! In my other section “Black Belt Billiards” we will take these problems to the table and work them out!
Ball Pocketing I consider this the main key to winning and should be a player’s strongest skill. But what causes us to miss when we think we are going to hit the pocket? Lack of pocketing practice Ball pocketing doesn’t come natural for everyone, some of us have to practice regularly on pocketing balls to keep us top notch.
Playing pool is not practice. You have to practice each element of the game separately! Solution—Start pocketing balls! Rack and break all 15 balls and run them out in any order. Keep a running total of balls pocketed until you miss, foul, or scratch. Keeping a score sets a starting score and a goal for you to reach and surpass the next time you practice this challenge. Cue ball control is not the main focus. Instead, focus on hitting center pocket on every shot. Getting out of line for your next shot is what you need to push your focus on a shot you didn’t plan to have to make.
When you come across a shot that you are missing or having trouble hitting center pocket, write it down and practice that shot on a regular basis during your practice time. Hitting a rail or rail tip at the pocket can cause enough deflection to miss any shot. Eventually you will have your own personalized practice list that will keep your game at its best. As your ball pocketing ability increases you will see your running total of balls pocketed increase.
Want an advanced game? Find your score with the “Straight Pool” challenge in the Black Belt Billiards section. How many can you make? Post your results on the Sneaky Pete Mafia Facebook Group.
An unbalanced stance will cause you more missed shots than you realize. Try standing on one leg with your knee straight. Can you see how much your upper body moves trying to keep balance? A stance with straight knees also causes this unbalance. When you get in your shooting stance with your knees straight, you are leaning on the table with one arm like a tripod to keep balance.
Now try standing on one leg with your knee bent. Can you see how little your upper body moves trying to keep balance? A stance with bent knees allows your upper body to maintain balance and lets your arm act like a stabilizer instead of a prop. Also bending your knees is a way to stop the next mistake we are going to eliminate.
Standing up or raising up during a shot:
This is one we all battle with. Moving your upper body during a shot is the easiest way to get your stroke out of line. Usually done during an easy ball to be pocketed or when we are feeling very confident in our shooting.
Don’t move your head until the object ball you are shooting hits the pocket. Keeping your knees bent helps to ensure this because you can’t push up from off of the table with your arm, like when your knees are straight.
Next issue we will work on eliminating is improper stroke and the effects that cue ball English has on an object ball, and the limits of “throw” when using it to pocket a ball you cannot directly cut into the pocket. Check out my YouTube channel.
Hurricane Wayne Jenkins…. for the video lesson on this article.
Editor: Dana Gornall