Pool Basics

How to make the adjustments

I am sure that everyone has asked the question “how do I adjust to this?” Whether it is the humidity in a room that slows down the playing surface, or the perspiration on the bridge hand that causes the cue to stick and stutter during your stroke, there are always issues that arise where you ask yourself how you are going to overcome this obstacle to play better. After all, if you didn’t want to play better, you probably would not be reading this article, right?

So, let’s start at the beginning. Is your stance that you address the shot comfortable and does it allow for a proper focus between the cue ball and the object ball? If the answer is “Yes” to that question, is your bridge solid? If your answer is “Yes” to that, then the question is whether or not your stroke arm is properly aligned, and do you have the proper grip on the cue to allow for a smooth straight delivery to the cue ball? If that answer is “Yes”, then the question is “Are you shooting the correct shot?” If that answer is “Yes”, then the next question is whether you are attempting to play shape on the next ball with proper cue ball tip placement and speed control through an easy path? Once you get to this question, you have already addressed the basic issues that arise for every pool player.

If the answer to ANY of the previous questions was “No”, you must address that issue before proceeding. Every step allows you to build your prowess to then address the next question. So, if you cannot answer the previous questions with a “Yes” answer, then moving on to the next step is an almost surety of failure as the variables start stacking up with each added “No” to make your desired outcome almost impossible. (See attached flowchart)

As you can tell by the proceeding flowchart for my explanation of things that must be correct in order to build a superior game, there are no shortcuts to obtaining a high-level game. The circular path at the bottom of the flowchart shows the need for practice at any level, to get better. Until you can commit to practicing firming up the basics along with continuing to learn new and better ball patterns and shots, you should realize that your game will be proportionate to the amount of quality time you spend trying to improve it. Even as a super seven, in the APA leagues, I find that my game fluctuates depending on the amount of actual time I spend in tough matches and how much time I spent working on building the pool of pattern and shot knowledge recently. Without the basics covered, I could not compete at a higher level (for example: using a loose bridge, a chicken stroke, hitting everything hard)

Now, that I have covered the bare basics of satisfactory practices of a good player, lets move on to some of the issues that are faced on a regular basis that can also affect your quality of play.

  1. Humidity/Temperature of room

  2. Equipment readiness

  3. Is your cue tip shaped and scuffed correctly?

  4. What speed of cloth is on the table you are about to play on?

  5. Do you have a billiard glove/powder/leathery hands for a smooth channel to shoot through?

  6. Are the balls clean or dirty (possible curving of object ball if they are dirty)?