The three practice techniques I’m going to describe have helped everyone that has tried them.
The first is a way to practice your setup, the second is a way to trust your stroke and make sure you stay down and follow through, and the third is a way to test whether or not you stay relaxed all the way through the stroke.
Setup for a shot is just as important as the execution of the stroke.
Players often get down then adjust and aim, but the better players have something in common. They always get in line with the shot and then step into the shot from the line of the shot. The practice drill is to spread the rack of balls out on the table.
Pick an easy shot. Once you setup and get down on the shot, go ahead and shoot without any practice strokes. Repeat this through several racks of balls. This will make sure you take care of your alignment and how you setup.
Everyone talks about stay down and follow through, but how do we practice this?
One way is to setup any shot and setup like normal.
Do your normal routine and practice strokes. Then before the final stroke, close your eyes and keep them closed until you hear the object ball drop into the pocket. This will take away the anticipation of making the ball and reinforce that all you should do is stay still, swing your arm and freeze. This also takes away from the anticipation of hitting the cue ball and lets you freely swing the stroke.
Staying relaxed may be a very obvious thing to stay, but how do you test this?
Most players start out calm and relaxed with a loose grip and loose arm, but during the faster strokes they tense up without knowing it. Try to hum during the stroke. If you tense up, you will hear the pitch/tone change and this means you were not completely relaxed. If you find you really do tense up you will be shocked about several things when you fix this.
With a relaxed stroke you will get more spin on the ball.
You will also get a quicker and more powerful break. Plus the relaxed stroke is easier to keep straight and not pull off the line of the shot.
Everyone that I’ve recommended these techniques to has shown improvement so I hope they will help you too.
Photo: source Editor: Dana Gornall