Controlling whitey: hit it low!

If you pay close attention to the top players, you will notice that many use draw on a large percentage of their shots, even shots that don’t call for any draw, or even follow. Why is that? There are couple of factors at play here: addressing the cueball low (aim) and striking the cueball low (control.) Continue reading

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Eye Dominance

You visualize the shot. You step in and line it up. It looks right, but when you pull the trigger it misses. What happened?

Ever have that problem? I did until I learned about eye dominance. Everyone has a dominant eye. If you don’t get that eye over the shot, an illusion happens and shots are missed. Continue reading

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Avoiding the scratch

Scratching the cue ball, we’ve all done it. What can we do to avoid it? Here is a simple way to help you avoid scratching: Anytime you are going into a rail, try to go as close to a 45 degree angle as possible with natural running english. Continue reading

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Offset and Pivot Aiming Systems

CTE, Pro1, 90/90, Shishkebob:  each of which are close cousins of one and other and all share common elements.  These techniques are all referred to as “offset and pivot” systems.  Whether it be Hal Houle’s Center-to-Edge, Stan Shuffett’s Pro1 or Ron Vitello’s 90/90, offset and pivot systems afford players objective and repeatable methods of ball-pocketing (without the guesswork of ghost ball or other traditional methods.)

This is my attempt to explain a hybrid method that combines some finer points of Stan’s CTE/Pro1 and RonV’s 90/90 system:

  • The use of two reference lines to acquire perfect eye positioning (CTE/Pro1)
  • Three object ball reference points (90/90)
  • Single direction pivot (1/2 ball hybrid, this system)

This system was taught to me by Dave Segal, whom has taken many hours of instruction from Hal, Stan and Ron. I’ll cannot thank this guy enough for is vast knowledge of pivot aiming, and how it has changed my game. Thanks Dave! Continue reading

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Straight pool is the game’s best teacher

If you want to improve your overall game skill in pool, straight pool is probably one of the best games you can play. If you have any type of weakness in your game, straight pool will find it. Straight pool is also one of the easiest games to play solo, just keep track of your high run and always try to better your score. Straight pool forces high precision, solid stroke, mental focus, pattern play, cluster breaking, break shot control, and countless other nuances that make a great pool player. If you play 8 ball, straight pool is about as close as it gets since there is a lot of short shot control, cluster breaking and an end pattern for a key ball. If 9 ball is your game, straight pool will be teaching you control of one, two and three rail routes for shape. If you want to get better at pool, there is no better teacher than straight pool.

That said, if you want to get better at banking and kicking specifically, throw one-pocket into the mix! Watch LOTS of one-pocket and straight pool matches, you’ll learn far quicker than just banging balls around.

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Shooting over a ball

Tip #1:

Many players jack up the cue stick too far when shooting over a ball. This is because they want to hit the ball with the center of the tip, or as close to center as possible. Don’t do this. Instead, strike the upper part of cue ball with just the lower edge of the tip. Chalk up and give it a smooth stroke. This will enable you to keep the cue more level on the shot, and drastically increase your chances of making the shot. Continue reading

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Getting Power into the Break Shot

This is an interesting little gem to try. Line up on your break shot as usual. Then, stand up and move closer to the table. Keep your shooting arm straight and pivot at the shoulder to break. You will notice that pivoting at the shoulder instead of the elbow gives you a tremendous amount of leverage without any extra effort/power on the shot. It takes a bit of getting used to, the toughest part is staying in line on the shot while you stand up. Give it a try and see what you think.

[edit] I have been informed this is similar to the “long-lever” concept by Colin Colenso, video is here. Thanks to sfleinen for pointing that out!

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Position Play Drill

Here is a good way to practice making a shot with position, and quite randomly.

Rack up 15 balls, completely random order in the rack. Break. Continue reading

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CTE: Is the pocket necessary?

Looking through the AZB forums I find people making statements like “With CTE aiming the pocket is not necessary. You just look at the cue ball and object ball.” Even Hal himself made some zany comments like this. Of course, this ruffles the feathers of analytical minds. So, let me clear that up a bit. Continue reading

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The Five Points of Pool

The important components of the game of billiards can be summarized into five different points:

1) Fundamentals (stance, stroke, bridge, grip)
2) Aiming
3) Cueball Control
4) Pattern Play
5) Mental Game

If you want to master the game of pool, you must master these five points. Continue reading

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