Ah, the fine art of billiards. It can be the most beautiful, exciting, maddening game there is. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced player, you know what I’m talking about. Pool resembles golf in that you are being led around by a little white ball but there are advantages to playing pool; you only have six holes and you walk a lot less. Works for me.
If you are a beginner, I’m going to tell you how to build a fundamentally sound game using some basic techniques:
1) First of all, get your own cue. Don’t rely on getting a good stick off the rack in any pool hall. Your cue is your tool and you need to know what is going to be in your hand every time you shoot. In fact, when you find the best suited cue, you won’t even notice you have it in your hand. There are many brands to choose from as well as price ranges. As for weights, the most common are 18 to 21 ounce. An 18 will suit your purposes fine.
2) Now that you have your cue, you must be in control of it. A smooth consistent stroke is a must. Baseball pitchers are aware how important their throwing mechanics are and it’s the same shooting pool. I dare say all the best pro players practice their stroke more than anything. Your bridge hand – if you shoot right handed, it’s your left hand – should rest solidly on the table. Always put your index finger over the cue when possible. This helps your shot go straighter and also keeps the cue from going towards the ceiling when you pull the trigger.
3)Getting into the proper stance. Here again, being consistent is a must. You don’t want to be spread out all over the table every time you shoot. Standing properly goes hand in hand with lining up your shot which I’ll explain in a moment. Put the cueball about 10 inches from the rail. With cue in hand, face the cueball, lay the tip on the rail and place your grip hand on your hip. Put the cue tip one or two inches from the cueball. If you are right handed, put your left foot one step forward and your right foot one step back. Now when you take your cue in your bridge hand you will be balanced and solid.
4)Lining up the shot. Now that you understand the stance, let’s take a shot. Put a ball on the table and pick out a pocket. Make it a simple straight in shot until you get the hang of it. Line up the strike point on the object ball with the pocket. With that point in focus, line up the cueball on the strike point with your cue and go into your stance. You should be right in line with the pocket. It’s down to the stroke. You want the cue to glide smoothly through your bridge hand and the most important part of your stroke is follow through. You don’t want your actual shot stroke to be separate from your two or three practice strokes. It should be one continuous motion as the cue tip goes through the cueball into the object ball.
I know you have seen the word smooth several times. That’s what you want to be. If you watch the top players you’ll see what I mean.Now, you can be a fiddler at a square dance or you can be a concert violinist. It’s up to you. And how do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, Practice, Practice.
Copyright (c) 2007 Gerald Smith