Learn How To Play Pool Like A Pro - Lesson 1 Controlling Cue Ball Speed
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This hub will be an experiment in value and popularity for this topic. I would like to write a series on billiards tips and tutorials, but I will only write them if there is a true interest in these hubs. I hope to make this one the first of many, so make sure to leave feedback or click on of my sponsor's ads if you enjoy the hub. Update: This is now the one lesson in a series of hubs. There are links to the other articles on the bottom of this page in the links. Enjoy :)
This lesson will be on cue speed.
The game of pool happens to have the misfortune of a great deal of misinformation. There are a great many teachers who do not understand the game themselves. I am not one of them. Assuming that you already know how to hold and swing the pool stick, the first thing that you want to learn when you are trying to get better at pool is speed. Taking the time to practice drills and shots that hone your speed control is essential to developing an effective ability. There are many ways to practice.
The most common is just to get out and play. If you use the time wisely, you will begin to develop a direct relationship between your arm speed during the swing and the resulting cue ball speed. Analyzing each motion and it's effect allows your brain to build a catalog of sorts that you can reference when deciding how much speed to use.
A good rule of thumb is to imagine dividing your speed/power range from 1 to 10. 1 being 10%, 2 being 20%, and so on. The 10 speed should only be applied to the break. Ideally, you will never strike a single object ball with more than 70% (7) of your maximum power. This will help a lot in itself. Any pro will tell you that almost all amateurs hit the ball too hard. Pool is a game of finesse, and learning to use just what is needed makes good things happen.
One example of the importance is that proper shot speed allows the object ball to rub a rail during a shot and still fall in. The same ball, when struck with more force, has a habit of standing up in the jaws of the pocket. Another great reason for the importance of speed control is making position. If controlling the force is not important enough just for pocketing balls, it becomes that much more important when making shape on the next shot. Practicing with purpose and truly paying attention to that practice will ingrain the sensations of different speeds into your arm and mind. Once you have developed a coordinated relation between you eyes and hand relating to this, you will be able to refer to your muscle memory for guidance. "Your hands are smarter than your head will ever be". That's a quote from the movie "Bagger Vance", and it is a personal favorite. Use it and you will find new levels of comfort and control at the table.
One practice drill for speed
There is a very simple technique that you can use to get a gauge on cue ball speed. Take the cue ball and place it on the head string (where you break from) in the center of the table. The exercise will not require any other balls. You will be using the rails and pockets to develop a mental map of how far the ball travels at what speed.
If you start from the head string, the 1 speed should take you to the first position, and the 2 speed to the second. The following is the example that I was taught. The 1 speed will be an attempt to get the ball as close to the foot rail(other end) as possible. The 2 speed would hit that rail and return to the center of the table. The 3 speed is usually referred to as a lag, because this is a method of selecting who gets to break in an organized pool match.The goal will be for the ball to travel to the first rail, and come all the way back to the rail you are leaning over. You can continue practicing these speeds up to 10, a half table addition of length at a time. Once you can place the ball on one these marks any time you choose, you will have advanced in this game a great deal. Good luck and enjoy the practice.
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