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Pool Speed Improves Via "Natural Play"

Go Natural, Roll Right

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pool speed, pool soft, natural play, pool shooting

Get your pool speed accurate when you "roll natural"

Photo (c) Matt Sherman, licensed to About.com, Inc.
More About "Natural Play" And Pool Speed

The recent story last week regarding commitment to the correct pool speed(s) is followed by today's entry expounding upon the need for natural shots in pool.

I Pledge Allegiance To This Stroke, Of The United Straight Through America

Natural shots are basically any shots where you can make a medium, soft or hard stroke without undue twisting or effort, and can allow the natural physical action of the balls to come to rest into position without any lunging, pushing or pulling of a free flowing stroke.

Start with committing to a soft, medium or hard stroke before you bend to shoot, avoid super soft, super hard or anything beyond your comfort zone as far as "pool speed" is concerned.

Realize also that a tip or two of bottom below or top above center ball on the cue ball will provide results without an unusual stroke applied. By "a tip or two" I mean aiming one or two tip widths with your cue stick below or above the cue ball's exact center.

You can thus get outstanding spin on the stroke without an excessive draw stroke or topspin stroke applied, which is why I say "below or above" stroke and not "draw or topspin" stroke.

The pros leave themselves a slight angle off each successive object ball so they may play off the natural tangent line for each shot. Straight into the object ball often forces a draw or topspin stroke and limits possibilities for cue ball position.

Here's How You Set Up A Natural Play

The key is that only the rarest of players plans ahead to play these natural angle positions to determine their best pool speed on the shot upcoming. For example, I will often draw back off an object ball three or four inches, making an already lengthy shot on my next ball longer, just to gain an angle on the next ball where a center ball, medium stroke will put fine roll on the cue ball and send it with ease around the table for the subsequent shot.

By contrast, many players just hit stop strokes not realizing that two balls ahead of the next one is in position requiring the ball before it (the second of three target balls) to be struck at a slight angle for ease of positioning the cue ball.

The expert plays stop shots and other strokes to gain an angle on the next ball, and not because it's simply easier to shoot stop shots.

Your goal? It should be a commitment to outthink your opponent, and then motor skills and raw playing ability are less important in determining the winning player.

Moving Ahead

Work always on your estimate of cue ball distance before you stroke, "What will medium speed accomplish here?" "What about a hard stroke?" than assess your results. Say I "hit that too fast (or too slow or just right)" after each shot and you will soon improve your all-important speed control.

I repeat, look for strokes where you can take your best pool speed (one of your three speeds to comfortably execute the next shot). Aim with your head first (see related article) then bend to shoot but keep a steady head with my head stick trick.

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