How to become a professional pool player? Check out my series of master instructions for billiards experts and for those who aspire to be experts.
Beginning a two-part article today, as I had an aspiring pro shooter travel halfway around the world for a weekend intensive just with me last month. He's doing two to six hours of drills daily I've assigned him towards becoming a fulltime professional pool player.
I was able to double his pocketing ability and get him well on his way by correcting his personal stance and stroke motion.
Here's the list of movements/a practice list I sent him to get his game under control for the next weeks and months until he can return to the U.S. for another lesson. I edited it to make my advice fit any player of any skill level. This will improve your game also.
- Try not to impress yourSELF but just do your normal shooting - if you show off while a pool instructor is watching, they will be unable to diagnose your issues with accuracy
- Get into your full stance (down at the table, ready for practice strokes) then carefully check your length of bridge (the distance between the loop of your closed hand and the cue ball) - every great player bridges a consistent distance to the next medium speed shot
- Do my "windmill drill", standing at "port arms," feel your bridge arm telescope to in front of the center of your sternum (and in front of your shooting hand) before taking the final full stance, do this over and again - whirl into place, whirl, step and check, repeat - just like the pros to get exactly the right bridging and stance distance to the cue ball
- Shoot a few "cue balls only" in the corner or side (turn the stripes on striped balls to the pocket to check alignment and shoot those in the pockets) get quiet pool eyes between you're the completion of your last practice stroke and your shot stroke, and for at least two relaxed seconds
- Shoot five "cue balls" into the pockets in five seconds or less - windmill down, shoot - windmill down, shoot - very fast - remember all we discussed about how any professional pool player's motto is "nice and easy" (stroking force and leverage) does it, and does it very well indeed
- Take your stance several more times with your eyes closed - commit! If you're afraid to rap the top of the cue ball with your cue stick you'll always be afraid to get quite close to the cue ball with the cue tip in your stance
- Next, take your stance again with eyes closed, open your eyes to check and confirm your distance and bridge length, close your eyes, stroke the ball into pocket (a cue ball(s) only)
- Practice my two correct wrist movements for billiards without any cue stick, using only ulna and radial deviation to flow back and forth, and forth and back again, along the shot line
- "Windmill down," confirming that your head turns with your torso to remain centered above your trunk EXACTLY like in boxing, golf, baseball, and a dozen other stick and ball sports, confirming also that your eyes move to shot line, not your entire head, you can feel where head is in space by moving from the chin once you're in your stance/getting to your final, complete stance
- Set a few balls and practice 1) golden angles, 2) entering the wide part of shape zones 3) running down the aim line for the upcoming ball, 4) running away from the aim line for the next shot
- Bank two side pocket shots tightly with hard inside right, switch to far side of same pocket and bank two to your left. Then bank two spin banks with soft outside from corner to side, two with outside right, switch to other side of table, two with outside left again
- Practice hard open breaks and runs/shape/position by breaking and running racks of Three Ball (break from the kitchen, placing three balls in a small triangle shape on the foot spot, not three balls in a straight line) - remember to use your "break through the wall" break five or ten times at least - pressing to overcome the natural resistance the cue ball offers your break stroke at impact - shoot a few "cue balls" very, very hard into the far corner pocket as I recommend to warm your break stroke if you need - this will help you bear down and settle the body in for the actual break stroke(s)