Coaching regional winners to compete in a national tournament this week required specific advice. Much of it would be a little intense for most players mentally and physically, but I've distilled down some of the best tips from last night's 3½ hour session for you to read today.
Some of today's tips I cannot recall seeing anywhere else before in print or online in the form in which I state them, and we About.com Guides love bringing you thousands, even hundreds of thousands of insights, to our many millions of readers. Enjoy!
Step 1 - How To Shoot Pool In Competition: Give yourself permission to hit medium speed in those shots that require it.
What do I mean by permission to stroke at a medium speed? I mean an average, run of the mill stroke that even a beginner can attempt. Medium for you may be a little stronger or weaker than my medium, although if you are following my instructional paths to a classic pool stroke, especially in taking a gentle hold on the cue and looking for smooth, unimpeded motion, not squeezed leverage, you are pretty close to my medium speed and force.
As someone with a lot of pool competition under his belt, with many games played for trophies and amateur glory, and for cash and against all sorts of pros, road players and hustlers, I'm going to tell you a sure sign of an amateur, even a highly skilled amateur, who loses big matches often when a medium speed stroke is required.
When the pressure is high the chumps (and I've been a chump many times also, I admit it) either tighten and squeeze their arms and hands, stroking the cue ball way too hard, or go for the delicate touch and strike the cue ball far too softly to get position for the next shot.
It takes courage, and perhaps just as important, careful thought and intention of purpose before you bend to your stance to play a stroke to choose a medium hit in the center of the cue ball, often called a "natural play" based on accepting the natural tangent positioning of the shot at hand. Many, many times a medium-force shot, allowing the cue ball to roll a medium distance following impact, is just the ticket to winning position and continuing the run.
How To Shoot Pool Wisely
The only sound solution to pounding the ball too hard or its opposite, babying it and leaving yourself short of your next targeted cue ball position, is to commit to taking an average, "not special" medium stroke to get the job done. Did you know that a medium stroke taken near the center of the cue ball works for most strokes needed in most pool games including 8-Ball, 9-Ball, Straight Pool, One Pocket, Rotation, etc.?
On the next page of this article, may I have your permission to blow your mind? I'm going to explain the aptly rhymed "three speeds you need" for winning. Since you already have a baseline understanding of medium speed and how to shoot pool, I bet you can guess the other two speeds--but at which two other speeds should you never hit the cue ball?
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