"Matt, Please help.
I've been playing pool for about 12 years. Two or three of those years were fairly serious--lessons, tournaments, daily practice. The practice, in fact, may have been my biggest problem; I'd practice so much and get so frustrated that I'd be forced to just throw my hands up and take extended breaks from the game, which, of course, was murder for my muscle memory.
It was difficult for me to have any perspective when I was over the table, in other words.
Well, I came back from one of those hiatuses recently, and the results were mixed. I found myself loving the game in a way that I hadn't in the past, enjoying my practice sessions and staying up 'til all hours of the night watching AccuStats videos on my laptop. I also found myself playing prety well, making tough shots regularly and reasoning my way through patterns (in 9 ball, at least) that I just couldn't see in years past.
The problem is that one particular error in my stroke keeps popping up, and it's driving my crazy: I'm cueing to my right. It's especially noticeable when I cue low on the cueball and, of course, for those dreaded long, straight shots.
[Could be a small wrist flip--let's see--editor.]
A Recommended Pool Drill
My old teacher told me an important drill was to set an object ball two diamonds above a corner pocket about half an inch from the rail and the cueball four diamonds away, and straight in, by the other corner pocket, and to repeatedly hit stop shots, kill shots, and draw shots from that distance.
[Great minds think alike. I've recommended that drill since learning it from Donny Lutz--editor]
When I do this, I almost always notice that I've imparted righthand spin on the cueball that I didn't intend. I usually make the ball, or at least jaw it if I hit it hard, but only at speeds where the deflection happens to work, I think.
Sometimes--more often than I should for someone who was knocking on the door of class A about four years ago--I pop the cueball off the felt when I attempt a simple draw shot. How do I correct this? How do I get that straight, pure stroke I can rely on as I make progress in the game?
I know these aren't *really* fair questions, since you can't *see* what I'm talking about, but I'm appealing to your love for the game here. If I can't figure this out, I know I'll eventually give up pool, because the experience of getting something so simple so wrong just drives me crazy. But the thought of abandoning pool breaks my heart, and I was wondering if you had helped any of your students with a similar error.
I've gone through all of your articles, and the one that seemed to be the most fruitful for my situation was the one where you describe the correct stance as being formed by placing the cue along the line of the shot first and dropping your head, naturally, second. When I first tried this I thought I had found the answer, but like all quick fixes I've ever tried on my pool game, I found it didn't last.
[You ought to combine this move with being certain you can see clearly the contact point, even if it ultimately/coincidentally brings your chin over the cue anway--editor]
I was cueing right again before too long, and that's more or less where I am now. I don't know what to do.
If you have any insight into this problem, I would really, really appreciate some help. Thank you so much for reading-- Bryan K."
A. Bryan, you know what you're doing in pool. I'll keep it simple. This drill will help you improve your pool stroke tremendously - How To Improve Your Pool Stroke - The Golf Tee Drill - especially since you can modify tee placement to learn how early in the stroke you are veering to your right.Secondly, have you seen my notes on hung wrist strokes? Couldn't hurt to check whether you are getting unwanted wrist motion (anything other than ulnar or radial deviation or a "hung wrist" as above). See arm and hand in the classic stroke for details.
But here's a drill you've yet to see on the site, because it's probably great for you but sheer lunacy for the beginning player who hits the ball too hard most of the time. You know how Willie Mosconi discussed three basic speed for the cue ball... soft, softer and softest?
Well, when Willie practiced privately, his favorite drill was to pound long cross corner shots straight and hard and as fast as possible! Any error you are making with the veer will thus become quite pronounced and no longer the subtle terror that it is now. You can probably self correct from there.
If not, shoot me some video and we'll get it fixed some other way! -- Matt