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Choosing The Best Shot

Imagine this; You are the captain or coach of an 8-ball league, and your lower skilled player is shooting solids.

Choosing The Best Shot - Billiard Shot Planning For The Novice

It is likely that 99% of the beginner billiard players out there are going to shoot at the orange five ball in the situation pictured above, simply because it is an easier shot. Most beginner players tend to automatically look for the easiest shot, without considering what their next shot will look like. Unfortunately, at least 80% of novice coaches will allow them shoot for the five ball in the corner pocket.
The advanced player can see clearly that the more appropriate shot in this illustration is the two ball in the side pocket. It is a slightly tougher shot, but if they can make it, then the game is essentially over. The odds against getting snookered from the five ball are relatively slim. If this is taken in to consideration, and plays out as expected, they pocket the two, then either slow-roll the five or shoot a stop-shot at it, and then finish the game by putting the eight in the corner pocket.
Unfortunately, this is almost never what happens when the novice player is allowed to shoot at the five ball. What usually happens is this:
  • Player makes the five in the corner.
  • Player makes the two in the side.
  • Player is completely lost on the eight and uses their timeout to get help with a shot that they will likely never make.
  • Player loses the game when the opponent pockets their two remaining balls, followed by the eight via an easy down table shot to the corner pocket.
Too many times, coaches are instructing the wrong thing. Beginning players can not be told how to make a shot in the middle of a game. Shot making is something that should be worked on when they are practicing. Beginning players can, however, be shown a little bit of common sense and strategy. It's up to their coaches to show them, but too often I've seen coaches sitting on the sidelines during situations like this.

With the collaboration of Dave Siltz.

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Billiard Stance Tips

Billiard Stance Tips

The Pattern of the Number 3 in Billiards:
Three Fundamentals:
  1. Head/Eyes= Aim
  2. Hands/Cue = Stroke
  3. Pelvis = Stability
Three Fundamentals:
  1. Head/Eyes/ guiding Hands/Cue/ over Pelvis into Stance
  2. Head, Eyes, Elbow, Eye-of-Grip, Bridge, Cue, all in Line
  3. Sighting, Stroking, Shooting

The Break

Channel swinging elbow power and body weight transference from right to left foot through the bridge hand / Hit the cue ball with a flat cue / Swing with the elbow in line and a loose grip on the cue, tightening on impact / Hit the dead center of the cue ball at maximum cue speed.

The Head

The head is so important. Your head is where your eyes are. The reason I think people miss most often is not because they fail to cue the ball where they want it but rather that they fail to sight the shot correctly in the first place.

With the collaboration of Matthew West.

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Billiard Break Shot Control

Billiard Break Shot Control

"It's not all the power you can muster, but all the power you can control that really makes the difference in 8-ball and 9-ball."
How to Control Your Break Shot

A good break shot determines the outcome of a 9-ball game or an 8-ball game to a large degree, and often influences the chances you have of running the rack, or of stringing consecutive racks. Just how important is your break shot? Without question, the opening break shot is the most important part of any 8-ball or 9-ball game. But it looks so simple, doesn't it? Just splatter the balls with one monstrous, earth-shattering blow, right? Wrong.

A successful break is much more complex than casual observation reveals. Just how good can your break shot be if you don't get the most from each segment of the shot? And how good can it be if you don't control the cue ball to land in the middle of the table for your next shot? It is obvious now that the best players are increasing their percentages in the 9-ball game by approaching the breaking of the balls as an exact science which deserves, even demands, much more concentration and attention.

There are several key factors for making a consistent and efficient break shot

1. Watch the balls carefully as they are racked. - You may spot some occasional movement in the rack that can affect the performance of your break. You are allowed to check the rack from above. Look for spaces and contact points that can affect the transfer of energy to these balls, as well as their relative speeds and paths.

2. The mental game is important in preparing yourself. - Before you make your break shot stroke, and after you have paused in your stance, relax, take several warmup strokes, then stop the cue tip close to the cue ball before you give it your final stroke and follow-through. In your "mind's eye", you must be able to "see" the cue ball hit the precise point of your aim. (when you do these mental exercises before such a shot, be sure not to leave out any details in this creative imagery....."see" the proper path and control of the cue ball, "see" the object balls exploding out of the rack and heading for certain areas of the table, "watch" yourself chalk up and take your stance, and "watch" yourself use all the critical fundamental mechanics, "see" the hit, and "watch" the cue ball land right where you want it, in the center of the table after the break, with no hits from any other balls, giving you the ultimate control that every successful game needs.

3. Your stance. - The right stance for breaking not only gives you the right balance, but used properly, can find you a little more speed, allowing you to concentrate on your cue ball control. Keep your feet spread apart, slightly weider than your shoulders -- no less, no more. This will help to give you a stable stance that will survive the "shove" test, and give you a stronger, more consistent break. (The shove test: If someone can shove on your shoulder when you are down in your playing stance, and can push you off your balance, then you'd better square up and find a more stable stance.) Remember to stand with your feet at about a 45 degree angle from the imaginary line of the cue ball and the head ball or 1-ball. Relax. You know that you'll see the center of the cue ball better now, since your proper break shot stance allows you to position your head, and your dominant eye, directly over the cue stick, though usually higher above the cue stick than your head is during the game. You may prefer to bend both knees slightly, so your weight can be easily shifted toward the shot on the follow-through. I don't want to encourage you to "lunge" at the cue ball, because you'll likely lose the very control we're trying to find here. Don't push off the back foot (let the baseball pitchers do that), but instead concentrate on the proper follow-through. You may find this weight-shifting from the back foot forward to the front foot can find you some extra power without sacrificing the cue ball's accuracy and control. You really don't need to get your stance "down" for a break shot. Some players do that, just like they are carefully sighting a critical shot during the game, but they lose power which they will need for the break. The lower stance and head position is really best suited for those smoooth, accurate game shots, not for the break. For the break, though, a more erect stance can actually help give you more freedom of movement, and help you collapse your body weight into the stroke to build cue speed. You already know that drawing the cue stick back quickly does not make your cue speed any faster, and it will usually have a negative effect on your accuracy and control. Because of this, you should concentrate more on your stroke and follow-through, with cue speed. You can do all this without any excessive head movement and lunging, and you'll do very well because of that, since we do not want such massive, uncontrolled power, but rather controlled, increased cue speed.

4. Placing the cue ball. - Occasionally I will move the cue ball to another point along the line (the head string) to place it for the break, though I often break from the right near the middle of the head string. I only move the cue ball if I feel that the rack will "open" better with the cue ball coming at it from a different angle. Like many other players, I am looking for the "sweet spot", that mystical point of contact from which the rack will explode and give me a pocketed ball or two and the cue ball control I need. No matter where I place the cue ball, I will still shoot directly at the middle of the 1-ball with a center ball hit on the cue ball. Since I want to transfer all the cue ball's energy to the rack of balls, a full hit is needed, and a glancing blow won't do the job. So I will try to strike the closest point of the 1-ball that is on the imaginary line of the centers of the cue ball and 1-ball, which gives me that full hit. There are some players who like to break with the cue ball placed near the rail on the head string, feeling that they can increased their percentages of popping the 1-ball into the side pocket on the break, or perhaps try to finesse the corner ball of the rack into the corner pocket, but this is strictly preference and not gospel, and you may also find something else with your own personal experimentation.

5. Doing the deed. - Now you are ready to make it happen. Visualize a line directly through the 1-ball from the center of the cue ball. Take your stance, with your front elbow bent just slightly (about 150 degrees, not the 180 degree straight arm), shift your weight to your back leg, and then shift forward into the stroke, getting more speed. Please don't try to kill the cue ball! Instead, use only about 75% of your normal power, and concentrate on an accurate and solid hit on the 1-ball. You will maintain your accuracy by keeping your cue level. Now hit the 1-ball in the center, and stay away from using spin or english. No follow, no draw, just center ball. This will help the cue ball slam into the rack and jump back with no energy left after your solid hit on the 1-ball absorbed the cue ball's energy. The cue ball then "dies" in the middle of the table, and is usually in the best position to avoid hits from other balls, and to get you the best look at your next shot.

6. A helpful break shot aiming hint. - You may not feel totally comfortable or confident in hitting the 1-ball full in the face to get your best results. If you want to be sure to hit the 1-ball as squarely as possible, maybe this method is for you: Aim at the bottom (or base) of the 1-ball where it touches the cloth. This can help becuase you may feel it is easier to see that small target, instead of trying to focus on the center of the 1-ball. The results will be the same, since you will hit the 1-ball full in the face, and will transfer the cue ball's energy to the rack. In this situation, the final point you should see when you begin your swing is the point where the 1-ball touches the cloth. After a few successes, you will no doubt feel very com-fortable and confident with this technique.

7. Break Cue sticks. - Some cuemakers, in the past several years have sold a lot of heavier "break cues" to amateur players, allowing them to keep on believing that a heavier cue was just what they needed for a crunching break shot. Dear friends, this is just not true. Happily enough, nowadays, the scrupulous cuemakers, armed with new knowledge and logic, are changing their position on break cues. Most top players prefer to use the same weight cue, or a lighter-weight cue for their break shots. They have found that a stable and rigid joint and forearm can withstand the force of the break's impact, and that a separate tip used just for the break can save the "game tip" and its accuracy by helping to keep the game tip from losing its important shape because of high impact contact. These are the main features which go with the latest innovations for breaking cues. Using a lighter cue, rather than a 25-30 ounce "warclub", will help you find more cue speed. A bigger, heavier stick will be slower, and more sluggish, though it may not be noticeable to the naked eye. It may give you a lot of power, but it is uncontrolled power, since you may be just a bit more erratic with your stroke using the added weight. Remember, the ball you are hitting is only 6 ounces, and is moved very well, thank you very much, with a lightweight cue. You are NOT hitting all 9 balls in the 9-ball rack, or all 15 in the 8-ball rack, with your cue stick! Therefore, bigger and heavier is just not better. Give up your heavy break cues in favor of the lighter cue, and find that you'll have greater cue speed and better control. That alone is much more important than the weight behind your heavy stick.

8. Transfer the full force of the cue ball to the rack. - Hit it solidly, square in the face of the 1-ball. A glancing blow here is only a waster of energy, and doesn't solve anything no matter how hard you hit it. Not only is it inefficient, but you may lose control of the cue ball, and you certainly don't want that, or you wouldn't be reading this article! How good can your break shot be if you make 4 or 5 balls on the break, but also cut the cue ball loose to fly around the table, possibly leaving you "hooked" or without a decent starting shot? So take care of your game, and that of course starts with your break shot. Control is ultra-important, which is why we often say, or should say, "Your break shot is only as good as your next shot!"

As you have already probably noticed, this is one of the most complete break shot tutorial on the internet. Thanks to Paul for doing such a great job.

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Basic Tips for Playing Consistent Billiards

Too often we have the tendency to over-analyze our shortcomings at the pool table, and we overlook the simple, basic helpful hints that can help us play the game on a more consistent basis, and to avoid playing the game out of control.

Here are some critical hints, as simple as they are, which still bear repeating

1. Decide on how the shot should be made, and stick to your decision. - Shots are often missed because an alternative method is still in the mind, and this can interrupt or cloud your concentration on the shot ahead.

2. Fix your eyes (most likely your dominant eye) on the point of the object ball, and address only that spot. - Some players have the habit of moving the cue in some other line, and then shifting at the time they deliver the stroke. With this habit, you only increase your chances of failure, because you are allowing too many variables to come into play. Your cue should only move forward and back in a straight line. Don't stroke any shot harder than is really necessary to produce the desired result, hitting the object ball where you intend in order to pocket it, and to bring the cue ball and other object balls into position for your next shot. General hard stroking is sometimes followed by good position, but it is very often luck. Remember that it is much more difficult to strike the cue ball accurately when you use a hard stroke.

3. Always chalk the cue before attempting any shot. - Since the cue's leather tip is curved, and the surface of the cue ball is curved, it is only logical that you use some kind of abrasive dust (like chalk) to create a little more friction to help avoid miscues. It also helps tremendously to keep your cue tip flush with the ferrule with the ferrule along the sides, and to keep a tip with a arc or curvature of a nickel, rounded to give more consistent play and better control.

4. Keep your bridge hand perfectly rigid and hold the cue lightly in the fingers of your power hand (gripping hand), slightly back of the balance point of the cue. - Close the forefinger loop around the cue (on the bridge hand) so that it rubs slightly, so that the cue ball may be struck without the danger of the cue slipping and causing a miscue or a miss. If you can reduce as many variables as possible in your bridge, as well as other facets of the mechanical fundamentals, you will increase your own enjoyment through better and more consistent play.

5. Let the weight of the cue do the work, and don't forget to "follow-through" on your stroke. - A forced, rigid poke at the ball only adds to the number of variables, and can frustrate you before you can see your successes.

6. Don't swing the cue sideways in imparting "english". - Keep the line of the cue's movement parallel to the line of aim, and please remember that a raised or elevated cue butt, especially in strokes which require english, will impart a masse effect which will curve the path of the cue ball, and likely cause you to miss your shot. Keep the cue stick level, and you'll increase your accuracy.

7. Practice the strokes of which you are uncertain. - Just set the balls in place on the table, and play each shot over and over again, until you have mastered the shot itself, and the variations of that shot. You should also strive to control the cue ball and object ball positions as well during this practice, after you have made the desired shot.

8. Advanced masse shots, complicated jump shots, and challenging draw shots should be learned from a competent instructor. It is often too easy to try to do it yourself, and end up only rehearsing your mistakes. Practice does not make perfect, but rather perfect practice makes perfect. Allow yourself plenty of time for practice drills, and techniques of each part of the game, including the all-important break shots. All deserve your undivided attention.

9. Take the pool games seriously, study them all carefully, and find out all you can about each game, its mathematics, its equipment, and its rules. Then its value as a recreation will be greater to you, and your appreciation of the skills required for consistent success will grow. A careless player not only does not improve, but also gets very little enjoyment out of it, except as a means of wasting time.

Yes, there is an element of chance in pool just as there is in all affairs of life, but if you are a player who depends on luck you will seldom improve your game. Rather you should try hard to control as many of the variables of each shot as possible.

Remember that chance (luck) is the common enemy of all champions, and is the alibi for a loser's deficiency of execution. These are but a few helpful hints which you should keep in mind as you practice, and for your tournament events at any level. They should be added to the fundamentals you already learned from the basic books about pool playing. While this list may never be complete as your game grows and becomes more technical, it is a very good foundation for the growth of your game, and will help you improve and appreciate the game more each time. Now your own pleasant and positive attitude will help you approach the game situations better, and will help make it easier to share the joys of this great game.

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3 Ball Perfect Position

Practice is very important. You can have all the knowledge about the game, but if you can't implement it, it does you no good. Practicing develops muscle memory which increases your consistency.

The main reason people don't practice is because it is work. Here are a couple of practice games that are fun to play - either by yourself or with a friend or two:

The idea behind this game is to perfectly run three balls in rotation. First take any three balls and throw them on the table. With cue-ball in hand line up on the lowest numbered ball to pocket it and get position on the next lowest number ball. This first shot is critical, because not only should you pocket the first ball and get position on the second ball, but the position you get on the second ball should be "perfect." In other words, the angle on the second ball should be such that on your second shot you easily make the ball and get position on the third ball. You should have no hard shots. In otherwords, you should have a gimme, an easy shot with the correct angle and finally another gimme.

If you miss any of the three balls, or don't get the perfect angle on the second ball, you have to start over. When you are able to make all three balls with a proper angle on the second ball and no difficult shots 15 out of 20 times, you are good enough to advance to four balls and continue the same.

With four balls the first shot is a gimme, the second shot you should have an easy shot with a good angle to the third ball. Now on the third ball you must again get an easy shot with a proper angle to the fourth ball. The fourth ball should be a gimme. Once you are about to make all four balls "perfectly" 15 out of 20 times consistently then you can graduate to five balls.

If you are tough on yourself holding strictly to no tough shots, and no wrong angles, you will find this practice game very challenging, but your game will reap the benefits.

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My Playing

My Playing Pool, but im much better now.

Billiards Game 1 Part 1

Billiards Game 1 Part 2

Billiards Game 1 Part 3

Billiards Game 2

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Another Shot

This trick is accomplished with practice, where you place the cue from the position I am, down on the right, as in the drawing, more or less there, the further to the right more effect, put chalk to cue, not to mess up.
This shot, one day, I saw it on Youtube, and no practice or anything, I was presented with this situation in a game with a friend, some watching, and before running tito, said that he was going to do "singing ball," actually, I did, I got much better in the video, and the Ming or minga, I put the next pitch perfect throw. Practical much, maybe a game you aparesca this situation, so let your friends with your mouth open.

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