When you watch some talented people play pool, either on ESPN or in person at the local pool hall, they make it look effortless. They line up shots as though they barely gave it a second thought and make shot after shot. Perhaps even more impressively, they do it again and again and again.
Most people when they start can make that lucky shot, but can’t really repeat it. Even after you’ve gotten the basics down some people will have trouble maintaining the same level between games. The goal is to play a more consistent game. Once you can accomplish that you can work on bringing that skill level higher so you can play consistently at the higher level.
As with anything else that consistency comes with patience and dedication. But that is the easy thing to say, almost like telling you that you need to practice. You know that, the real question is where you should focus all that practice? We’ve come up with a few pointers to help lead you in the right direction.
Perhaps the easiest way to lose your consistency while playing to lose your focus. At lot of times players will make a bad shot and then the focus starts melting. Your mind will play tricks on you, you’ll tell yourself that your stance is wrong or you used the wrong cue or any number of things. The long and the short of it is that once your focus starts to go you won’t even realize what you are changing.
You should absolutely enjoy playing and enjoy the company you are with. However, when it comes time to take your shot, give yourself that extra second to breathe and make sure you are focused on your shot, your stance, your grip. Don’t fret about it all game, as that could lead to its own problems, but that short alignment before you take a shot will help you stay in the moment.
Tied very closely to that focus is your pre-shot routine. If you just walk up and smack the cue ball without any thought you’ll be wondering where it will go just like everyone else at the table. If you want consistent results you need to be consistent in taking your shots.
As you walk up for your shot, once you are focused, visualize where you want the shot to go. Make sure you get into your comfortable stance. Double check your grip on the cue. Whatever it is that you do before your shot, do it before all of them.
This one sounds easy, but just watch during your next game. When it comes time to make a shot people move. Not just their arm that is moving the cue, but the rest of their bodies. Some heads will move, others wiggle their shoulders or hips.
Work on keeping your body still while taking your shots. You only need a nice smooth motion from your arm to hit the cue ball and you’ll find that if the rest of you is still your shot will be much more controlled.
Practicing on your own is never as fun as a few rounds with your buddies. The thing is that the solo practice is what will add the most to your consistency. It is the perfect place to repeat the other three tips that we mentioned until they become muscle memory. With enough practice you’ll find that you aren’t thinking about them anymore, they become as natural as walking up to the table.
Another great thing about solo practice is that you can take the same shot time and again. You can keep lining it up and knocking it down. This gives you the chance to come at it from different angles or approaches. It is also a time to fine tune your stance, your grip and everything else about how you play. If you
take the time to gain your confidence in solo practice you will not only find that you improve on your level of consistency, but also in your skill level. You don’t need your own pool table to do this but some of the best pool tables for home use are not that expensive.
There is no need to mediate for hours to learn the ancient wisdom of consistent play. We’ve hit on 4 pointers that will work on improving your level of consistency so that you know what level you’re on. Remember at the end of the day you should be enjoying the game. When you stop doing that you may have to ask why even play. But there is no reason to not consistently win while enjoying yourself.