No, this is not me.
No need to wait a month to see results… my new approach to pool practice has already produced a quantum leap in ability!!! I saw the first evidence on Tuesday night when I decided at the last minute to play a straight pool match at Lucky Shot Billiards. I shot a pretty good 14.1 game, still made a handful of small mental mistakes, but my shot-making accuracy was off the chart! My stance felt more stable, I was seeing the shots much better, and my stroke was dead on. Last night at Lucky Shot Billiards I played an APA 8 ball match against another “7”, again made a handful of small mental mistakes, but my shot making accuracy and speed control were much improved over my recent performance.
What did I change? I just had two or three practice sessions (~5 hours total) where I forced myself to be hyper-focused on my pre-shot routine. I was checking my fundamentals on each shot and forcing myself to find a follow shot that would get me where I wanted to go. I also did the unthinkable…I threw all 15 balls out and randomly pocketed them…something I always preach that you should never do. For each shot, I required myself to shoot pure follow shots and focus on finding the aim point, stroking with minimal arm movement, and following through. Voila! My accuracy has skyrocketed, my routes are more natural, and paradoxically, my speed control had also skyrocketed even though I wasn’t working on it! Christmas in May! Yipeee!!!
I have a confession: I hate to follow. In a potential game winning situation if I had to choose between following off one rail or drawing off one or more, I’d take the draw shot almost every time. Why? I’m well aware that the follow shot is a more “natural” shot and is less prone to deflection, making it more accurate than the draw shot, but I just can’t help it. I love draw shots and I know that my shot making is more accurate with draw rather than follow. Doesn’t that statement fly in the face of generally accepted pool wisdom and the laws of physics? I recently had a Facebook exchange with a friend who reminded me of research done on the subject by Dr. David Alciatore, professor of Mechanical Engineering at Colorado State University. According to Dr. Dave, the follow shot is a more accurate and forgiving shot than the draw shot. In his excellent book, “The Illustrated Principles of Pool and Billiards”, Dr. Dave explains and backs up with science (and videos via a website) the physical principles involved.
Here are some links to Dr. Dave’s materials:
- The Illustrated Principles of Pool
- Article on the accuracy of follow vs. draw shots
- Article on deflection for follow vs. draw shots
Okay, I understand and acknowledge the science, but in my pool journey I’ve found that I’m more accurate with the draw shot. On the other hand, my analytical mind must acknowledge the follow shot is a more reliable shot, and if I really want to do whatever is necessary to improve my game, I need to change my habits and take advantage of what science has already proven. How do I do this? I have three ideas:
- Practice some follow shots
- Practice more follow shots
- Practice even more follow shots
That doesn’t sound too difficult does it? I guess there’s really no excuse. Over the next month I will be putting more emphasis on follow shots and utilizing better speed control to get proper position on my next shot. I’ll post an update on my progress in about a month. Until then, I’ll do my best to be a follower!