Today I worked exclusively on kicks. At first, I set up some “easy” two-rail kicks that allowed the use of the Corner 5 kicking system. For more information on how this system works, you can click here. I did ok, certainly not great, but not too bad considering that I never practice kicks. I also practiced kicks using the 2 rail parallel aiming system, and also covered some long distance one-rail kicks. Again, the results were not terrible, but not that good either. I could tell this was going to be one of those days.
In order to make big improvements in your game, you need to work on those skill areas where your talent is lacking. This approach to talent development comes with a caveat: working on an area where your skills are deficient can be discouraging, can make you lose focus, and can lead to bad habits. Let’s be honest. We all want to be successful in our chosen field of study. In my case, that means that I always want to shoot a great game of pool. Not shooting good makes me feel irritated.
After about thirty minutes, I noticed that I was starting to lose my concentration. I needed to make the session a little more fun, so I invented a new game to facilitate development of my kicking skills. A new game to me at least. I decided to call the game “Kicks.” Wow! Original, huh? Here’s how the game is played. “Kicks” is a game of rotation and the rules are identical to nine ball with two notable exceptions: (1) every shot must be a rail first kick, (2) you continue shooting as long as you can make a legal hit (you don’t have to pocket an object ball to continue the inning). All other nine ball rules apply. To start the game, throw four object balls out on the table. Take cueball in hand on the first shot and play in rotation. Once you pocket the lowest numbered ball via a one-rail or two-rail kick, you move on to the next lowest numbered ball. This obviously makes for a long game, but the objective here is really to practice kicks, not to run racks. For me, I just wanted to make solid contact with the object ball off of a rail first kick and hope for the best. If a ball went into a pocket, it was usually by accident. This new game managed to keep me engaged and focused for the rest of the practice session. After a few days of playing this game, I should get much better at “seeing” kicks.