In my last post I mentioned that my 1.5 hour practice session on Sunday was my best practice session ever. Why? The first reason, as mentioned in my last post, is that I found a way to drastically improve my 9 Ball break. I virtually eliminated scratching, and improved the probability of making a ball on the break from ~40% to ~87%. That’s a huge difference…and with just one hour of work! The second reason? I made huge improvements in my kicking game.
Several months ago I published a banking map which showed how to bank balls into the corner pocket from anywhere on the table. The system usually worked well for my banking game, and I utilized the same map to guide my kicking game. I noted over time that although the system worked well for shorter kicks to the corner, table length kicks were somewhat unreliable. I had a couple matches last week in which my opponent played some long distance safeties on me. Even though I really focused and tried my best to use the system to hit the required kicks, some of them missed, and a couple missed badly. That was it. Something had to change. Here’s my original banking map:
On Sunday, prior to my 9 Ball breaking efforts, I worked on my kicks. I got all the balls out and started working on short kicks to the corner, utilizing the banking map previously mentioned. The system worked pretty well once I remembered that I was supposed to hit the cue ball with a normal follow stroke, not center ball, and not running English. As I worked my way down the length of the table, the system worked well until I made the turn at the far corner and started up the short rail. If have no idea why…I have no idea what changed…but my short rail numbers were WAY off. Below you will see my new kicking map, which gave me very reliable kicks. Although I don’t understand why the numbers changed, I don’t really care. All I know is that I can now hit the corner pocket reliably from anywhere. Actually, I can theoretically hit any spot on the table from anywhere. The beauty of this system is that it can be used regardless of what your final target point is. I should point out that systems like this are highly individualized. The numbers in my kicking map were empirically derived from data gathered during my practice session. Your numbers may be a little different because of differences between you and I (i.e. stroke mechanics, cue ball cueing location, eyesight, speed of stroke, etc.), but my numbers should provide you with a great starting point. So get out there are practice your kicks!