Confessions of a non-follower

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:

  1. The Illustrated Principles of Pool
  2. Article on the accuracy of follow vs. draw shots
  3. 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:

  1. Practice some follow shots
  2. Practice more follow shots
  3. 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!

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3 responses to “Confessions of a non-follower

  1. Great article. I agree that the follow shot is more accurate in most cases. (with the exception of banks) I used to have the same issue of preferring the draw shot. I think it came from when I was a beginner and was afraid of scratching. It takes allot to break that habit especially when the game is on the line.

    • Thanks for your comment. I’ve always been biased to the draw shot for similar reasons…less chance for a ‘follow scratch’ and also because when I was learning pool the draw shot seemed “cool”. Now I’m working very hard to unlearn that and establish the follow shot as my primary tool. Easier said than done!

  2. I just read your last article,”Irrational Exuberance?” and it was good to see that your. follow shot worked out for you. It’s always nice when your game takes a big jump forward!

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