Five more tips to help your pool game

Zack Fulkerson/Sports Columnist

Zack Fulkerson/Sports Columnist

Around this time last year I offered seven tips for improving your pool game.  Get comfortable, slow it down, get a good grip, stay focused, stop moving the stick so much,  go easy on the chalk and practice, practice, practice.  Hopefully, by now, these tips have sunk in a little and you’ve had a chance to improve your pool game.  I figured it is never too late to offer some more tips on how you can continue to improve your game.

1. Always be one step ahead

When you’re lining up your shots, you want to try to be mindful of where the ball will end up next.  If you just fire in the easiest shot you can find, it might not leave you any opportunity to shoot in another ball.  Become familiar with where the ball will land after you take each shot, and try to plan accordingly.  Don’t take all day to do this — that can get really annoying.  Just try to remember that you have to make seven before you can make the eight.

2. Go for the angle

As tempting as it may be to shoot straight-in shots all of the time, this actually isn’t always desirable.  A lot of things can go wrong with these shots, especially the further away the cue ball is from the ball you want to sink.  You are more likely to follow a straight shot in and scratch.  You’re also probably freeing up a pocket, which gives your opponent more places to shoot.  That said, go for angle shots.  They provide you with a lot more room to work within my tip number one.  And they improve your English, which is fundamental to running the table.

3. Set yourself up for success

Something you see newer  pool players do all the time: if a ball is right in front of a pocket, they will shoot it in almost 100 percent of the time.  In all honesty, you don’t want to do that.  It’s a good defensive move to let your ball sit in front of the hole and find something else to shoot at.  This way, your opponent can’t put anything there and has to take harder shots.  If you have nothing to shoot at, try spending a turn setting yourself up for a better shot next time around.  You can do this by moving a ball closer to an open pocket or hitting one out of a tight space.

4. Chin up, head down, arm out

When you’re lining up your shot you want to keep your head down so that you are eye level with your shot, and stretch your non-dominant arm (the one you rest the cue on) straight in front of you.  Once you’ve found your stance comfortably, work on lining up your shots with your chin rather than the cue.  This gives you a better perspective on the table.

5. Follow through

This is a tip I mentioned in passing the last time around, but certainly needs more emphasis.  As you improve your game, you’ll start to take notice to how you must strike the cue for each kind of shot to be successful.  Every shot is a bit different, but a good rule of thumb is to follow through.  Don’t jab or poke the ball.  Your shot should be a smooth stroke with a beginning, middle and end.

As always, the more you practice the easier it becomes.  So head over to the Bowling and Billiards Center and get to work.

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