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Fuji-whopper
05-02-2009, 11:52 AM
Been having trouble lately with when to pull the trigger, always trying to be fully ready to shoot before shooting but of course it sounds easier than it is. My question to you is: how do you know when to shoot?

Like others, I talk to myself before shooting and also try to control my breathing so I'll breath out slowly before the last stroke. But some people see dots or lines and others see/feel different things, please share what goes through your mind when you decide you're ready to pull the trigger.

Tennesseejoe
05-02-2009, 11:55 AM
When I am relaxed in focus---if that makes sense to you.

TX Poolnut
05-02-2009, 12:15 PM
I have a preshot routine that I've developed over the years that works for me. I suggest you do the same.

Ever notice how Efren ALWAYS pulls the trigger on the second stroke? It's his preshot routine that helps him work his magic.

The Renfro
05-02-2009, 01:02 PM
You need to follow TX Poolnut's advice and develop a strong preshot routine. I have seen several instances over the years where reliance on "just knowing" leads to a major psychological hang up of not ever being able to pull the trigger under pressure.

Do the work and put in the time to determine exactly how many practice strokes you need to give your mind time to process the imagery and feel for what you are doing. Not enough time and you don't process the information fully and too long you lose focus or mentally lock up... IF at the end of the set number it still doesn't feel right stand up and start over, your subconscious will be telling you something in your assessment is wrong

There is truth to analysis/ paralysis and a player without a rhythm is a danger to noone but themselves unless all they want to play is onepocket.

JoeyA
05-02-2009, 01:14 PM
Been having trouble lately with when to pull the trigger, always trying to be fully ready to shoot before shooting but of course it sounds easier than it is. My question to you is: how do you know when to shoot?

Like others, I talk to myself before shooting and also try to control my breathing so I'll breath out slowly before the last stroke. But some people see dots or lines and others see/feel different things, please share what goes through your mind when you decide you're ready to pull the trigger.

I have trouble pulling the trigger when I am tired probably because I AM NOT ALIGNED PROPERLY and my aiming suffers because of it.

Most of my problems in shooting revolve around not practicing well enough and being tired. I find short multiple sessions of practicing is better for me than long sessions.

I like your question. What does Thorsten say?

Thanks,
JoeyA

bell
05-02-2009, 01:26 PM
You never really know when you are ready to pull the trigger. After a few thousand shots, your mental computer and muscle memory will tell you when you are aligned for the shot. A solid preshot routine will tell you when to pull the trigger. There is no tone or little light that comes on when you are perfect on the shot as in air to air missiles. Trust your stroke.

mamono
05-02-2009, 01:33 PM
I take my practice strokes at the speed that I will actually take the shot. The last stroke before the shot, I pause while sighting the object ball. Confident about my shot, I pull the trigger exactly as I had practice stroke and how I visualized the shot, then pause again to make sure I follow-through while watching the shot in-progress.

poolhustler
05-02-2009, 01:48 PM
Preshot routine, preshot reoutine, preshot routine.

That being said, I am learning to back off from a shot if I am not 100% ready to go. I know for a fact that I miss most shots because I am not 100% committed to a shot, but pull the tirgger anyways.

Russ.....

CreeDo
05-02-2009, 01:50 PM
ugh, I almost fell for that preshot routine stuff lol...Poolnut, I respectfully disagree. I think anyone who actually counts practice strokes has a form of insanity.

I immediately googled efren to see if he really does always pull the trigger on the 2nd swing.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LeJbyrUC0zI

You can see that on the 2nd shot, which is a harder cut, he takes more swings. Efren's magic is NOT in his preshot routine.

Preshot routine is overhyped. The more focus you put into unimportant things that ought to be natural and subconscious (breathing, foot position, practice stroke count, where your eyes want to focus) the less focus you can put on lining up and stroking the shot.

http://forums.azbilliards.com/showthread.php?t=140076

Check out posts 5, 8, 22, 41, etc. See a pattern? The point is, excessive thinking about this shít will cause you to utterly shark yourself. It should be as natural as walking, not carefully counted and calculated.

To answer the original poster's question:
Shoot when nothing else is bothering you about the shot. You aren't worried you may be lined up to overcut. You aren't worried about undercutting it. There's no question about whether you're going to hit the part of the cue ball you want. You've compensated as best as you can for throw, squirt, etc. You like your general gameplan. You have a few warmup strokes under your belt to judge the speed.

As long as something is nagging at you and you're worried the shot might not work... even if you're not sure why... you don't pull the trigger. You honestly ask yourself what's bothering you, see if you can correct, and if necessary stand up and change your whole shooting plan.

Once nothing at all is preventing you from pulling the trigger, why wouldn't you? Are you trying to bore your opponent? ;D

poolhustler
05-02-2009, 01:55 PM
ugh, I almost fell for that preshot routine stuff lol...Poolnut, I respectfully disagree. I think anyone who actually counts practice strokes has a form of insanity.

I immediately googled efren to see if he really does always pull the trigger on the 2nd swing.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LeJbyrUC0zI

You can see that on the 2nd shot, which is a harder cut, he takes more swings. Efren's magic is NOT in his preshot routine.

Preshot routine is overhyped. The more focus you put into unimportant things that ought to be natural and subconscious (breathing, foot position, practice stroke count, where your eyes want to focus) the less focus you can put on lining up and stroking the shot.

http://forums.azbilliards.com/showthread.php?t=140076

Check out posts 5, 8, 22, 41, etc. See a pattern? The point is, excessive thinking about this shít will cause you to utterly shark yourself. It should be as natural as walking, not carefully counted and calculated.

To answer the original poster's question:
Shoot when nothing else is bothering you about the shot. You aren't worried you may be lined up to overcut. You aren't worried about undercutting it. There's no question about whether you're going to hit the part of the cue ball you want. You've compensated as best as you can for throw, squirt, etc. You like your general gameplan. You have a few warmup strokes under your belt to judge the speed.

As long as something is nagging at you and you're worried the shot might not work... even if you're not sure why... you don't pull the trigger. You honestly ask yourself what's bothering you, see if you can correct, and if necessary stand up and change your whole shooting plan.

Once nothing at all is preventing you from pulling the trigger, why wouldn't you? Are you trying to bore your opponent? ;D

That's exactly why you need a good preshot routine, so you can focus on the shot, lining up correctly,etc. Once you have developed it, you don't have to think about it. It is second nature and allows you to focus on the shot.

chin0
05-02-2009, 03:08 PM
Being a newbie, I am not sure what feeling it is, but a feeling of confidence and comfort sets in, and it feels like everything in the room goes quiet and nothing is in motion other than my stroke hitting the CB. It feels like I know I made that shot before it was shot. It almost feels as if the blood in my veins started to run warmer and once the stroke falls, the CB contacts the OB and you hear it traveling directly into the pocket. It is a feeling that you know you are going to make the shot, your pre-stroke feels smooth like the clocks have slowed down, and a feeling of security, the OB is clear in your view, and you deliver the promising shot. You may not be smiling on the outside, but you can feel yourself smiling on the inside.

I know it sounds confusing, but I am doing my best to describe the feeling. :embarrassed2:

Chino

JXMIKE
05-02-2009, 03:29 PM
Been having trouble lately with when to pull the trigger, always trying to be fully ready to shoot before shooting but of course it sounds easier than it is. My question to you is: how do you know when to shoot?

Like others, I talk to myself before shooting and also try to control my breathing so I'll breath out slowly before the last stroke. But some people see dots or lines and others see/feel different things, please share what goes through your mind when you decide you're ready to pull the trigger.


Hey neil, you had no problem pulling the trigger on me at park avenue on tuesday:D

Good luck at tophat and bankshot god knows you need it.:wink:

5ballcharlie
05-02-2009, 03:42 PM
Been having trouble lately with when to pull the trigger, always trying to be fully ready to shoot before shooting but of course it sounds easier than it is. My question to you is: how do you know when to shoot?

Like others, I talk to myself before shooting and also try to control my breathing so I'll breath out slowly before the last stroke. But some people see dots or lines and others see/feel different things, please share what goes through your mind when you decide you're ready to pull the trigger.

I pull the trigger when I know im going to make the ball

Mr441
05-02-2009, 03:43 PM
I think you're thinking way too much. I can't imagine paying attention to my breath while shooting. I honestly don't think about anything when shooting, I just get the object ball in my sight and when it looks right I shoot. No pre-shot routine, no aiming system.

macguy
05-02-2009, 03:48 PM
Been having trouble lately with when to pull the trigger, always trying to be fully ready to shoot before shooting but of course it sounds easier than it is. My question to you is: how do you know when to shoot?

Like others, I talk to myself before shooting and also try to control my breathing so I'll breath out slowly before the last stroke. But some people see dots or lines and others see/feel different things, please share what goes through your mind when you decide you're ready to pull the trigger.

When I start thinking about I know I am in trouble. I will usually get up off the ball and start over. It has to feel natural and right, not conscious.

CharlesUFarley
05-02-2009, 04:35 PM
You never really know when you are ready to pull the trigger. After a few thousand shots, your mental computer and muscle memory will tell you when you are aligned for the shot. A solid preshot routine will tell you when to pull the trigger. There is no tone or little light that comes on when you are perfect on the shot as in air to air missiles. Trust your stroke.
Incorrect. When I am in stroke (confident) a light literally comes on for me when I am lined up correctly. I describe it like missile lock on Top Gun. When I am lined up on my contact point, every thing (cue ball, object ball, and the imaginary line between them) literally lights up for me. I know it's weird, but when that is happening, I don't miss much.

JoeyA
05-02-2009, 04:47 PM
For those of you who don't know Fuji-whopper:

HE IS A VERY STRONG PLAYER!

JoeyA

muttley76
05-02-2009, 05:04 PM
For those of you who don't know Fuji-whopper:

HE IS A VERY STRONG PLAYER!

JoeyA


Yeah, I had the pleasure to meet and play him in a tourney in Athens, GA, a few years back, and not only is he a very, very good player, he is also a really nice guy. Even if you luck out on him:). And as to the original question, I only hit the ball AFTER it has talked trash on my mother. Then it is GO TIME!

CreeDo
05-02-2009, 05:11 PM
poolhustler (and others who talk about the routine)... I think the goal of the preshot routine is to get players who rush to slow down and focus. And it makes them shoot the same way every time. That's an admirable goal.

One player talked about taking a little trip around the table and really looking before deciding on a shot. That's part of his routine and it makes sure he doesn't overlook anything. I can also see the value in teaching X practice strokes. If someone does a minimum of ten practice strokes then it becomes impossible to 'two-stroke' the ball (i.e. just take a quick hurried whack at it without properly considering the outcome).

But, I feel a player should best be taught to bring patience and focus to their game without using any ritual or tricks. They don't need routine to bring these things into play... at least I don't. Routine might sound like it builds consistency but it can also mentally put you to sleep or make you unable to adapt to unfamiliar situations. If you are facing a tough shot, extra practice swings are necessary. What if you are determined to swing at practice stroke 5 but you just don't feel ready and locked on? You're gonna miss.

We all want a consistent stroke but no two shots are identical and you'll often be forced to shoot slightly differently...whether it's sliding the grip hand back for a power stroke, or changing your foot position to lean across the table. All the little things we're taught to do the same way every time can't always be done the same way every time.

The important thing is to just be comfortable. Do what comes naturally. Don't force yourself to stroke during the in or out breath, don't force yourself to stroke on the fifth swing, don't force yourself to plant your feet at 90 degree angles when 60 feels more comfortable, etc.

Forcing yourself to do things works against being comfortable and sucks focus away from the actual shotmaking process (which has nothing to do with whether you're inhaling or exhaling when you backswing). Yes, you can also force yourself into a routine until it feels like second nature and you don't have to think about it, but you aren't doing yourself any favors when a shot comes up that defies the routine, and I don't think you really have an edge over a player who just shoots comfortably and naturally, with no preset routine.

ShootingArts
05-02-2009, 05:16 PM
Been having trouble lately with when to pull the trigger, always trying to be fully ready to shoot before shooting but of course it sounds easier than it is. My question to you is: how do you know when to shoot?

Like others, I talk to myself before shooting and also try to control my breathing so I'll breath out slowly before the last stroke. But some people see dots or lines and others see/feel different things, please share what goes through your mind when you decide you're ready to pull the trigger.


Neil,

Unless you are playing on a shot clock, if it doesn't feel right within fifteen seconds or so to pull the trigger come off the shot and try again. Don't try to force the shot when it doesn't feel like time to pull the trigger. I can't really tell you when to shoot but I can tell you when not to, I have a great deal of experience at that!

Preshot routine and rhythm are wonderful things but to a certain extent they are the result of being comfortable, not what make you comfortable. You probably already have a good general routine, just don't hesitate to pull up if it doesn't feel right. I pulled up twice off a very simple shot in a tournament recently, almost dead straight in but for some reason I couldn't see the angle. The third time down I refused to come up again. Any banger could make that shot almost every time. So can I, but you already know I missed it that time.

Shoot when you genuinely feel ready. Don't let a preshot routine or any other outside factor persuade you to shoot. Paraphrasing from the sixties, "When it feels good, do it!"

Hu

WoodyJ
05-02-2009, 05:48 PM
In general, I always follow my preshot routine but when I'm ready to shoot I'm with CreeDo:

...

Preshot routine is overhyped. The more focus you put into unimportant things that ought to be natural and subconscious (breathing, foot position, practice stroke count, where your eyes want to focus) the less focus you can put on lining up and stroking the shot.

... The point is, excessive thinking about this shít will cause you to utterly shark yourself. It should be as natural as walking, not carefully counted and calculated.

To answer the original poster's question:
Shoot when nothing else is bothering you about the shot. ...

As long as something is nagging at you and you're worried the shot might not work... even if you're not sure why... you don't pull the trigger. You honestly ask yourself what's bothering you, see if you can correct, and if necessary stand up and change your whole shooting plan.

Once nothing at all is preventing you from pulling the trigger, why wouldn't you? Are you trying to bore your opponent? ;D

If I'm ready to shoot and something is bothering me (e.g., my mind talking to myself, someone else moving in my line of vision, my opponent trying to shark me, etc.), I'll just pull off, chalk my cue again (the first step in my preshot routine) and reload.

I don't talk while I'm shooting in order to turn off my speach center in the left side of my brain. And, if someone else is distracting me for whatever reason I'll pull off. If I pull off more than once I'll let my opponent know why and let them know I'll shoot when the distraction is over. Usually they will talk to the distractor for me once they get bored (and that way I don't have to engage someone else -- and, often this sharks my opponent instead).

If it's my opponent that's being rude, sharking, acting like an ass, etc. I'll let them know that I prefer to play geneleman pool but can do down and dirty and then turn into a completely different animal if they (or their friends) want to continue with their antics. At which point I still don't use conventional words after that while I'm shooting. I'll grunt, growl, use pirate lingo like a-r-r-r-g-g-g-h-h-h, lots of body language, etc. And, while my opponent is shooting I'll talk to others (in particular their friends/girlfriend if any) while my opponent is shooting (in a loud enough voice so they can hear me talking about them indirectly while they are shooting; or, even better suck up to their friends/girlfriend and get chummy with them). Might as well have fun using every dirty trick in the book to toy with my opponent if they conciously state that they want to go down that road.

I just have to keep mentally reminding myself that I'm there to have fun, focus on the game and forget about life's distractions. If anything about the game starts giving you lemons it's time to start making lemonaide.

Moon Cricket
05-02-2009, 05:52 PM
Hi,

Hmm. good question... i get a "feel" and fire away. if i don't like or start to 2nd guess...i try to make it a point to get up, rechalk, etc.. sometimes i ignore my own advice and stay down to shoot anyway...when i miss i feel like kicking myself in the nuts for not resetting but i don't. i take a few warm up strokes, get a good feel and stroke it.

ridewiththewind
05-02-2009, 06:08 PM
Once I have found exactly where I want to be on the CB, through some practice strokes, I take a everso slight pause in my backstroke, and then take the shot. I have found that, for me, adding that slight pause snaps my brain right into focus, and everything else follows. It has done wonders for not only my CB speed, but control as well. I also stay down on the shot until the object ball has hit it's intended pocket...this has made my shots, particularly those long table shots, infinitely more accurate.

Lisa

Jesse
05-02-2009, 06:35 PM
My dad is a strong player and he has a very strict preshot routine, but it's unconscious--and he never put work into it. I mentioned it one day and he said "oh, really?"

He chalks his cue, puts the chalk down really emphatically--while looking at the shot, steps into the shot a certain way--and after that I can't honestly say I know what happens, but everything I mentioned is the same on every shot.

softshot
05-02-2009, 08:33 PM
ugh, I almost fell for that preshot routine stuff lol...Poolnut, I respectfully disagree. I think anyone who actually counts practice strokes has a form of insanity.

I immediately googled efren to see if he really does always pull the trigger on the 2nd swing.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LeJbyrUC0zI

You can see that on the 2nd shot, which is a harder cut, he takes more swings. Efren's magic is NOT in his preshot routine.

Preshot routine is overhyped. The more focus you put into unimportant things that ought to be natural and subconscious (breathing, foot position, practice stroke count, where your eyes want to focus) the less focus you can put on lining up and stroking the shot.

http://forums.azbilliards.com/showthread.php?t=140076

Check out posts 5, 8, 22, 41, etc. See a pattern? The point is, excessive thinking about this shít will cause you to utterly shark yourself. It should be as natural as walking, not carefully counted and calculated.

To answer the original poster's question:
Shoot when nothing else is bothering you about the shot. You aren't worried you may be lined up to overcut. You aren't worried about undercutting it. There's no question about whether you're going to hit the part of the cue ball you want. You've compensated as best as you can for throw, squirt, etc. You like your general gameplan. You have a few warmup strokes under your belt to judge the speed.

As long as something is nagging at you and you're worried the shot might not work... even if you're not sure why... you don't pull the trigger. You honestly ask yourself what's bothering you, see if you can correct, and if necessary stand up and change your whole shooting plan.

Once nothing at all is preventing you from pulling the trigger, why wouldn't you? Are you trying to bore your opponent? ;D

I disagree... I feel preshot routine is critical to performance under pressure..

I don't focus on my routine or count strokes or any of that stuff while PLAYING pool..when playing... I play ...my mind is in the game. calculating position choosing patterns ect..

I DO however focus on my preshot during practice everyday.. tune it tweak it.. make it second nature...

if your thinking about it.. it's not a routine..

it only becomes a routine when you have practised it ad nauseum

I have reached the point where when I don't follow my routine .. I get warning signs in my head and stand up and start over..

I practice to ingrain behaviour.. I play to play

2 different things IMO

mamono
05-02-2009, 09:14 PM
I believe preshot routine is critical also. As mentioned earlier, some people drill their preshot routine so well that it becomes unconscious. That's where you'll want to be later down the road, but it takes effort before being able to get there, IMHO.

Cameron Smith
05-02-2009, 11:20 PM
poolhustler (and others who talk about the routine)... I think the goal of the preshot routine is to get players who rush to slow down and focus. And it makes them shoot the same way every time. That's an admirable goal.

One player talked about taking a little trip around the table and really looking before deciding on a shot. That's part of his routine and it makes sure he doesn't overlook anything. I can also see the value in teaching X practice strokes. If someone does a minimum of ten practice strokes then it becomes impossible to 'two-stroke' the ball (i.e. just take a quick hurried whack at it without properly considering the outcome).

But, I feel a player should best be taught to bring patience and focus to their game without using any ritual or tricks. They don't need routine to bring these things into play... at least I don't. Routine might sound like it builds consistency but it can also mentally put you to sleep or make you unable to adapt to unfamiliar situations. If you are facing a tough shot, extra practice swings are necessary. What if you are determined to swing at practice stroke 5 but you just don't feel ready and locked on? You're gonna miss.

We all want a consistent stroke but no two shots are identical and you'll often be forced to shoot slightly differently...whether it's sliding the grip hand back for a power stroke, or changing your foot position to lean across the table. All the little things we're taught to do the same way every time can't always be done the same way every time.

The important thing is to just be comfortable. Do what comes naturally. Don't force yourself to stroke during the in or out breath, don't force yourself to stroke on the fifth swing, don't force yourself to plant your feet at 90 degree angles when 60 feels more comfortable, etc.

Forcing yourself to do things works against being comfortable and sucks focus away from the actual shotmaking process (which has nothing to do with whether you're inhaling or exhaling when you backswing). Yes, you can also force yourself into a routine until it feels like second nature and you don't have to think about it, but you aren't doing yourself any favors when a shot comes up that defies the routine, and I don't think you really have an edge over a player who just shoots comfortably and naturally, with no preset routine.

The point of a pre-shot routine is to help a player feel comfortable. Sports Psychologist all recommend it stating that it helps to focus the player, golfer, bowler etc.

The idea isn't to be focusing on doing something silly with the chalk but rather to get yourself focused on the shot at hand. If you are thinking about your stroke while your shooting or paying attention to every little detail, then your focus is not where it should be. A pre-shot routine ensures that everything is automatic.

Some routines are more obvious than others, but every pro player approaches a shot in the same way every time. Even someone like Earl or Rodney, they set up the same way on each shot. You'll notice that every player maintains the same pace around the table from match to match, also part of it.

In order to play consistently you need to do things consistently (if that makes any sense). If a player has not developed a routine, chances are they are likely to make very simple mistakes (missing easy balls, getting out of line when the position was not challenging etc.).

Voodoo Daddy
05-03-2009, 03:42 AM
When I start thinking about I know I am in trouble. I will usually get up off the ball and start over. It has to feel natural and right, not conscious.

Best advise for sure...:thumbup:

Neil, I have seen you play in a Fla tour event, you seem real soild. dont let thinking get in the way of a natural or you'll be known as the Charles Barkely of pool. Good luck...

JoeyA
05-03-2009, 06:30 AM
poolhustler (and others who talk about the routine)... I think the goal of the preshot routine is to get players who rush to slow down and focus. And it makes them shoot the same way every time. That's an admirable goal.

One player talked about taking a little trip around the table and really looking before deciding on a shot. That's part of his routine and it makes sure he doesn't overlook anything. I can also see the value in teaching X practice strokes. If someone does a minimum of ten practice strokes then it becomes impossible to 'two-stroke' the ball (i.e. just take a quick hurried whack at it without properly considering the outcome).

But, I feel a player should best be taught to bring patience and focus to their game without using any ritual or tricks. They don't need routine to bring these things into play... at least I don't. Routine might sound like it builds consistency but it can also mentally put you to sleep or make you unable to adapt to unfamiliar situations. If you are facing a tough shot, extra practice swings are necessary. What if you are determined to swing at practice stroke 5 but you just don't feel ready and locked on? You're gonna miss.

We all want a consistent stroke but no two shots are identical and you'll often be forced to shoot slightly differently...whether it's sliding the grip hand back for a power stroke, or changing your foot position to lean across the table. All the little things we're taught to do the same way every time can't always be done the same way every time.

The important thing is to just be comfortable. Do what comes naturally. Don't force yourself to stroke during the in or out breath, don't force yourself to stroke on the fifth swing, don't force yourself to plant your feet at 90 degree angles when 60 feels more comfortable, etc.

Forcing yourself to do things works against being comfortable and sucks focus away from the actual shotmaking process (which has nothing to do with whether you're inhaling or exhaling when you backswing). Yes, you can also force yourself into a routine until it feels like second nature and you don't have to think about it, but you aren't doing yourself any favors when a shot comes up that defies the routine, and I don't think you really have an edge over a player who just shoots comfortably and naturally, with no preset routine.

CreeDo,
You bring up a number of good points and they go against the grain of many of the pool instructors that hang out on this forum.

The absence of some of the pool instructors is quite apparent. Maybe all of them have just been to busy to answer this question. I am curious as to what their response would be.

It is far easier to sift through some of the answers to come up with the best solutions after discussion has been done. I respect your attempt to answer the question based upon your personal experience and I think you may be correct.

This art of pocket billiards is about precision. I won't discount pre-shot routines because they are, I believe an important part of consistency.

I also think that some days we naturally have ESP (extra sensory perception) and think it is simply a law of nature. I'm not talking about clairvoyance in the traditional sense. I'm talking about that super enhanced ability to see and feel things more clearly as well as the ability to act upon those things that we see and feel.

All of us at one time or another have had the special moments when everything comes together. Maybe biorhythms are pseudoscience and maybe not but I am certain that we have peaks and valleys in our performances and whether they are due to biorhythms or not is for others to debate.

I plan to experiment with my aiming and playing in the near future even though I am playing rather well right now, moving my body until the shot looks right and then simply, smoothly, pulled the trigger made the shot and obtained four rail shape.

Recently I was playing a very good player and under great pressure, I happened to align myself so perfectly that I was able to make an extremely difficult shot and obtain four rail shape with uncanny precision. I think I was able to make the shot because I aligned my body perfectly and I KNEW that I had aligned my body perfectly and I knew that the path of the cue ball would take me to the promised land.

It wasn't a pre-shot routine that made the shot, it was precision. (I have a pre-shot routine) and use it but don't think about it much when I am playing well. I think it is important and use it in teaching pool and practicing and for me, a pre-shot routine is needed to achieve a certain level of play but it is ALIGNMENT AND PRECISION of MOVEMENT that are the two things that will take you to the PROMISED LAND.

If some people want to say that these two items are part of a pre-shot routine, so be it, but I think they are elusive components of who we are and difficult to control when our mind, body and soul are not in synchronization with each other.

You've made me think more about this and I thank you. If I reach another Epiphany I will let you know. :D

JoeyA

BillPorter
05-03-2009, 07:02 AM
The answer to this question may depend on your approach to aiming the shot. Please be aware that I am not recommending my aiming method, but here it is. When I first drop down on a shot, and after seeing that my cue tip is going to contact the cue ball where I want it to, I use a few practice strokes to fine tune my aim by a sort of "bracketing" method. For example, as a practice stroke is moving the cue toward the cue ball, it may seem that if I deliver the final stroke in the same line as this practice stroke the shot will be over cut. So I adjust my aim a bit on the next practice stroke. When I make a practice stroke where everything seems "right" (aiming and cue ball speed), I usually pull the trigger on the next stroke. My accuracy goes up if I take the time to make ONE ADDITIONAL practice stroke and make sure that everything STILL seems "right."

Jason Robichaud
05-03-2009, 07:32 AM
Having a good routine is key. Couple things that make it so for me...

1. Start by running table in your head taking BIH for every shot and finding the trouble...
2. When I get ready to shoot the OB, before I get down, I think about that shape area and how hard I need to stroke to get there.
3. I stand over the OB and chalk. I think about potting the ball, contact points and angle the ball is coming off.
4. I get down in my stance and start to practice stroke. I don't count.
5. I take a practice stroke trying to feel like I am just going to lag the CB to my shape area. Once I have this feeling I add a little more stroke speed, length or hand to get what I feel is the speed I need to get shape.
6. I take a stroke or two at the stroke required, feeling it is proper speed.
7. Take a couple little strokes, inch or so, and focus on contact point (potting).
8. pause at CB and Stroke it.

This all happens in seconds and within 5 or 6 strokes. I don't count the strokes but know from watching video how many it takes. This is what I developed over the past 4 years or so. What can it do for you? Well for me, it made hard shots easier (more comfortable) and easy shots easier. I don't miss nearly as many easy shots from getting ahead of myself. All this thinking before the shot leaves me in dead stroke. I am thinking about nothing during the actual shot other than delivering the cue straight. Sounds like a lot of steps but it gets me out of the way during the shot.

CreeDo
05-03-2009, 08:21 AM
Pretty interesting answers so far. My favorite thread this month ^^

I think one of the things that people have confused is the cause and effect of preshot routines. If you were to videotape me, I probably have a pretty consistent approach and pretty consistent pace. I may even take the same number of practice strokes on half my shots (no idea if this is true). All this consistency didn't come because I practiced with a preshot routine. I got the consistent preshot routine because I spent a lot of time practicing to be a good shooter in general.

The preshot routine is not the cause of my good shooting, it's the effect.

A lot of the stuff I hear people preach in a preshot routine are just general common-sense pocket billiards advice. I don't walk around the table as part of a routine, I do it because I hate to overlook the best shot. I don't stop to chalk as part of a routine, I do it because miscues suck. You get the idea?

Maybe I've been doing this stuff so long I take it for granted that I will do all the important little steps on every shot. I guess a newer player may miss or skip some of those steps. So this preshot routine stuff would be a very practical way to force him not to skip them. If you drill it into him as a 7-step program, and you MUST do all the steps before you pull the trigger... that player won't screw up the important stuff anymore. He might still miss the ball but at least he won't forget to chalk or pass up the hanger he didn't look at in the corner.

softshot: It sounds like you don't play much differently than me, you just practice differently. If you honestly feel that the preshot routine you do during practice helps you a few hours or a few days later when you actually play... well, god bless. Maybe it does. Personally, I think what is helping you is not the fact that you did the same thing before the shot every time, it's the fact that you are practicing at all. It's the kind of drills you do, and the amount of focus you put into them, and the info you learned from them. That's what is making you consistent. If you started skipping your preshot routine during your next few practice sessions, I bet you will still fall into a comfortable shooting stance and continue to hit balls well, both with or without an opponent. Whatever it is you're trying to ingrain... it's already there. You're done. You know how to stand and stroke correctly. You can stop counting :)

Cameron: I think Earl and Rodney and the rest of us can't help but develop a routine. You are going to do a lot of the important things the same way over and over... because there's no reason to do them differently each time unless you're just trying to piss off your backer. So yes, if you are saying "pause on the backswing every time" as part of a preshot routine, or "look around the table and make sure you have a plan"... we're on the same page. I guess I just object to the level of detail that preshot routine fans go into. Putting the chalk down the same way, planting the front foot and then the back foot, counting strokes, paying attention to breathing... good lord, I violently doubt earl or rodney or efren ever did this.

A few people have already admitted that despite their love of preshot routine, they don't do the same thing every time at the table... or like softshot, they do it concsciously during practice but subconsciously during the game. So here's my question... where would you rather perform your best? During the game or during practice? Let's assume the game. And softshot has found that when he's actually playing... he turns off the conscious preshot routine and lets it happen subconsciously.

So if you turn it off when you want to shoot your best, why not turn it off during practice too and see what happens? I think you'll be pleasantly surprised to find your muscles remember the important and that you won't start missing balls if you skip trivial stuff like stroking during your exhale.

Joey: I am a pretty non-superstitious person and I think that's why the preshot routine stuff drives me nuts. I think the people who teach it have good intentions but some of it makes me think of knocking on wood thirteen times before you shoot. A lot of it is very practical though and I won't fault any pro instructor (where are y'all?) for teaching it. I teach parts of it too, I just don't ritualize it. If you want to chalk before you walk around the table instead of after, go right ahead, ya know? The point is, once you're over the shot, you will do your aiming routine (and your hand will practice stroke on its own however many times it needs to) and then when there are no more objections, you stroke. (BTW BillPorter, I think I aim that way too. I may deliver like 2 or 3 more practice swings once I think I'm happy but otherwise the bracketing sounds familiar).

We're on the same page, sometimes it's almost spooky when you know when to shoot. When I do a long straight back bank, how do I know when I'm aiming at the right place? I don't use a system (not often anyway). I can't even SEE the pocket I'm shooting into. I think it's sheer experience and memory doing the job. So when I stop lining up and fire and it goes in, it seems like magic... the magic of hitting a thousand balls lol =)

Pii
05-03-2009, 08:23 AM
.

As long as something is nagging at you and you're worried the shot might not work... even if you're not sure why... you don't pull the trigger. You honestly ask yourself what's bothering you, see if you can correct, and if necessary stand up and change your whole shooting plan.

Once nothing at all is preventing you from pulling the trigger, why wouldn't you? Are you trying to bore your opponent? ;D

When "something" is nagging at me it's usually my subconscious telling me " Hey dummy something isn't right here" I then tell it " no I can force it " of course we all know the outcome here :-)

Learn to lesson to yourself and when "yourself" is happy it/you will pull the trigger naturally and without thought.
I recommend reading "Zen and the Art of Archery."

If that's too much work here's a summary
STOP THINKING ABOUT WHEN TO PULL THE TRIGGER.:thumbup:

Jason Robichaud
05-03-2009, 08:43 AM
Creedo, sounds like you have a routine. It has become part of your game like aiming... You probably love the aiming threads:D You are at the point of just playing pool and developed the skills needed. I think helping people find a routine will fast track improvement. All we are saying is don't be lazy and routines will help. A perfect example, chalking! Some miscue from not putting on chalk. All the practice could be for not because you didn't chalk at hill/hill. Next game you are thinking about the miscue and stroke it bad or change the stroke etc... I have seen people get into a slump for something so simple. A routine will allow someone to move past the bad shot because it never happens and wont again for a very long time.

Johnnyt
05-03-2009, 08:55 AM
When I'm really focused and the shot means something to me I go through all of my pre-shot stuff and when I get down and find my spot on the QB I then focus on the spot on the OB I want to hit. When I have the smallest area I can see on the OB pin-pointed I look at the pocket and let it go. Works for me...most of the time:wink:. Johnnyt