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Leveraging Shot Speed

Posted 12-18-2014 at 12:37 AM by Legacybilliards
Updated 12-18-2014 at 12:54 AM by Legacybilliards

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Most people who are new to the game think it’s cool to shoot the cue ball into their target ball as hard as humanly possible – on every single shot. They do this for two simple reasons: A) because shooting hard creates a lot of collateral action (think slop play) that may or may not end well for them and B) because they don’t know what they are doing. Fact of the matter is shooting too hard will greatly reduce accuracy and “make the pocket smaller”. This does not, however, mean that shooting hard is never an option. Shot speed can vary widely and knowing how to control it is paramount to success.

A seasoned player will tell you shot speed is arguably the most important part of the game. Sure, a good grasp on geometry and fundamentals like how to hold the cue stick are important, but speed is the ultimate deciding factor on position play. A professional will need to know exactly where the cue ball will end up and how to make it go there. To that end, speed is of the utmost importance.

Here are five tips and tricks to consider that will help you leverage your shot speed to its fullest potential:

• Take A Deep Breath... Then Exhale – Messing around for fun is one thing but during a real contest, especially during league play, pressure can become a real factor. When adrenaline kicks in it can cause strange things to happen with a stroke. To help shake the jitters, make sure to focus on breathing and relax before each shot.

• Use A Gentle Grip – Follow through is one of the most important keys to controlling shot speed. If a player has a death grip on the pool cue the tightness of their muscles will naturally slow the stroke and negatively affect follow through.

• Use Practice Strokes – It is important to visualize where the cue ball is going and how it needs to be delivered. To help with this, practice the length of the stroke and the delivery speed before actually shooting the cue ball.

• Lukewarm Is Good – Babying the cue ball can sometimes be just as detrimental as cracking into it. When in doubt default to a smooth, medium stroke.

• Practice, Practice, Practice – Not all pool tables are created equal. The quality of the table and type of felt can have varying effects on how fast or slow a table can be. To maximize speed control, make sure to practice on different tables to get a feel for the various speeds.
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