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12-18-2017, 06:12 AM

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Originally Posted by skipbales View Post
Like a lot of people I struggle some with my pre-shot routine, after stepping into the shot.

1. Scott Lee taught me to try to do the same thing each time to train my sub conscious what to expect. I tried 2 strokes aim pause then shoot for quite a while. I never mastered it and found myself thinking more about counting how many stokes I did than aiming. I have a friend I shared this idea with who started with 5 practice and ended up settling on two and does it religiously and it has helped his game. He is probably more trainable then I am.

2. Jerry Briesath talks about evaluating and when everything looks good say "looks good - shoot" or something like that. If it doesn't look good re-do. He does not mention a specific number of practice strokes. He also emphasizes a slow take back on the final stroke. I think almost all the instructors agree with that part.

3. CJ Wiley compares it to a basketball player shooting a free throw. He doesn't take a series of full extensions, he takes several short aiming shots, gets the feel for it then takes a final full slow take back and shoots.

I have tried all of these and find I do best when I don't think much about the first part and just work on relaxing. Sometimes no practice strokes others a few short ones and for some shots a long stroke or two. It depends a lot on how I plan to hit the ball. If I know I have to extend through and take a long stroke for speed or draw, etc. I almost have to take a couple full length strokes. For shots where aim is critical but not speed I like the short strokes for aiming. What I have settled on is a slow take back and getting very stable on my final stoke then a mid to long pause. I feel the nervous energy drain while I pause and get the Jerry Briesath feeling of "it looks good" and my game has picked up substantially in the last week after settling on this routine.

I would be curious what other instructors teach and other players find works best for them.
No--I think it's because five practice strokes are too many for most players--particularly if they are mulling over options during their practice strokes.

The best pre-shot routines include planning stroke, speed and shape with standing erect above the table, then getting down. Good practice strokes tend to "feel more than think" and focus on smooth stroking instead of left brain verbal instructions. That's the "magic" of practice strokes.


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12-18-2017, 07:03 AM

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Originally Posted by Scott Lee View Post
Skip...I have always been a "feel" player. That, however, is not something you can teach someone...they have to come to their own conclusions about what "feel" means to them...as it may not be the same for everyone. That said, like Knels mentioned, being in "the zone" or "deadstroke" is probably the most sought after ability a poolplayer can strive for. Anyone who has ever run a rack of pool has experienced deadstroke...even if just for a few shots. What we can control, and deliver under pressure, is a physical and mental routine to accurately set up and deliver the cuestick. Something must be trained physically (consciously), before it can enter the subconscious level of application. This is the real reason why doing the same thing the same way on every shot is the quickest way to see solid improvement, like your friend did. What we are really doing, is creating opportunities for us to fall into deadstroke more frequently (and hopefully for a longer time) Are you less trainable? I doubt it. What you are (imo) is unsure of something about what you do...maybe your stroke, maybe your aim, maybe something else...which is why you continue to seek the "holy grail"...whatever that is. While, in the end, it is different strokes for different folks...simpler is better. KISS rules!

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You are right on the money. My problem is more emotionally based then feel or intellectual. I get too much going on in my mind to allow me to play unimpaired. It manifests itself in overthinking but the root is emotional. My brain gets thinking about everything that could possibly go wrong and changing my plan. It is similar to choking on the 8 ball but is more random.

I get that you learn it with your conscious then your sub conscious takes over and makes the shots. I have trouble getting the conscious mind to let go long enough for the sub conscious to make the shot. I think that is why some players feel they play better when they are drunk or high on something. That doesn't work for me but I see some who play quite well under those conditions.
  
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12-18-2017, 12:18 PM

Counting never worked for me either. Try something more rhythmic like a line from a favorite song or even better -- just the music from that song. The counting part seems to engage that part of the brain that we want to be sleeping.
  
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12-18-2017, 02:09 PM

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Originally Posted by BasementDweller View Post
Counting never worked for me either. Try something more rhythmic like a line from a favorite song or even better -- just the music from that song. The counting part seems to engage that part of the brain that we want to be sleeping.
I really like Scott's concept of always doing the same thing. Here is what I settled on. It is the best of a ton of instruction.

1. I step in to the shot in my own version of what all the instructors teach.
2. To perfect my aim I use CJ Wiley's little short strokes with no count, just adjust.
3. I stop, hold the cue tip close to the cue ball for a final check (Scott and Tor Lowry)
4. Draw back slowly (Jerry Briesath), take a long pause (optional according to all) if everything looks right I shoot (Jerry Briesath).
5. If not, I stand up and move my feet and step back into the shot (Bert Kinister) and repeat.

Since I ALWAYS end with the long slow stroke I think I am close to what Scott teaches. The stuff I do before that doesn't matter. I count only 1 stroke and it is always long and slow, with a final "does it look right" check then fire.

So I pretty much use something of what every major instructor teaches.
  
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12-18-2017, 04:33 PM

I'm guessing your #4 is just a typo because I can't imagine it would be your practice to pause after the backstroke to see if everything looks or feels right. Are you talking about before that l
Backstroke? The way you typed it sounds like a recipe for disaster. A way of really juggling your conscious/subconscious processing.
  
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12-19-2017, 06:08 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by BasementDweller View Post
I'm guessing your #4 is just a typo because I can't imagine it would be your practice to pause after the backstroke to see if everything looks or feels right. Are you talking about before that l
Backstroke? The way you typed it sounds like a recipe for disaster. A way of really juggling your conscious/subconscious processing.
If you watch many professional players they have an extended pause before the forward stroke. Everyone pauses. It is impossible to reverse the direction of the cue forward without stopping the backward motion, it is a matter of how long a pause. Tor Lowry mentions if you incorporate an extended pause into your stroke it takes time to develop that. Scott Lee uses a very short pause, more of a fluid transition to the forward stroke with no extended pause. Here is Brett Lee demonstrating both a front pause and a back pause https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CnWK0zJYtls

Several pros discuss the subject here http://billiards.colostate.edu/threa...#pause_reasons and they are correct in why I use it. It corrects a flaw in the transition from back stroke to forward stroke.

During the pause I get a feeling that all is well or maybe not. If I am a little off balance reaching or feel I have aimed wrong or whatever, I stop, get up and start over. I think most of us have made shots we were uncomfortable with just before shooting and went ahead anyway, then said "I knew I shouldn't have shot, I was ....". The thought process is just a flash, it doesn't take long, it is just a feeling of readiness before beginning the forward stroke.

It helps me, especially when the backstroke doesn't go well. If I bump my side a little or some small error occurs in the back stroke I "stabilize" before starting forward. It is just a sub conscious check that all is well. I also find my speed control is better with a longer pause. I bleed off the Kinetic energy developed from the back stroke. The only time I don't pause much is on the break with a really crappy slow bar table where I need every bit of energy to make a ball. There I need the build up of the back stroke to help add speed to the forward stroke or I just can't hit hard enough to make a ball.
  
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12-19-2017, 06:31 AM

Don't get me wrong -- I love the pause at the end of the backstroke and I do it too, but it's definitely not a go/no-go pause, since by this point all conscious thought has been shut off for me. That just seems way too late in the process to be doing that. I think the vast majority of players do this go/no-go while paused at the cue ball.

I would love to hear other opinions on this as it just seems like a horrible idea to me.
  
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12-19-2017, 07:20 AM

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Originally Posted by BasementDweller View Post
Don't get me wrong -- I love the pause at the end of the backstroke and I do it too, but it's definitely not a go/no-go pause, since by this point all conscious thought has been shut off for me. That just seems way too late in the process to be doing that. I think the vast majority of players do this go/no-go while paused at the cue ball.
I would love to hear other opinions on this as it just seems like a horrible idea to me.
I use the 'counting' method silently to myself to 1. Ensure being consistent and 2. To shut down the mind from entertaining any other thoughts.
The process (over and over and over...no matter how simple or stupid the shot may be) is this========> Determine the hit angle, the juice required for position, and get down on the shot. Remain in that position lined up and steady while counting 'one', 'two', 'three', 'four' letting the eyes zero in. Then stroke three times pulling the trigger on stroke three. And staying down there for another count of 'four'.
That whole deal takes 8 seconds after getting into shooting position.
Any opponent who gets pissy because they think it's 'slow play' is perfectly welcome to quit. Because I'm not changing it....ever. It works too efficiently...FOR ME, that is.
Just my opinion...nothing chiseled in stone. Each shooter has their own thing.
Keep on truckin'
  
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12-19-2017, 07:53 AM

Pause at cueball = go, no go.

To do it later in the process is to invite disaster.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BasementDweller View Post
Don't get me wrong -- I love the pause at the end of the backstroke and I do it too, but it's definitely not a go/no-go pause, since by this point all conscious thought has been shut off for me. That just seems way too late in the process to be doing that. I think the vast majority of players do this go/no-go while paused at the cue ball.

I would love to hear other opinions on this as it just seems like a horrible idea to me.


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12-19-2017, 09:02 AM

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Originally Posted by BasementDweller View Post
Don't get me wrong -- I love the pause at the end of the backstroke and I do it too, but it's definitely not a go/no-go pause, since by this point all conscious thought has been shut off for me. That just seems way too late in the process to be doing that. I think the vast majority of players do this go/no-go while paused at the cue ball.

I would love to hear other opinions on this as it just seems like a horrible idea to me.
That may be. For me it is simply a feel that all is well before release. If I am uneasy I don't shoot. I don't think it is so much a conscious analysis.
  
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12-19-2017, 09:54 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by BasementDweller View Post
Don't get me wrong -- I love the pause at the end of the backstroke and I do it too, but it's definitely not a go/no-go pause, since by this point all conscious thought has been shut off for me. That just seems way too late in the process to be doing that. I think the vast majority of players do this go/no-go while paused at the cue ball.

I would love to hear other opinions on this as it just seems like a horrible idea to me.
Well, #4 is based on a long pause. I guess if you pause long enough, since you've already broken your rhythm, you can assess the situation one last time. A long pause is a good alternative for players who have difficulty bringing the cue back slowly or who prefer not to focus on bringing the cue back slowly.

If you bring the cue back too fast and take too short of a pause, your stroke timing will likely be off and you will have probably reached maximum velocity too soon. The result is a poke stroke.

I prefer a slower backstroke with a short pause. To me, that's more natural, like throwing a ball or a punch.


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12-20-2017, 08:44 AM

It just seems like a bad idea to have the brain turned on this late in the stroking process. By this point, haven't you already practiced your backstroke and verified you have clearance? At some point, you have to free your mind and get out of your stroke's way. I would say the sooner you can do this the better.

Might seem like a small disagreement to some but getting out of your own way -- mentally, is a big hurdle for many players -- myself included.
  
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12-20-2017, 08:48 AM

Pause at end of backstroke = very good.

Having your brain turned on right before you pull the trigger = very bad.

For me, I would rather miss balls than come that close to shooting and hitting the abort button. Seems like a good way to develop what golfers call the yips.

Then again -- I could be over thinking this.
  
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12-20-2017, 09:30 AM

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Originally Posted by BasementDweller View Post
Pause at end of backstroke = very good.

Having your brain turned on right before you pull the trigger = very bad.

For me, I would rather miss balls than come that close to shooting and hitting the abort button. Seems like a good way to develop what golfers call the yips.

Then again -- I could be over thinking this.
Tiger Woods was even able to stop his swing on the down swing, something very few ever achieved. Crazy.

I get what you are saying and I checked myself to see what I was doing during that time. I discovered I was re-locating my exact aim point and allowing tension to release. It is working incredibly well for me and it seems the only time I miss now is when I hurry a little. I was plagued by running 6-7 balls, feeling the run was over, taking the shot for granted and missing an "easy" shot. Last night I did a full runout and took a little extra time on the 8 ball as I got less than perfect shape. I was relaxed and just wanted to hit my aim point EXACTLY where I wanted. It slid right down the rail and into the pocket for a 10-0 win.

I avoid any thoughts other then aim and speed. Seems to work. Might be a crutch I abandon later.
  
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12-20-2017, 10:17 AM

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Originally Posted by BasementDweller View Post
It just seems like a bad idea to have the brain turned on this late in the stroking process. By this point, haven't you already practiced your backstroke and verified you have clearance? At some point, you have to free your mind and get out of your stroke's way. I would say the sooner you can do this the better.

Might seem like a small disagreement to some but getting out of your own way -- mentally, is a big hurdle for many players -- myself included.
That back pause can also be a trigger to turn off the conscious brain. I know that is when I do it completely. Other triggers start to turn it off, that one completes it. Done correctly, the shot then shoots itself. I never say, "now stroke forward and shoot". I am paused, and then observing what happened.
  
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