Are you making adjustments and Constantly Calibrating your Game like the Champions?

CJ Wiley

ESPN WORLD OPEN CHAMPION
Gold Member
Silver Member
Pool is a game of adjustments, unless you are performing perfectly, which just happens a few times a game, or even a set. All things are in a constant state of change, in competition if you're not getting better, you're getting worse. That's why they say practice doesn't make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect!

Make sure you're aware of this and develop a way to make these adjustments in your own game if the Cue Ball or OB doesn't do as you intend.

Do not be satisfied with "just making the shot or getting shape," or you are programming yourself for future mistakes.

Strive for perfection, and if you don't achieve it, make the necessary adjustments to continue this pursuit {of perfection} - this is what will assure moving in a positive direction. One of the keys is to ALWAYS watch what part of the pocket your object ball hits, without this feedback it's like shooting a pistol and not seeing where the bullet lands......people play this way their entire life and don't realize they are robbing themselves of an extremely important and satisfying part of the game of pool.

The Game is already perfect, we should strive to uncover this perfection.- when this is achieved we go from playing the game to the game playing through us.

'The Game is the Teacher'
 

nataddrho

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Feed outcome-based results into process awareness instead of mechanical replication for permanent improvement.
 

chefjeff

Nazis are back.
Silver Member
Adjust like a guided missile adjusts.

It rarely is pointed at its target but when off just a bit, it adjusts just a bit. When it moves away from the target a bit, it adjusts another bit.

Repeat until dead.

(Btw, the missile always hits its target this way.)

Read psycho-cybernetics for more.


Jeff Livingston
 

chefjeff

Nazis are back.
Silver Member
It's all I do. For decades.

But constantly tweaking with my game has a price. I'm always going to be better next time, yet what of this time?

THIS time, not tomorrow, is THE time for greatness. How do I pull that out of the hat?

There comes a time when a player has to start using what he knows TO WIN instead of constantly fixing stuff to get better.


Jeff Livingston
 

nataddrho

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Got more on this?


Jeff Livingston
Yes.

Usually things that are hard to accomplish are due to a dysfunctional application of feedback. Scientific examples: the inverted pendulum (rockets, drones, Segway, Boston Dynamic's robots). Physiological examples: Olympic power lifting, gymnastics, meditation, chess, golf and even pool.

People are a lot like control algorithms. Your brain is the state space equation, your body are the actuators and your sensory organs close the loop. Feedback also points to our brains because we are capable of learning, modifying, and optimizing our processes. Applying modifications to equations that don't optimize the process as a whole system causes performance issues.

Specifically to pool, I've always had a strong suspicion that everybody is better at aiming object balls into pockets then they think they are. Everyone's brain is strong in that area. I think a lot of talk, work and discussions with object ball aiming systems isn't really helping because there isn't much improvement to be made. You're already good at it. The energy is being applied in the wrong area.

The area of improvement that is more effective is tip impact location consistency, and tightening the variation as much as possible. This is harder for players to intuitively figure out how to apply since the visual feedback is difficult to see. There really isn't any comprehensive, easy to use tool to provide tip location independent to the shot type, that you can use while playing real games under pressure. Tip accuracy requires a process improvement that is physiologically different than trying different things with your stroke and aiming, so it is a foreign feeling to some and can feel uncomfortable to explore specifically.

Here is an example of a control algorithm for a swing-up double pendulum, something pretty much impossible for a human to accomplish trying to balance on their hand in a similar way:
 

CJ Wiley

ESPN WORLD OPEN CHAMPION
Gold Member
Silver Member
Feed outcome-based results into process awareness instead of mechanical replication for permanent improvement.
Champion players divide the pocket into 3 parts, like golfers, this creates a zone so that you can improve our margin of error. Golfers will align to the right side of the green or fairway and DRAW the golfball into the center of their target area, or they align to the left and FADE the golfball into the center of their target area.

Champion level pool players do the same thing, we usually play to the inside of the pocket and force the ball into the center, if it doesn't throw it hits the inside of the pocket, if it throws too much it hits the outside of the pocket. The reason we continually calibrate is because it automatically develops the ideal tempo, shot speed and feedback for our next shot....once it's calibrated we can play the game with a consistency that doesn't seem possible.......and it is!!

The Game is the Teacher
 

boogieman

It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that ping.
Pool commentators are always saying that the pros are very good at adjusting to equipment, humidity and the like. So they are good at calibrating. Is calibration like most things, as in you only get better by practicing it?

I'd imagine you've played off the wall aka house cue a few times in your travels, an example needing quick calibration. A horse that is kept in it's comfy stable and never let outside becomes stall-bound. I think it's important to play in as many different conditions as you can if you want to continually improve. Slow cloth, fast cloth, different size tables, tight pockets, buckets. We've all seen (and maybe been at some point in out lives) the player that ran the same drill on the same equipment, only to play badly when let out to play in the pasture. Heck, even ONLY playing the same people will lead to cat and mouse games that might work on each other but will fail miserably on a new opponent! Sometimes seeking novel playing experiences might be a way to play better. Adjustments and calibration might be a major difference between a good player and a good drill runner/"practician." Drills and understanding the concepts are important, but you still have to be able to adjust when in different situations. Add in the mental aspect of competition and whew boy.

When I lose interest practicing/sparring, or start playing by rote (badly:cry:) instead of thinking, I majorly switch things up. I like to think of this as scrambling my brain or scrambling my pool computer. I think it improves my ability to play on different tables in the wild. While practicing, I like to use different cues, some really crappy ones, like a bent bar cue 3 oz heavier with a different hardness tip. Throw a different type CB on the table, use a different rack, a set of crappier balls closer to what you would find in a bar, switch to a game we seldom play etc. Usually a few changes at a time, but sometimes a complete 180. It combats boredom and keeps the learning interesting. It's still serious play and we strive to adapt to the new conditions quickly enough so that we don't have to rack. 😅 Even then, playing winner breaks, alternating breaks, rack your own, lag for every break, coin flip for every break can be a novel practice. You're not going to get mentally off your game for losing a coin toss if that's just one of the games you play in sparring.

I know a really good 9B player who basically hated 8B. After some friends talked him into an 8B tournament, he practiced for the upcoming tournament. He forced himself to only play 8B, with the ruleset from the tourney. It's all our group played for like a month. We were all ruthless to each other, we even teased him if he picked stripes since "he only did it so he could shoot the 9." The game clicked with him and he got STRONG. He finished in the money in the tournament. The cool part is, his 9B game also improved from the experience. Keep it fun and tickle the other part of your brain.
 

smallstonefan

New member
Adjust like a guided missile adjusts.

It rarely is pointed at its target but when off just a bit, it adjusts just a bit. When it moves away from the target a bit, it adjusts another bit.

Repeat until dead.

(Btw, the missile always hits its target this way.)

Read psycho-cybernetics for more.


Jeff Livingston

The book Psycho-Cybernetics changed my outlook on life - for the better.

It's an old book that is 100% relevant still today - worth your time to read and digest.
 

chefjeff

Nazis are back.
Silver Member
The book Psycho-Cybernetics changed my outlook on life - for the better.

It's an old book that is 100% relevant still today - worth your time to read and digest.

I had a better pool player suggest the book. I had read many such books before. After reading this one, my game got better but I don't really know why.


Jeff Livingston
 

Patrick Johnson

Fish of the Day
Silver Member
...play to the inside of the pocket and force the ball into the center, if it doesn't throw it hits the inside of the pocket, if it throws too much it hits the outside of the pocket.
So aim for center pocket allowing for throw. Sounds familiar.

pj
chgo
 

CJ Wiley

ESPN WORLD OPEN CHAMPION
Gold Member
Silver Member
So aim for center pocket allowing for throw. Sounds familiar.

pj
chgo
It's all I do. For decades.

But constantly tweaking with my game has a price. I'm always going to be better next time, yet what of this time?

THIS time, not tomorrow, is THE time for greatness. How do I pull that out of the hat?

There comes a time when a player has to start using what he knows TO WIN instead of constantly fixing stuff to get better.


Jeff Livingston
My martial arts teachers told me 30+ years ago, "you first must be willing to break down to truly build up".

To perform at the highest levels it starts with the foundation, which is the feet in pocket billiards. Once you have the correct foot position and are aligned DIRECTLY on the line of the shot (most players are 4-8 inches too far to the left) the game opens up and becomes much easier. The aiming is very difficult if your alignment isn't exact too. For champion players they never talk or think about aiming, but are always striving for perfect alignment. It's the key that unlocks the door, unfortunately it takes about 2.5 hours to learn and most players aren't willing to go through what it takes, even though it will save hours and hours and hours of frustration and inconsistent play and practice.

The Game is the Teacher
 

phreaticus

Active member
Many of the things CJ has mentioned here & in other threads, and his instructional content - sounds a little whacky at first blush. But they actually touch into established parts of modern sports psychology and visual/cognitive neuroscience.

The core principle underlying visual alignment, calibration, stance, etc, is proprioception.

The human senses are our connection to the environment. Vision is our most important and complex sense; our brains perceive up to 80% of all impressions by means of our sight. Our visual & proprioceptive processing systems are concentric in nature. This means that we automatically look to the center & edges of things, and we can easily bisect objects & spaces into into halves.

In order to do this, we first establish primary physical references (AKA in some circles as “biomechanical indexes”). CJ has mentioned a lot of gems related to stance & visual alignment but the key IMO is to understand the concept of center-to-center and center-to-edge as primary CB/OB visual references that we must use to align to our center vision, and then our stance to that. Ironically, IMO this is the true magical property behind all the flavors of CTE, and the fractional aiming systems they are derived from. But the loudest and most verbose proponents of those systems don’t seem aware of, and/or are unable to articulate any actual scientific principles involved.

i was first exposed to these concepts while pursuing high level competitive pistol shooting. I find the same exact priciples apply to the pursuit of high level pool.

All that said, connecting this theory to the actual table - still takes lots of time & effort. Vision, stance, stroke, are all connected but I believe must be understood in depth, and in that order. CJ mentions hours - but it took me days (actually weeks) to really grok & apply to my game. I think for many of us, the hard part is letting go of stuff we already think works and have locked into our muscle memory. Most time/effort for me - was spent breaking old patterns & behaviors... super hard for the ego, because my game actually got worse for a while, things felt weird, uncomfortable at first...

The main concept presented in this thread is that CJ encourages us to watch the OB ball all into the way into the pocket, noting exactly where in the pocket it hits. In computer science, control theory, and competitive shooting fields - this is called “closed loop feedback”. Our eyes can relay post-shot results to our processing engine - in this way, the engine can now compare actual OB/pocket results vs the original intended plan. Did I hit center pocket but actuslly meant to overcut a bit, to get some extra CB angle? In that case, its not actually a clean shot at all and we need to adjust/correct. Feeding max amount of honest, precise corrective data to our brain is enabling it to subconsciously build a corrective database & fine tune our visual aiming algorithm. Doing this requires discipline - just like watching exactly where the bullet impacts target while maintaining crisp sight picture on a gun - with no flinch, while resetting the trigger and not rushing the next trigger press too fast. In shooting there is saying - “there is no prize for missing fast”. “Slow down to speed up”, and “Slow is smooth, and smooth is fast” - are other bits of ancient martial arts training wisdom that apply.

CJ doesn’t mention it, but staying frozen & watching exactly where the CB lands - is just as important for building CB control - for all the same reasons, as watching the OB. Staying frozen until the balls stop moving is a pretty well known technique to simply teach one to stay down for consistent follow through - but the specific aspects of watching precisely where the OB & CB land, and understanding how & why our eyes/brains can use this info - seems to not be discussed much in pool.

Thanks CJ for sharing and encouraging open discussion on these types of things in a constructive and encouraging manner.

Hope this is useful to someone, Cheers.
 
Last edited:

chefjeff

Nazis are back.
Silver Member
My martial arts teachers told me 30+ years ago, "you first must be willing to break down to truly build up".

To perform at the highest levels it starts with the foundation, which is the feet in pocket billiards. Once you have the correct foot position and are aligned DIRECTLY on the line of the shot (most players are 4-8 inches too far to the left) the game opens up and becomes much easier. The aiming is very difficult if your alignment isn't exact too. For champion players they never talk or think about aiming, but are always striving for perfect alignment. It's the key that unlocks the door, unfortunately it takes about 2.5 hours to learn and most players aren't willing to go through what it takes, even though it will save hours and hours and hours of frustration and inconsistent play and practice.

The Game is the Teacher

Thank you for all that.

I've done at least the 25 hours of focus on feet position. At least. A technique I use on my personal table is to put a 1 inch piece of painters tape (at the back of my foot) on the floor so it's perpendicular to my foot, for the same shot (cb on middle spot, with the ob straight in near side pocket). This is my standard position, found after all that work.

I do that for both feet. When I get out of stroke, I re-check my feet positions there.

I'd suggest it for anyone attempting to find their proper feet positions.


Jeff Livingston
 

CJ Wiley

ESPN WORLD OPEN CHAMPION
Gold Member
Silver Member
Many of the things CJ has mentioned here & in other threads, and his instructional content - sounds a little whacky at first blush. But they actually touch into established parts of modern sports psychology and visual/cognitive neuroscience.

The core principle underlying visual alignment, calibration, stance, etc, is proprioception.

The human senses are our connection to the environment. Vision is our most important and complex sense; our brains perceive up to 80% of all impressions by means of our sight. Our visual & proprioceptive processing systems are concentric in nature. This means that we automatically look to the center & edges of things, and we can easily bisect objects & spaces into into halves.

In order to do this, we first establish primary physical references (AKA in some circles as “biomechanical indexes”). CJ has mentioned a lot of gems related to stance & visual alignment but the key IMO is to understand the concept of center-to-center and center-to-edge as primary CB/OB visual references that we must use to align to our center vision, and then our stance to that. Ironically, IMO this is the true magical property behind all the flavors of CTE, and the fractional aiming systems they are derived from. But the loudest and most verbose proponents of those systems don’t seem aware of, and/or are unable to articulate any actual scientific principles involved.

i was first exposed to these concepts while pursuing high level competitive pistol shooting. I find the same exact priciples apply to the pursuit of high level pool.

All that said, connecting this theory to the actual table - still takes lots of time & effort. Vision, stance, stroke, are all connected but I believe must be understood in depth, and in that order. CJ mentions hours - but it took me days (actually weeks) to really grok & apply to my game. I think for many of us, the hard part is letting go of stuff we already think works and have locked into our muscle memory. Most time/effort for me - was spent breaking old patterns & behaviors... super hard for the ego, because my game actually got worse for a while, things felt weird, uncomfortable at first...

The main concept presented in this thread is that CJ encourages us to watch the OB ball all into the way into the pocket, noting exactly where in the pocket it hits. In computer science, control theory, and competitive shooting fields - this is called “closed loop feedback”. Our eyes can relay post-shot results to our processing engine - in this way, the engine can now compare actual OB/pocket results vs the original intended plan. Did I hit center pocket but actuslly meant to overcut a bit, to get some extra CB angle? In that case, its not actually a clean shot at all and we need to adjust/correct. Feeding max amount of honest, precise corrective data to our brain is enabling it to subconsciously build a corrective database & fine tune our visual aiming algorithm. Doing this requires discipline - just like watching exactly where the bullet impacts target while maintaining crisp sight picture on a gun - with no flinch, while resetting the trigger and not rushing the next trigger press too fast. In shooting there is saying - “there is no prize for missing fast”. “Slow down to speed up”, and “Slow is smooth, and smooth is fast” - are other bits of ancient martial arts training wisdom that apply.

CJ doesn’t mention it, but staying frozen & watching exactly where the CB lands - is just as important for building CB control - for all the same reasons, as watching the OB. Staying frozen until the balls stop moving is a pretty well known technique to simply teach one to stay down for consistent follow through - but the specific aspects of watching precisely where the OB & CB land, and understanding how & why our eyes/brains can use this info - seems to not be discussed much in pool.

Thanks CJ for sharing and encouraging open discussion on these types of things in a constructive and encouraging manner.

Hope this is useful to someone, Cheers.
I appreciate you pointing out some of the comparisons you mentioned, there are definitely many levels to teaching the mind to master a particular skill. Despite public opinion to the contrary I believe, with the proper wisdom of fundaments anyone can perform at a perfect level.....the question is always, "How long can they maintain it?!?"

The Game is the Teacher
 

9ball5032

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member

Are you making adjustments and Constantly Calibrating your Game like the Champions?​

No.
 

Z-Nole

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Thank you for all that.

I've done at least the 25 hours of focus on feet position. At least. A technique I use on my personal table is to put a 1 inch piece of painters tape (at the back of my foot) on the floor so it's perpendicular to my foot, for the same shot (cb on middle spot, with the ob straight in near side pocket). This is my standard position, found after all that work.

I do that for both feet. When I get out of stroke, I re-check my feet positions there.

I'd suggest it for anyone attempting to find their proper feet positions.


Jeff Livingston
Recently I started wearing over priced running shoes instead of my Olukai flip flops. I’m giving myself 10-6 after the adjustment. And my back doesn’t hurt after playing a few hours and I’m more relaxed when smoking my cigar on the bench. Wish I had listened to my next door neighbor who’s a creepy foot doctor years ago.
All of this other stuff just isn’t for me anymore. It’s nice being content to just bang balls around a bit and not be so driven to get better.
 

chefjeff

Nazis are back.
Silver Member
Recently I started wearing over priced running shoes instead of my Olukai flip flops. I’m giving myself 10-6 after the adjustment. And my back doesn’t hurt after playing a few hours and I’m more relaxed when smoking my cigar on the bench. Wish I had listened to my next door neighbor who’s a creepy foot doctor years ago.
All of this other stuff just isn’t for me anymore. It’s nice being content to just bang balls around a bit and not be so driven to get better.

Someday, maybe I'll get there, too. I keep thinking I've got it figured out then, bam!, another insight to try.

I was off azb this last week and for some reason am working on a new way to get into my stance. It is a much better technique but requires the initial work and follow-ups.

I like pool because it never ends.


Jeff Livingston
 

dquarasr

Registered
Someday, maybe I'll get there, too. I keep thinking I've got it figured out then, bam!, another insight to try.

I was off azb this last week and for some reason am working on a new way to get into my stance. It is a much better technique but requires the initial work and follow-ups.

I like pool because it never ends.


Jeff Livingston
After failing miserably the last few weeks in league, and getting nowhere in practice sessions at home, I yet again went back to stance. For reference I shoot right-handed.

I experimented moving my feet around and found I can reliably make a straight-in shot, very close to the center of the pocket, when I align the left side of my right foot to the right edge of the cue when it is on the shot line, then use the ball of my right foot to rotate it about 90 degrees clockwise, then falling down on the shot, cue extended in front of me on the shot line, into a natural position with my left foot.

I've been experimenting with this all day, and while I'm sure it looks really dorky (and beginner-ish), I found that my foot placement, WITHOUT putting the cue on the shot line, THEN placing my feet, THEN getting down on the shot, was off as much as 4-6 inches in either direction. And it made all the difference in potting.

This explains why I can consistently miss shots I was confident I had lined up properly. It also explains why on some shots my balance just didn't "feel right", and why, despite getting up and going down (sometimes repeating this dance more than once), some shots never felt right.

So, I've expanded this experiment around the table at various cut angles, and so far, so good. I'll continue with the dorky approach until I can reliably place my right foot without having to think about it.
 
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