Developing Expertise In Pool

Get_A_Grip

Truth Will Set You Free
Silver Member
great advice-

when you say you miss due to "aiming wrong"
is that before you get down on the shot?
aiming wrong on the cb when you are down?
or ?
When I say I aimed wrong, I mean that I aimed to hit the wrong spot that I chose on the object ball. Usually when applying a lot of english and with a significant cut. With no english at all, finding the correct contact point is routine. But with most run outs, you'll usually have at least 1 or 2 shots where you need to apply quite a bit of english. Sometimes a lot of inside english. In those cases and especially for longer shots, after I miss I realize that I simply aimed at the wrong spot on the object ball. I know this because the cue ball contacts the object ball exactly where I was aiming, but I missed anyways.

EDIT: To fully answer your question. I align my body when above the shot. But I aim when down on the shot. See link below for the aiming system that I developed using two contact points on your grip hand and the contact point on the object ball:
https://forums.azbilliards.com/showpost.php?p=6417987&postcount=16
 
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evergruven

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
When I say I aimed wrong, I mean that I aimed to hit the wrong spot that I chose on the object ball. Usually when applying a lot of english and with a significant cut. With no english at all, finding the correct contact point is routine. But with most run outs, you'll usually have at least 1 or 2 shots where you need to apply quite a bit of english. Sometimes a lot of inside english. In those cases and especially for longer shots, after I miss I realize that I simply aimed at the wrong spot on the object ball. I know this because the cue ball contacts the object ball exactly where I was aiming, but I missed anyways.

EDIT: To fully answer your question. I align my body when above the shot. But I aim when down on the shot. See link below for the aiming system that I developed using two contact points on your grip hand and the contact point on the object ball:
https://forums.azbilliards.com/showpost.php?p=6417987&postcount=16

thanks for the shout back
I understand now and can sympathize with "aiming wrong"
I also looked at your aiming system
it's too technical for me, but I dig the "mind's eye" notion
I want to get to a place where I can shoot accurately
regardless of where my head/body is

beyond what comes "naturally"
I might someday be interested in aiming systems
but I'd like to hit a few thousand more balls first
 

straightline

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
One of the things about stress is that it tends to cause attention to narrow and internalize. To counter that inward focus the player needs to direct their attention to the table. Shaking hands lets you feel the nervous sweat on your opponents palm. Pay attention to signs of nervousness in your opponent. Be ready to pounce when an error is made. Add pressure to force the other player into their head. Too many players make a ball or two then when a run out is not possible, look for a safe place for the balls. Back up and recognize the bad odds a shot or two earlier. You may need to make a ball to get shape for a lockup safety.

Put the ob nearby trouble areas, on safeties, so a ball in hand allows for breakouts. Be patient. Time adds pressure to anxiety. Keep your focus outwards on achieving results. Going inwards to think about a technique is fine but you need to bring focus back outward when shooting. Imagine the result when done properly and simply do it.

Switch focus when away from the table, to your opponent, to notice signs of weakness or nervousness. You won’t see opportunity unless you are watching.
Predators stalk. The predator is just a metaphor. Predators are often, too hungry. That’s how to turn a predator into prey. Tempt them in impossible position situations. Too much hunger makes them impatient. Learn detachment.

You don’t need to kill a sheep to shear it.

Trying to cure DBAF syndrome doesn't mean switching to Be A Fish syndrome. Of course unrunnable situations will always come up. It's the errors I wish to eliminate; leaving windows, leaving windows when you had a reasonable out, passing shots you can make because there is limited cover, missing shots you can make because there is limited cover etc... etc...

Losers bracket. Lucky if you cash at all...
 

The_JV

Local_Pro
FWIW, I advocate getting familiar with the tightest pockets you have access to. My take on accuracy is shooting everything picture perfect. Practicing in this manner will allow you to hit anything makeable period. Guys with 7 footers or those loose Gold Crowns need only discipline themselves to pay attention to the complete shot and not relent until you achieve congruence between visualization and shooting. Transitioning to tougher equipment will be less of a hassle if at all.

I think everyone would have to agree that playing on the toughest equipment will make the game easier. I always opt to play in one local hall because the pockets aren't necessarily tight but cut in such a way that make them very unforgiving.

What I tell the middle tier player is to never just shoot the ball into the pocket. Always pick a portion of the pocket you want the OB to drop. The player needs to be at a semi proficient potting level for this to even be a suggestion.

Gaining this type of potting control does a few things. Makes easy pockets tougher when practicing (figuratively speaking of course), makes tough pockets more manageable in game play, and finally opens up a gambit of shape options.

Never casually steer a ball at a pocket. Pot it with purpose, and aim for a specific 2-3/8" window. Obviously most of the time you aren't going to need anywhere that level of accuracy, but you'll be thanking your stars when you need it.
 

ShootingArts

Smorg is giving St Peter the 7!
Gold Member
Silver Member
thanks for the shout back
I understand now and can sympathize with "aiming wrong"
I also looked at your aiming system
it's too technical for me, but I dig the "mind's eye" notion
I want to get to a place where I can shoot accurately
regardless of where my head/body is


beyond what comes "naturally"
I might someday be interested in aiming systems
but I'd like to hit a few thousand more balls first



This is a huge thing. All of the claims of the shot coming from the feet and perfect eye position, on and on, ignore the fact that we often won't be able to choose the perfect head and foot positions for a particular shot. Without being able to make these tough shots we will never be winners.

With a table at home now and no witnesses I shoot some shots behind my back. A hell of a lot easier fifty pounds ago I mean to tell you! However, I bring the tip to the cue ball, draw back with the wonkiest looking stroke in the world, more sideways than anything else, and pocket the ball, most of the time even getting desired shape.

The reasons are many fold including that shots I can't reach any another manner aren't too hard of shots anyway once you get to them. Duck shots with a bridge but all I have at the moment is a metal bridge and I don't put my shafts in that. Anyway, what happens is the reverse of that wonky backstroke when the stick goes forward and despite the crazy path back and forth I do hit the cue ball where I lined up to begin with.

Just a reminder to all that one inch of stroke matters. The only difference all of the alignment, perfect stroke, and followthrough makes is how it affects that one inch of travel. A robot with an inch and a half stroke could play perfect pool.

Guess it is time to go outside and mow. I have lost three cats and a chicken. No chicken, no eggs. Pretty obvious which comes first!

Hu
 

Imac007

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I think everyone would have to agree that playing on the toughest equipment will make the game easier. I always opt to play in one local hall because the pockets aren't necessarily tight but cut in such a way that make them very unforgiving.

What I tell the middle tier player is to never just shoot the ball into the pocket. Always pick a portion of the pocket you want the OB to drop. The player needs to be at a semi proficient potting level for this to even be a suggestion.

Gaining this type of potting control does a few things. Makes easy pockets tougher when practicing (figuratively speaking of course), makes tough pockets more manageable in game play, and finally opens up a gambit of shape options.

Never casually steer a ball at a pocket. Pot it with purpose, and aim for a specific 2-3/8" window. Obviously most of the time you aren't going to need anywhere that level of accuracy, but you'll be thanking your stars when you need it.

Every comment has that element of truth. Problem is language only offers one at a time because of its linearity. We are looking at multiple contexts each with their own truth at the same time. Practicing on tight pockets forces players who might have gotten sloppy on other equipment back into a straight stroke. It also overemphasizes the aiming and precision part of pocketing. The cost is often a loss of the feel part of the game. There is a truth in that.

During a PGA tournament, the leader, I think it was Rory, was asked about his hot putting. He said his confidence in being able to hit a putt directly on the line he wanted allowed him to switch his focus onto the pace of the shot. There is a truth here too.

A previous commenter on azb talked about the player who misses a shot by a mile then points at his shape being perfect. Of course, making the shot would have meant that the shape wouldn’t have been there. There needs to be a relationship between the two. Focusing on making the ball and you get the position. Focus on getting the position and the ball goes in. Getting fixated on one or the other only works when both halves of the shot are synced. Without the sync, fixation on one comes at a cost to the other. More truth.

There needs to be a balance between the two, but that balance varies from shot to shot. Jeremy Jones often comments on what he calls shot keys. The truth from shot to shot differs. Learning theory talks about reaching a stage of unconscious competence. That said, expertise goes well beyond merely being competent. Expert players pull the veil of competence off each shot and pull its elements into the light. They see the automatic shot and then dig into how the current shot may vary, even slightly. Jeremy’s shot keys emerge. More truths.

By focusing on the straight cueing and pace of stroke we can suffer from failing to see the forest for the trees. Fighting automaticity is a hallmark of the best players. They build the shot piece by piece into a whole, often rehearsing by getting down then up having tried on part of what needs to go into the whole. Feeling how the shot comes together in its uniqueness into a whole and how the stroke emerges from that. Truths coming together.

Each of us are unique. We are the special sauce that takes our version of the shot to the next level. Figuring out whether it’s seeing the whole shot or having a a feel Is the key ingredient in your recipe, that makes it true for you.

It’s the truth, the whole truth, that sets you free.
 

ShootingArts

Smorg is giving St Peter the 7!
Gold Member
Silver Member
Great Posts!

This old thread was well worth bumping up for the value already in it but some current posters are adding great stuff too. This is the kind of thread that used to make AZB special and seemed to have went away.

Hu
 

Kdogster

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
I find that many times I hit the cue ball prematurely, when deep down, I know that I wasn't SURE that I was going to make the ball. If I could give one single helping tip, it would be, don't hit the cue ball until you are sure that you are going to make the shot. Try doing this and you will find that for many shots, you actually are shooting without being sure that your aim is on and that you are confident that the ball is going in.

We all get lazy, especially during long sessions. It turns out that it is very hard to keep the level of focus and aiming to be able to run multiple racks in a row or to keep that aiming focus for hours at a time.

I also experience this phenomenon of shooting the shot anyways, even though I didn't feel like I had done my due diligence on aiming the shot. Besides being just lazy or having a let up in focus, I think there is a physical aspect to why we shoot early. Two things come to mind-- 1) holding a crouched position while you fine-tune your aiming is fatiguing and 2) you may be holding your breath to keep yourself still.

I combat #1 by keeping my back leg straight and only bending the front leg. This is far less taxing than bending both legs. I also try to do a better job aiming while standing up, before I bend down into the shot, so my fine adjustments take less time while crouching. I'm 6'2", so getting down into the shot does take its toll over a long tournament day. Anything I can do to save energy is a good thing.

I combat #2 by just remembering to breathe.

Perhaps, the best remedy to shooting too early is simply abandoning the shot by standing up and re-grouping. In our own mind, we may consider this as showing indecisiveness to the opponent or even to ourselves, but sometimes your brain just says I don't have any opinion on this shot. The brain says, if you pull the trigger, it's your own damn fault, because I didn't sign off on it. That's the sign to stand up to go back to pre-shot routine.
 

Imac007

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I also experience this phenomenon of shooting the shot anyways, even though I didn't feel like I had done my due diligence on aiming the shot. Besides being just lazy or having a let up in focus, I think there is a physical aspect to why we shoot early. Two things come to mind-- 1) holding a crouched position while you fine-tune your aiming is fatiguing and 2) you may be holding your breath to keep yourself still.

I combat #1 by keeping my back leg straight and only bending the front leg. This is far less taxing than bending both legs. I also try to do a better job aiming while standing up, before I bend down into the shot, so my fine adjustments take less time while crouching. I'm 6'2", so getting down into the shot does take its toll over a long tournament day. Anything I can do to save energy is a good thing.

I combat #2 by just remembering to breathe.

Perhaps, the best remedy to shooting too early is simply abandoning the shot by standing up and re-grouping. In our own mind, we may consider this as showing indecisiveness to the opponent or even to ourselves, but sometimes your brain just says I don't have any opinion on this shot. The brain says, if you pull the trigger, it's your own damn fault, because I didn't sign off on it. That's the sign to stand up to go back to pre-shot routine.

Before I learned that I need to aim and align while standing, I would often get down then aim. Finding the ball center and aligning the tip would occasionally find me missing a shot by a mile to the left. I’m rh, left eye dominant eye. I needed to line up my cue, not just my tip. It’s natural to try to economize, to shortcut. We need to fight our very nature, to bring the often mundane, into consciousness, to find its newness, to keep us in the game, shot after shot. It takes discipline mixed with genuine curiosity to keep us in the moment.

The trouble with concentration is you can be totally concentrated on the wrong thing. I remember a quote from a famous baseball pitcher that went “I have my mind honed in totally, there is no body who concentrates harder than me. Then the crack of the bat brings me back from the feel of the knot on the seam of the baseball.” We are human, our mind strays.

A PSR puts us through a physical choreography in order to repeat consistently. The missing link is that the game needs a mental PSR overlaid on the physical.

As Yogi Berra said “ Baseball is ninety percent mental. The other half is physical.”
 
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Kdogster

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
A PSR puts us through a physical choreography in order to repeat consistently. The missing link is that the game needs a mental PSR overlaid on the physical.

As Yogi Berra said “ Baseball is ninety percent mental. The other half is physical.”
I'm digging the "mental PSR overlaid on the physical" concept!

A mental PSR would need to include a strong belief that you can execute the next shot, i.e., no self doubt. Another aspect to include is focusing on process instead of outcome. I like to miss the shots which win the game, because I'm thinking about winning/losing instead of process. Perhaps, thinking of a mantra will keep the process mindset in the foreground.

Regarding PSR, I've noticed one thing that Shane Van Boening does, which I've been adding into my PSR. It's on the physical side of things, but it connects to the mental side. While standing, he will get his bridge ready (open or closed) and start practice stroking. I'm pretty sure he is trying to practice the speed of the shot, when he does this. If he has to hammer the next shot, he is practice stroking at that speed, etc. I also think this stroking practice puts him into the zone mindset. You do see a lot of players use practice stroking in their PSR, but Shane is the only one I've noticed that is practice stroking with the bridge and speed he plans to use.
 

Imac007

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I'm digging the "mental PSR overlaid on the physical" concept!

A mental PSR would need to include a strong belief that you can execute the next shot, i.e., no self doubt. Another aspect to include is focusing on process instead of outcome. I like to miss the shots which win the game, because I'm thinking about winning/losing instead of process. Perhaps, thinking of a mantra will keep the process mindset in the foreground.

Regarding PSR, I've noticed one thing that Shane Van Boening does, which I've been adding into my PSR. It's on the physical side of things, but it connects to the mental side. While standing, he will get his bridge ready (open or closed) and start practice stroking. I'm pretty sure he is trying to practice the speed of the shot, when he does this. If he has to hammer the next shot, he is practice stroking at that speed, etc. I also think this stroking practice puts him into the zone mindset. You do see a lot of players use practice stroking in their PSR, but Shane is the only one I've noticed that is practice stroking with the bridge and speed he plans to use.

As you’ve already revealed you have a situational internal mental routine on game balls. “ I like to miss the shots which win the game, because I'm thinking about winning/losing instead of process.”

On the flip side you will have zone moments. You will be going along playing and suddenly realize you are in stroke. If that doesn’t jolt you out of the zone, the “holy shit” element of it will likely spoil things within a few shots. My point is that your zone state happens frequently but only lasts for a bit then because we don’t have a process or overlaid mental strategy in place to maintain the performance state, we lose it. You won’t recognize the 3 shot zone state as such but once an internal normal expectation threshold is reached, the “holy shit” of it turns your mind inward and you lose the present moment.

Most players recognize the longer zone because they have been there. Each zone is different because the situation is different each time. I literally zone out into a trancelike state during the shot. I’m not trying to hold onto a state. I’m trying to string a number of momentary zones together. The mind shortcuts and tries to keep me there. At the moment I’m shooting my mind is either on the line or the pace of the shot. The next shot usually needs a different initial focus. Needing to transition between them is not unlike other everyday trance transitions. You have a get up to start the day trance. Going somewhere trances. Work trances, coffee time trances, play trances and transitions between them.

The table offers similar transitions. There is a planning and deciding trance. There is an aim and align one, then an accessing resources one, followed by a down to the shot one. As attention flows between the different parts of the shot there is a moment of stillness transitioning to focusing on the target and feel of the shot. Then at the moment we shoot, either the target or the feel will be there. After all this is a hand/eye coordination trance.

The point is that it all must have a normal sense to it. It’s more a “keep it simple” and follow the natural way it happens. Adding inner dialogue, unless it Is simply part of inner cheerleading or keeping your attention focused on shot keys, is likely not helpful.

Focusing on how you succeed seems a better strategy.

What does it look like when done right?
A great mantra
 

Kdogster

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
As you’ve already revealed you have a situational internal mental routine on game balls. “ I like to miss the shots which win the game, because I'm thinking about winning/losing instead of process.”

On the flip side you will have zone moments. You will be going along playing and suddenly realize you are in stroke. If that doesn’t jolt you out of the zone, the “holy shit” element of it will likely spoil things within a few shots. My point is that your zone state happens frequently but only lasts for a bit then because we don’t have a process or overlaid mental strategy in place to maintain the performance state, we lose it. You won’t recognize the 3 shot zone state as such but once an internal normal expectation threshold is reached, the “holy shit” of it turns your mind inward and you lose the present moment.

Most players recognize the longer zone because they have been there. Each zone is different because the situation is different each time. I literally zone out into a trancelike state during the shot. I’m not trying to hold onto a state. I’m trying to string a number of momentary zones together. The mind shortcuts and tries to keep me there. At the moment I’m shooting my mind is either on the line or the pace of the shot. The next shot usually needs a different initial focus. Needing to transition between them is not unlike other everyday trance transitions. You have a get up to start the day trance. Going somewhere trances. Work trances, coffee time trances, play trances and transitions between them.

The table offers similar transitions. There is a planning and deciding trance. There is an aim and align one, then an accessing resources one, followed by a down to the shot one. As attention flows between the different parts of the shot there is a moment of stillness transitioning to focusing on the target and feel of the shot. Then at the moment we shoot, either the target or the feel will be there. After all this is a hand/eye coordination trance.

The point is that it all must have a normal sense to it. It’s more a “keep it simple” and follow the natural way it happens. Adding inner dialogue, unless it Is simply part of inner cheerleading or keeping your attention focused on shot keys, is likely not helpful.

Focusing on how you succeed seems a better strategy.

What does it look like when done right?
A great mantra
You have a fascinating and thought-provoking way of describing things. :thumbup:

I agree we need to install the triggers to let us enter a state that delivers high performance. As you mentioned, it should have a normal sense to it. I'll translate that to being a simple routine that may be triggered by something like chalking the cue tip or sliding the cue through the bridge hand. I personally can't break the zone trances down into components as you described. But, I really like the concept of overlaying a mental PSR on top of the physical. For me, that means installing a reminder to think of process and not outcome and a bit of cheerleading. Once it's installed, it will be automatic I think.
 

CJ Wiley

ESPN WORLD OPEN CHAMPION
Gold Member
Silver Member
It's like shooting a pistol, your visual center Must be on the bullet shot line

As players strive to get better they focus on the fundamentals, but is that the path to being an expert? They say elite athlete’s advancement lies in their ability to make finer and finer distinctions. Skiers learn to differentiate between types of snow, current weather effects, how packed it is and then minute shifts in the edges and placement of weight on the skis to make high speed adjustments. Where most race car drivers focus on the 3 basic parts of a turn, entry, apex and exit, and think 2 corners ahead, world renowned driver, Jackie Stewart, when tested, focused only on the current turn, it’s details and his descriptions and fMRI results showed he segmented turns into 8 parts. He knew the devil was in the details. Breaking down the skill into minute awareness bits allowed him to find the small ways he could gain time on his opponents. When tested he didn’t show better reaction time than other drivers. He learned where to focus to get his edge.

The question players, who want to take their game to the next level, need to ask themselves is "what part of what I’m doing can give me an incremental advantage."

There are several factors that champion players do that is totally ignored by the mainstream, conventional teaching techniques.

What do you think is the primary area, of finer distinctions, that most likely will lead to expertise in pool?


One of the most important is how the champions aim Above the shot and how we position our feet and visual center.

When I player gets this position correct it opens up a game that most players will never know exists because they are not going down to the cue ball staying directly on the target line.

It's like shooting a pistol, your visual center Must be on the shot line of the barrel\bullet to consistently connect and hit where you're aiming on the target. This is the foundation of pool as well, anyone can learn it with the willingness to learn for 3 hours and practice for 3 weeks.
 

johnnysd

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
As players strive to get better they focus on the fundamentals, but is that the path to being an expert? They say elite athlete’s advancement lies in their ability to make finer and finer distinctions. Skiers learn to differentiate between types of snow, current weather effects, how packed it is and then minute shifts in the edges and placement of weight on the skis to make high speed adjustments. Where most race car drivers focus on the 3 basic parts of a turn, entry, apex and exit, and think 2 corners ahead, world renowned driver, Jackie Stewart, when tested, focused only on the current turn, it’s details and his descriptions and fMRI results showed he segmented turns into 8 parts. He knew the devil was in the details. Breaking down the skill into minute awareness bits allowed him to find the small ways he could gain time on his opponents. When tested he didn’t show better reaction time than other drivers. He learned where to focus to get his edge.

The question players, who want to take their game to the next level, need to ask themselves is "what part of what I’m doing can give me an incremental advantage."

What do you think is the primary area, of finer distinctions, that most likely will lead to expertise in pool?

Practice has it's place but I found I mostly got better playing other players that were better than me (mostly tournaments and for money) until they weren't. It' not like golf where there is a set of organized metrics for improvement. Missing needs to have consequence and playing for fun or practicing there is not that element to hone your asbility
 

Imac007

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Pulling it together

You have a fascinating and thought-provoking way of describing things. :thumbup:

I agree we need to install the triggers to let us enter a state that delivers high performance. As you mentioned, it should have a normal sense to it. I'll translate that to being a simple routine that may be triggered by something like chalking the cue tip or sliding the cue through the bridge hand. I personally can't break the zone trances down into components as you described. But, I really like the concept of overlaying a mental PSR on top of the physical. For me, that means installing a reminder to think of process and not outcome and a bit of cheerleading. Once it's installed, it will be automatic I think.

Like I mentioned in a previous post, language and time are linear. Although there might be several things going on at the same time, language is limited to describing them one at a time. The “install triggers” idea has both good and bad elements to it conceptually. We want to simplify and integrate, not add. It’s also has a robotic feel. Like that the transitions are buttons that need to be pushed to get to the next stage, similar to operating an elevator. The shortcomings of language became mine in describing the flow of attention as transitions between trance state. While some transitions may involve a stop or pause before proceeding, a forward impetus is still in motion beneath the surface waiting to move forward again.

You already have a mental flow moving you forward with the physical PSR. If you are having a problem staying in a peak performance state it may lack the attention structure integrated with the physical actions. Although you like the concept of overlaying a mental PSR on the physical, it was only meant as an analogy. The real world interweaves the physical and mental into the fabric of the shot. Mental activity and physical actions occur regardless of the presence of a PSR. Interlacing them in a coordinated way is inconsistent without a process pulling together appropriate attentional flow with physical actions, both automatic and creative.

A better description might have been to have an underlying template allowing for a mental and physical strategy that when poured together in the mould flow into a structured performance configuration.

The mental part of a routine starts well before the physical. Parts of the look and feel will emerge during the decision making process. Only once a commitment is made does the physical part join the dance. The mental attentional flow leads. Once the parts are syncing in place the coordination can take place. Attentional flow can now settle on the feel or the line of the shot. Whether it’s on the cue movement or eye movements back and forth, finally settling on one or the other just prior to, and during execution.

To clarify, the mental attentional flow, once the physical actions are initiated, are the sights, sounds and feelings experienced. That flow is a combination of inward and outward shuttling. The attention stream also contains contents of the subconscious and unconscious being cycled through consciousness, pulled into the foreground, then relegated to the periphery or background, always flowing. Tapping into that stream and directing it and the physical actions to meld in the dance of the balls is a coming together rather than juggling two separate PSR components.

There is an element of timing in all of this. The two streams, one of physical action, the other attentional, need to join with minimal disruption and that takes timing. The pause, whether at the start of the stroke or the back is a timing aid. The feathers and stroke have their own rhythm bringing together the coordination needed.
 

CJ Wiley

ESPN WORLD OPEN CHAMPION
Gold Member
Silver Member
, the fatal flaws in pool, starts when the player is standing above the shot.

As players strive to get better they focus on the fundamentals, but is that the path to being an expert? They say elite athlete’s advancement lies in their ability to make finer and finer distinctions. Skiers learn to differentiate between types of snow, current weather effects, how packed it is and then minute shifts in the edges and placement of weight on the skis to make high speed adjustments. Where most race car drivers focus on the 3 basic parts of a turn, entry, apex and exit, and think 2 corners ahead, world renowned driver, Jackie Stewart, when tested, focused only on the current turn, it’s details and his descriptions and fMRI results showed he segmented turns into 8 parts. He knew the devil was in the details. Breaking down the skill into minute awareness bits allowed him to find the small ways he could gain time on his opponents. When tested he didn’t show better reaction time than other drivers. He learned where to focus to get his edge.

The question players, who want to take their game to the next level, need to ask themselves is "what part of what I’m doing can give me an incremental advantage."

What do you think is the primary area, of finer distinctions, that most likely will lead to expertise in pool?


The best players in the world play subconsciously, this is where we access creativity, feel, and touch. It's essential to have a "feel for the table" and "feel for the pocket".

The issue that most players have that can't improve is they are using 60-80% of their potential "mental horsepower" to correct fundamental mistakes. It's very difficult to make something that starts out wrong, right, the fatal flaw in pool, starts when the player is standing above the shot.

When this corrected the player will have the opportunity to use that 60-80% of mental potential to get in the zone and allow the game to play through them. Ideally you want to go down on every shot as if you've already made it and positioned the cue ball as intended.
 

Kdogster

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
A better description might have been to have an underlying template allowing for a mental and physical strategy that when poured together in the mould flow into a structured performance configuration.

The mental part of a routine starts well before the physical. Parts of the look and feel will emerge during the decision making process. Only once a commitment is made does the physical part join the dance. The mental attentional flow leads. Once the parts are syncing in place the coordination can take place. Attentional flow can now settle on the feel or the line of the shot. Whether it’s on the cue movement or eye movements back and forth, finally settling on one or the other just prior to, and during execution.

To clarify, the mental attentional flow, once the physical actions are initiated, are the sights, sounds and feelings experienced. That flow is a combination of inward and outward shuttling. The attention stream also contains contents of the subconscious and unconscious being cycled through consciousness, pulled into the foreground, then relegated to the periphery or background, always flowing. Tapping into that stream and directing it and the physical actions to meld in the dance of the balls is a coming together rather than juggling two separate PSR components.

There is an element of timing in all of this. The two streams, one of physical action, the other attentional, need to join with minimal disruption and that takes timing. The pause, whether at the start of the stroke or the back is a timing aid. The feathers and stroke have their own rhythm bringing together the coordination needed.

Imac007, you wrote a beautiful post, almost akin to poetry. Just reading it brought a smile to my face. The descriptions are vivid, the word choices are artistic and filled with imagery, and there is a flow to it (highly intentional pun).;)

To summarize the main point of what you wrote is an injustice to the elegant way you have expressed it, but I will do so anyways. The integration of the mental and physical is seamless, and we cannot think of them as layers added on top of one another. If I were to relate it to baking, here's one analogy. Suppose we are baking a cake and the cake represents a successful execution of a pool shot. The mental aspect of pool is represented by baking powder. We add baking powder into the batter, so that it causes a reaction to the baking process and creates a light, fluffy, perfectly textured cake. If you look at the cake, you can't identify where the baking powder is. We just know it's woven into the end product, and it did its job in some magical way.

Good pool is a form of artistic expression. When we are in the mode of playing good pool, it is a tapestry of mind and body working together. If I watch a pro like Thorsten Hohmann playing 14.1, I see not only the perfect bridges, body control and smooth stroking, but also a sense of his mind working to make strategic decisions, maintain concentration & tune out distractions of his surroundings, and engaging in the process. We cannot see the transitions between the mind and the body. Instead, it's all woven together and it looks like art.

The question is how we build this capability for ourselves. Your earlier posts about incorporating a mental aspect into the PSR has sparked an idea for myself. The concept of creating an anchor is something that works well for me. In NLP, an anchor is setting up some response to a particular trigger. The response I want is a feeling of being in creative flow, having a keen sense of feel and awareness to detail, a type of focus that is attuned to the task but comfortable with outside distractions, and heeding to process over outcome. This feeling will be woven into the physical actions. I have some ideas for how to trigger this response and create the anchor. It could be as simple as sliding the cue in my bridge hand. This will be my challenge moving forward.

Enjoy the day!
 

Imac007

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
My god, I think he’s got it

Imac007, you wrote a beautiful post, almost akin to poetry. Just reading it brought a smile to my face. The descriptions are vivid, the word choices are artistic and filled with imagery, and there is a flow to it (highly intentional pun).;)

To summarize the main point of what you wrote is an injustice to the elegant way you have expressed it, but I will do so anyways. The integration of the mental and physical is seamless, and we cannot think of them as layers added on top of one another. If I were to relate it to baking, here's one analogy. Suppose we are baking a cake and the cake represents a successful execution of a pool shot. The mental aspect of pool is represented by baking powder. We add baking powder into the batter, so that it causes a reaction to the baking process and creates a light, fluffy, perfectly textured cake. If you look at the cake, you can't identify where the baking powder is. We just know it's woven into the end product, and it did its job in some magical way.

Good pool is a form of artistic expression. When we are in the mode of playing good pool, it is a tapestry of mind and body working together. If I watch a pro like Thorsten Hohmann playing 14.1, I see not only the perfect bridges, body control and smooth stroking, but also a sense of his mind working to make strategic decisions, maintain concentration & tune out distractions of his surroundings, and engaging in the process. We cannot see the transitions between the mind and the body. Instead, it's all woven together and it looks like art.

The question is how we build this capability for ourselves. Your earlier posts about incorporating a mental aspect into the PSR has sparked an idea for myself. The concept of creating an anchor is something that works well for me. In NLP, an anchor is setting up some response to a particular trigger. The response I want is a feeling of being in creative flow, having a keen sense of feel and awareness to detail, a type of focus that is attuned to the task but comfortable with outside distractions, and heeding to process over outcome. This feeling will be woven into the physical actions. I have some ideas for how to trigger this response and create the anchor. It could be as simple as sliding the cue in my bridge hand. This will be my challenge moving forward.

Enjoy the day!

Succinctly put. Maybe between us we’ve captured enough of the sense despite the shortcomings of language to accurately describe. The hope is the next reader gets something of benefit. Language fails the timing test though. Language is always a slo-mo version.

As to the NLP reference. Dawna Markova discovered that not only do we have a favorite sense in consciousness, but each level of consciousness is dominant in a different sense. An altered state of consciousness occurs when either the dominant subconscious sense or dominant unconscious sense is allowed to become the primary foreground sense in consciousness. Experiencing the shift creates a mild trancelike state. The other senses remain in the background and on the periphery as part of the whole. CJ Wiley just noted that experts access the subconscious to execute. Pool is a hand/eye skill. The auditory subconscious dominant player uses the subconscious as a bridge between the look and feel of a shot. Those players with a visual or kinesthetic dominant subconscious need only access the look or feel there. The auditory dominant lets language pull both other senses to the surface, preferably as a whole. The unconscious differs from the conscious in that regard, wholes rather than parts.

As the founders of NLP noted, the attentional flow is made up of sensory information. When we reduce things to attentional details integration just happens. The mind and body are one. Modern psychology tells us that cognition is embodied. Language is just a description of that embodiment. Feedback translated into speech and thought.

Your summary deserves a reputation upgrade.
 

ShootingArts

Smorg is giving St Peter the 7!
Gold Member
Silver Member
We need another word besides zone

The best players in the world play subconsciously, this is where we access creativity, feel, and touch. It's essential to have a "feel for the table" and "feel for the pocket".

The issue that most players have that can't improve is they are using 60-80% of their potential "mental horsepower" to correct fundamental mistakes. It's very difficult to make something that starts out wrong, right, the fatal flaw in pool, starts when the player is standing above the shot.

When this corrected the player will have the opportunity to use that 60-80% of mental potential to get in the zone and allow the game to play through them. Ideally you want to go down on every shot as if you've already made it and positioned the cue ball as intended.



We need another word besides zone. Ask ten people what the zone is and we get a dozen different answers. I had to laugh at Johnny Cash's definition of the zone in his pool movie but when listening to or reading the words of others I realize the ideas of the zone are just as widespread.

There is a condition very close to the zone where thought is over with and we are just executing a run out. We aren't thinking about anything good or bad. What are we thinking about when we throw something like a baseball, football, or bowling ball? What are we thinking when we hit a tennis or table tennis ball? For the most part we aren't thinking, not on a conscious level anyway. The unconscious is directing the body and the conscious mind that thinks in words is at rest.

This condition we are in for a few moments can be extended to an entire inning at the table. Might be a few balls and a safety, may be a run out, but the entire plan is in place as we pick up our stick. Only if something goes wrong do we have to interrupt the flow of our actions and replan. Again, we plan to completion, then act.

This is why I object to the "three ball ahead" school of thought. With this plan we are having to think after every shot as we add that third ball over and over. We had a plan for the whole inning before we started shooting, what purpose does "three balls ahead" accomplish?

I sometimes call it stalking the table when I am making the inning one continuous motion. I stay down on the shot long enough but I don't exaggerate staying down on the shot until the balls stop rolling. I may already be starting down on my next shot when the balls stop.

While many say that the zone can't be entered at will every time, this flow can be achieved. Unfortunately, "flow" like "zone" is a word with different meanings for different people,

Making the mind that thinks in words shut up is something that can be practiced and extended. We have that ability as children, becoming so absorbed in something that we are totally lost in it. We need to regain that ability. Try to quit thinking right now. Few can shut down the verbal mind for ten seconds. It requires practice. Fortunately it can be practiced almost anywhere, any time. We all need to work towards this condition, just learning to get out of our own way.

Hu
 

Imac007

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
We need another word besides zone. Ask ten people what the zone is and we get a dozen different answers. I had to laugh at Johnny Cash's definition of the zone in his pool movie but when listening to or reading the words of others I realize the ideas of the zone are just as widespread.

There is a condition very close to the zone where thought is over with and we are just executing a run out. We aren't thinking about anything good or bad. What are we thinking about when we throw something like a baseball, football, or bowling ball? What are we thinking when we hit a tennis or table tennis ball? For the most part we aren't thinking, not on a conscious level anyway. The unconscious is directing the body and the conscious mind that thinks in words is at rest.

This condition we are in for a few moments can be extended to an entire inning at the table. Might be a few balls and a safety, may be a run out, but the entire plan is in place as we pick up our stick. Only if something goes wrong do we have to interrupt the flow of our actions and replan. Again, we plan to completion, then act.

This is why I object to the "three ball ahead" school of thought. With this plan we are having to think after every shot as we add that third ball over and over. We had a plan for the whole inning before we started shooting, what purpose does "three balls ahead" accomplish?

I sometimes call it stalking the table when I am making the inning one continuous motion. I stay down on the shot long enough but I don't exaggerate staying down on the shot until the balls stop rolling. I may already be starting down on my next shot when the balls stop.

While many say that the zone can't be entered at will every time, this flow can be achieved. Unfortunately, "flow" like "zone" is a word with different meanings for different people,

Making the mind that thinks in words shut up is something that can be practiced and extended. We have that ability as children, becoming so absorbed in something that we are totally lost in it. We need to regain that ability. Try to quit thinking right now. Few can shut down the verbal mind for ten seconds. It requires practice. Fortunately it can be practiced almost anywhere, any time. We all need to work towards this condition, just learning to get out of our own way.

Hu

The language part of the mind is auditory in nature. As long as the inner dialogue is focused on the sights and feelings associated with the shot, no harm. Having an inner conversation about the fact you are having an inner conversation doesn’t work. Ignoring something only puts it front and center. Give it a job. Have it go over all the details in the shot. Ask appropriate questions. The mind is engaged when asked for answers. Have I looked at all relevant aspects of the shot? is one such question. What does it look like when done right? Direct the dialogue. Harness it.

As you mentioned the best laid plans usually need adjustments. Three balls is not enough for a plan on most tables. In some instances it’s two too many. In most cases we need to finish a shot before we know what the next brings. So verbal cues like “wait for the finish“ let you mentally park your mind.

As to the use of a noun “zone” to describe action Is called nominalization. Entering and exiting the zone gives It a description of action within a range, crossing thresholds. The shiftIng of attentional focus between senses in the process of aiming and executing a shot successfully needs a simple label. The zone works for me because people have a shared understanding within their own experience.

The problem with entering and exiting a zone is its similarity to text based adventure games. Once you pass through a portal into another realm, the ability to go back through and re-enter the previous zone, is not there. Unless you figure out how to enter the sensory flow and direct the appropriate attention resources to optimal performance, it will remain hit and miss.
 
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