# Developing Expertise In Pool

#### Patrick Johnson

##### Fish of the Day
Silver Member
Cushions are complicated.
With a perfectly neutral ball, don't cushions naturally rebound a little long because of their imperfect elasticity?

I suppose nose height might counteract that...

pj
chgo

Last edited:

#### Imac007

##### AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I think the only mention may be in RSB. I searched in his Amateur Physics paper and it is not there. In any case, it is simply gearing stun at the cushion. Whether that results in a perfect mirror angle off all cushions has not been determined. Cushions are complicated.
Since my personal experience echoed what Bret Icenogle put in his book I find it hard to dismiss what he published. Once I get past this covid issue and have safe table access I can test myself and report what I found. Your idea of using gearing english is also interesting. I guess I need to pick about a one inch perpendicular offset from the contact point to gauge gearing english. 40% of the offset inch viewed from a skewed angle perceptual position should walk along the cushion. Adding stun should provide some interesting data. Icenogle used stun without english, no gearing effect. The outside spin his ball acquired may well mirror the gearing english spin applied. Hmmm.

#### Imac007

##### AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
With a perfectly neutral ball, don't cushions naturally rebound a little long because of their imperfect elasticity?

I suppose nose height might counteract that...

pj
chgo
In a sense a rolling ball is follow in nature. The rebound off the cushion still has the original directional roll. That roll widens the angle slightly. Just a bit firmer and the extra elasticity is a positive enough force to hold the early line off the rail. The natural roll height is the same as the nose height. If the tip contact is above that when setting the roll its off rail effect will widen the angle even with a firmer stroke. Freddy the Beard documents a lot of variable kicks and banks using the 2:1 angle dividing method. Speed is a factor but so is the height of contact. Although he doesn’t touch on gearing english, many cut shot banks use a tip of gearing side english. In many cases it is close enough to get a desirable object ball path. And balls within a couple ball widths of the rail often skid into the rail emulating stun and resultant equal angle banks as Dr Dave has noted in a YouTube video. And those are usually hit a bit harder with stun. They work best when they are close to the equal angle track. A small amount of side can be added for gearing without significant deflection but crucial in finding the track so that the half ball off the rail baseline is used to properly calculate the equal angle vee. Draw also helps widen some angles, compared to stun or follow, since it generates a follow roll on the object ball.

Last edited:

#### Imac007

##### AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
everybody says they want to improve, be better than they were the day before,
The Japanese had a word for this “kaizen.”
It means continuous improvement.
The idea in sports development is to pick something small that you believe you can do better.
Dedicate the session to that singular improvement.
The next day pick something else.
The underlying theme is that small improvements add up.

#### MmmSharp

##### Nudge is as good as a wink to a blind bat.
Gold Member
Silver Member
When Greg Louganis was posting perfect dives at the Olympics, one of the commentators said the key to his success, was his perfect positioning at the top of the dive. Years later writing about his success, Louganis said his key was to be able to get into a great entry position from all the wrong places at the top.

"Octavio Antonio Fernández Castro (born June 30, 1962), better known as Tony Fernández, is a former Dominican Major League Baseball player most noted for his defensive skills, setting a nine-year record for shortstops with a .992 fielding percentage in 1989,[1] and a still active single-season fielding percentage record for third basemen with .991 in 1994. From Wikipedia."

Tony said that during his days as a child learning to field he set up a target to throw to. He then threw a ball against a wall and fielded the rebound. Whatever position the dive for the ball put him in his objective was to do it so that he could still throw the ball on target. He learned to throw the ball from all the bad positions he could find himself in. The standard training of infield positions involves fielding position, transitioning to throwing position while transferring the ball from glove to hand to execute. Trying to go through those base fundamentals takes time, time fielders often can’t afford.
Situations dictate needed tools.

Base fundamentals are primarily theoretical models. The reality of play on the table is about obstacle navigation, cueing from all the wrong positions. Navigating the environment, both the inner mental one and/or the potentially distracting outer one, it’s part of the imperfections (wrong positions), we find ourselves having to perform out of.

Where is a place in the pool game that being able to navigate more successfully is going to bring us expertise?

I use the same technique as Tony. I throw the cue ball against a wall, dive and shoot it at an object ball. Just be aware this really pisses off the other players and pool hall owners. Also dont try this if you have a bad back.

#### Imac007

##### AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I use the same technique as Tony. I throw the cue ball against a wall, dive and shoot it at an object ball. Just be aware this really pisses off the other players and pool hall owners. Also dont try this if you have a bad back.
Or, dislocate your sense of humor.

#### Imac007

##### AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Recently I have been checking out how the lips and mouth are engaged in precision activities involving the fingers.
Brain mapping reveals that the size of representation of both areas is huge, especially when mapping motor activity.

Michael Jordan was noted to having his tongue involved in his play.
People often refer to having to hold their mouth just right to perform a task, like opening a stubborn lock or threading a needle. Language is about description and the concept of embodied cognition is that it is interpreting experience into language.
Success leaves clues.
When engaged in close work, the mouth and lips are often engaged while dealing with finer and finer distinctions.
Curiously the reverse triggering can occur.
By recalling the precision effects on your mouth in those situations the brain is triggered into picking up the small details and precision mindset involved.
Research reveals that the fingertips, the lips and tongue may all be connected in a network of physiological effects involving precision.
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9730269/
There may be more to the idea of holding your mouth right, than was first thought.
Are you zeroing in on the precise target or ball path, finding the “just right“ sense of the shot?
Is it a difference that makes a difference in your accuracy and execution?

Last edited:

#### MmmSharp

##### Nudge is as good as a wink to a blind bat.
Gold Member
Silver Member
Recently I have been checking out how the lips and mouth are engaged in precision activities involving the fingers.
Brain mapping reveals that the size of representation of both areas is huge, especially when mapping motor activity.
View attachment 613200
Michael Jordan was noted to having his tongue involved in his play.
People often refer to having to hold their mouth just right to perform a task, like opening a stubborn lock or threading a needle. Language is about description and the concept of embodied cognition is that it is interpreting experience into language.
Success leaves clues.
When engaged in close work, the mouth and lips are often engaged while dealing with finer and finer distinctions.
Curiously the reverse triggering can occur.
By recalling the precision effects on your mouth in those situations the brain is triggered into picking up the small details and precision mindset involved.
Research reveals that the fingertips, the lips and tongue may all be connected in a network of physiological effects involving precision.
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9730269/
There may be more to the idea of holding your mouth right, than was first thought.
Are you zeroing in on the precise target or ball path, finding the “just right“ sense of the shot?
Is it a difference that makes a difference in your accuracy and execution?

Non jokingly i can speak to this a bit. It is very common in children to focus so much on something that they relax their muscles to the point of sticking out their tongue.

Focusing on an important and difficult task can make you "forget" something like you just stuck your tongue out. At least that was how it was explained to me from a medical professional when i did it as a kid. 35-40 years ago. I haven't thought about that until now. Maybe there is research supporting some other reason now.

#### Imac007

##### AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Non jokingly i can speak to this a bit. It is very common in children to focus so much on something that they relax their muscles to the point of sticking out their tongue.

Focusing on an important and difficult task can make you "forget" something like you just stuck your tongue out. At least that was how it was explained to me from a medical professional when i did it as a kid. 35-40 years ago. I haven't thought about that until now. Maybe there is research supporting some other reason now.
Maybe there is personal experience you can draw on when you do something precise.
Do you purse your lips when making an exacting cut?
A dart player zeroing in on target, with the tongue just cresting the lips.
The quirk isn’t important, it’s connection to our deep dive into our precision mindset Is its value.
Triggering the part of the brain capable of our top precision feels like a shortcut to something important to me.

Pin

#### The_JV

##### 'AZB_Combat Certified'
Maybe there is personal experience you can draw on when you do something precise.
lol... I've been told in the passed that I make a stupid looking face when I'm really focused on potting a ball. Honestly thought it was just the guy finding something to bitch about after losing...

Guess that really does hold water.

##### "no buds chill"
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?
At the upper echelon it's developing nerves and maintaining your trained stroke. At the early levels it's developing your stroke properly, at middle levels it's gaining knowledge and learning what works for you to do 4 things. 1. stroke straight, accelerating through the ball, 2. allowing the weight of the cue to do the work, 3. control the nuances of shape, that being speed control, adjusting aim for side spin and proper shot selection, 4. staying down on the shot, both with the eyes AND with the body.

bbb

#### boogieman

##### It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that ping.
Recently I have been checking out how the lips and mouth are engaged in precision activities involving the fingers.
Brain mapping reveals that the size of representation of both areas is huge, especially when mapping motor activity.
View attachment 613200
Michael Jordan was noted to having his tongue involved in his play.
People often refer to having to hold their mouth just right to perform a task, like opening a stubborn lock or threading a needle. Language is about description and the concept of embodied cognition is that it is interpreting experience into language.
Success leaves clues.
When engaged in close work, the mouth and lips are often engaged while dealing with finer and finer distinctions.
Curiously the reverse triggering can occur.
By recalling the precision effects on your mouth in those situations the brain is triggered into picking up the small details and precision mindset involved.
Research reveals that the fingertips, the lips and tongue may all be connected in a network of physiological effects involving precision.
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9730269/
There may be more to the idea of holding your mouth right, than was first thought.
Are you zeroing in on the precise target or ball path, finding the “just right“ sense of the shot?
Is it a difference that makes a difference in your accuracy and execution?
No kidding, two of the best players I know do something similar. When one is in the zone and just playing at monster level, they sort of lick their lips a bit, the other you can see his mustache moving.

#### goettlicher

##### AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Having correct fundamentals so the Brain can focus on the habit!

#### Fatboy

##### AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Lenny Dyxtra told me during his career in center field “he could just see where the hitter was going to hit the ball and he’d move over to that area, it’s not in the books and can’t be taught either you have it or you don’t, for some reason I did”. 3 All Star teams and 2 World Series and a few other massive achievements.

He’s not a big guy, I went to the 86 Mets reunion Strawberry was huge, other guys were big and Lenny was the smallest guy. He also said “Hiw does a runt like me even play center field?”. The answer is as above-stand in the right place and have crazy strength to sprint to the ball and power to throw it. He’s crazy strong for his size.

Nothing about him is average. He’s gifted and realized when he was 12-13 he had a gift. He knew baseball was his out in life to make \$. Wasn’t ever a doubt he said.

When you got it you got it.

Can’t train in what God left out. But you can always become well above average at what you do with enough work.

Still plugging away
Fatboy

#### Imac007

##### AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Lenny Dyxtra told me during his career in center field “he could just see where the hitter was going to hit the ball and he’d move over to that area, it’s not in the books and can’t be taught either you have it or you don’t, for some reason I did”. 3 All Star teams and 2 World Series and a few other massive achievements.

He’s not a big guy, I went to the 86 Mets reunion Strawberry was huge, other guys were big and Lenny was the smallest guy. He also said “Hiw does a runt like me even play center field?”. The answer is as above-stand in the right place and have crazy strength to sprint to the ball and power to throw it. He’s crazy strong for his size.

Nothing about him is average. He’s gifted and realized when he was 12-13 he had a gift. He knew baseball was his out in life to make \$. Wasn’t ever a doubt he said.

When you got it you got it.

Can’t train in what God left out. But you can always become well above average at what you do with enough work.

Still plugging away
Fatboy
Anticipation is part of what separates the best from the rest. Sir Alex Ferguson, when he signed a defender who was considered only average for speed said, “he has already made the first two steps in his head.”
Knowing how your opponent will respond to a style of play or temptation puts you one step ahead tactically.
You need to use the information, under pressure, otherwise it is just data.

#### Pin

##### Registered
Triggering the part of the brain capable of our top precision feels like a shortcut to something important to me.
Honestly that sounds potentially huge. Warming up the right parts of the brain is maybe half the value of sports psychology.
I'll experiment with this.

The relationship to the tongue makes sense because of the motor precision involved in speech, and the attention involved in learning speech (at a young age, when the brain is especially plastic). The mouth/tongue responding when you're concentrating on something, probably most of us are familiar with, and could plausibly be some kind of Pavlovian association.

#### Imac007

##### AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Honestly that sounds potentially huge. Warming up the right parts of the brain is maybe half the value of sports psychology.
I'll experiment with this.

The relationship to the tongue makes sense because of the motor precision involved in speech, and the attention involved in learning speech (at a young age, when the brain is especially plastic). The mouth/tongue responding when you're concentrating on something, probably most of us are familiar with, and could plausibly be some kind of Pavlovian association.
Speculating as to why such a large part of the brain is allocated to the mouth and hands it seems starting at the beginning makes the most sense.
Our first introduction to the world around is our exploration of it using both hands and our mouth.
Research reveals that the fingertips are so sensitive they can differentiate between thicknesses a mere molecule in thickness apart.
The use of them together when we first explored the world remaining connected in a special integrated way still, as we age, shouldn’t surprise us.
We miss so many things under our noses that thinking outside the box, instead of inside, may actually be a fault in some areas.
Maybe the box is a poor metaphor.
One dimensional thinking more resembles a rut.
We only had genetically predetermined awareness in the form of senses, to guide us, in our initial exploration.
Ideas to build, yet none to build on.
Childhood innocence, the ideal learning state.
We talk about looking at things with new eyes, but maybe we need to engage more than our vision, building on what the mouth and fingertips perspectives, already bring to the table.

Pin

#### Pin

##### Registered
Research reveals that the fingertips are so sensitive they can differentiate between thicknesses a mere molecule in thickness apart.
That sounded incredible, so I had a look. From ones of the researchers in a 2013 study:
"This means that, if your finger was the size of the Earth, you could feel the difference between houses from cars,"

I remember watching a report on graphene (the new form of carbon they worked out how to produce a few years ago) - a sheet of the stuff one molecule thick is just about visible to the human eye (from memory, I think it was only 80% transparent). Incredible.

#### Imac007

##### AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
That sounded incredible, so I had a look. From ones of the researchers in a 2013 study:
"This means that, if your finger was the size of the Earth, you could feel the difference between houses from cars,"

I remember watching a report on graphene (the new form of carbon they worked out how to produce a few years ago) - a sheet of the stuff one molecule thick is just about visible to the human eye (from memory, I think it was only 80% transparent). Incredible.
From the early days when Penfield mapped the brain by actually touching the surface, to today‘s use of more sophisticated mapping, new evidence is making mapping more precise.
https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnhum.2014.00658/full
Each digit phalanges has been mapped with the forefinger mapping being large.
The tips mapped larger than the bases.
Intraphalanges mapping was largest for the thumb, forefinger and bird finger combinations.
ROS and Stephen Lee talk about a squeeze dynamic between those three digits, creating a penetrative sensation during tip to ball surface interaction.
Barry Stark used professional reports while drawing the ball.
When the pro reported sensing a prolonged surface contact, a 35,000 fps camera clip was analyzed.
The pro stroke sensitivity awareness, was backed by a slight extra length time of contact, in real time.

We can build a grip hoping to maximize our feel for the shot.
A squeeze hold accesses the largest mind map part of the hand.
A light grip retains the sensitivity potential of the fingertips.
The phalanges bases provides stability (squeeze hold) so that the tips can be placed to maximize that sensitivity.

So for the grip it and rip it crowd, we have an “at least grip it right“ set of guidelines.

#### chefjeff

##### Nazis are back.
Silver Member
lol... I've been told in the passed that I make a stupid looking face when I'm really focused on potting a ball. Honestly thought it was just the guy finding something to bitch about after losing...

Guess that really does hold water.

I had my niece tell me that years ago.

I decided to look and see for myself and she was right. So, I quit making the funny face.

Maybe that's why my game never went to pro level?...I been looking at things the wrong way.

Jeff Livingston