Speed Control

Vanessa

Member
It made an immediate difference in my game, particularly in "gathering focus" and "triggering" subconscious control. Doesn't need to be real long - mine is maybe a second, but makes a much bigger difference than that would suggest.

pj
chgo

Makes total sense to me. It seems like it would give time to focus on the shot more than just rushing into the forward stroke. Thank you for the tip 😀 I'll definitely be working on that and seeing how it changes my control.
 

maha

from way back when
Silver Member
instead of drills which are no fun. try this it accomplishes everything.

put 2 balls and the cueball on the table. do not try to make any ball in the hole.

shoot at any of the 2 balls and try to have the cue ball hit the other softly and stop near it.
you can draw follow or whatever each shot it doesnt matter how you get there.

you learn angles off an object ball
where to hit on object ball to get your angle
how the cue ball comes off the rails and where it goes
how english affects what happens on the rails
speed control to hit your spot. that is the essence of position.

it is really straight rail billiards where you are trying to leave the cueball in a certain spot. and you get to hit many shots without having to get balls or waste time setting up things or going to a specific ball.
you will get good fast and it will come together in one package.
 

Patrick Johnson

Fish of the Day
Silver Member
Makes total sense to me. It seems like it would give time to focus on the shot more than just rushing into the forward stroke. Thank you for the tip 😀 I'll definitely be working on that and seeing how it changes my control.
Tip #2: Visualize the whole shot before pulling the trigger, including how hard you'll hit the CB and how far it will go as a result - then compare the results. Having specific results in mind and noting the difference in actual results is huge in the learning process.

pj <- shutting up now
chgo
 

Vanessa

Member
Scott Lee has a speed drill where you practice lagging the cue ball certain distances. You may be able to find it with a search on this site.

Bob Jewett has some drills at sfbilliards.com (click on the link for miscellaneous files, then number 4 - progressive practice drills). These are really good because you move back and forward at different distances which sort of naturally builds speed control. (http://sfbilliards.com/miscellaneous.htm).

Also, at Billiards University, Dr. Dave Alciatore has playability exams that work to build speed control. (https://billiarduniversity.org/testing/exams/). Click on the links for the several sets of exams.

On adding the pause at the back of the stroke, I've done that and it has helped me just as Patrick Johnson said. However, I would think hard before changing your stroke at this stage. If you're making steady progress and have a repeatable stroke, I'd work with drills like those mentioned and save the stroke changes for later. Maybe get an instructor to help with stroke changes when you start to platuea. (Tor Lowry has some really good stuff too, btw, but the drills mentioned above are nicely focused for where it sounds like you are at as a player).

Hope that helps. Shoot well!

Thanks so much!

I have a little bit of an odd situation when it comes to drills vs games.
It's like I can do drills for hours. And I'm surprisingly successful at making the shot and using the right speed to make the cueball end up right about at the spot I want it to land. But then, when I'm playing a game, my speed control completely goes out the window LOL!

I don't know. It's like the speed control doesn't translate over to a game. Or maybe, I lose focus when I'm in a game, and my mind's on so many other things so I overlook speed.

I think maybe I need to work on not getting lost in the sea of the overall game and really focus on the necessities of each and every shot.

Anyway, sorry for the rambling LOL!
Thanks again for the recommendations.
 

Vanessa

Member
instead of drills which are no fun. try this it accomplishes everything.

put 2 balls and the cueball on the table. do not try to make any ball in the hole.

shoot at any of the 2 balls and try to have the cue ball hit the other softly and stop near it.
you can draw follow or whatever each shot it doesnt matter how you get there.

you learn angles off an object ball
where to hit on object ball to get your angle
how the cue ball comes off the rails and where it goes
how english affects what happens on the rails
speed control to hit your spot. that is the essence of position.

it is really straight rail billiards where you are trying to leave the cueball in a certain spot. and you get to hit many shots without having to get balls or waste time setting up things or going to a specific ball.
you will get good fast and it will come together in one package.

Nice. I like that! 😃
Thanks for the idea.
 

couldnthinkof01

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Thanks so much!

I have a little bit of an odd situation when it comes to drills vs games.
It's like I can do drills for hours. And I'm surprisingly successful at making the shot and using the right speed to make the cueball end up right about at the spot I want it to land. But then, when I'm playing a game, my speed control completely goes out the window LOL!

I don't know. It's like the speed control doesn't translate over to a game. Or maybe, I lose focus when I'm in a game, and my mind's on so many other things so I overlook speed.

I think maybe I need to work on not getting lost in the sea of the overall game and really focus on the necessities of each and every shot.

Anyway, sorry for the rambling LOL!
Thanks again for the recommendations.
That really only comes with time. The more times you play under pressure the more normal it becomes.
Breathing between shots to relax and taking a few extra seconds walking around the table when your heart starts racing helps.
 

Vanessa

Member
Tip #2: Visualize the whole shot before pulling the trigger, including how hard you'll hit the CB and how far it will go as a result - then compare the results. Having specific results in mind and noting the difference in actual results is huge in the learning process.

pj <- shutting up now
chgo

Great advice!
I definitely need to work on that.
I think that's part of my problem.
I see the shot, I focus on how to aim and make contact with the object ball to make it go in, then I consider how the cueball will come off the object ball and where it will go, then I think about how I need to hit the cueball in order to make it get to my next shot - then I bend over and shoot.
It's like my thinking stops there.
I don't even think about how hard or soft I need to hit the cueball.

Wow.

Never really thought about it like this before.

See? This is why I'm diggin' this forum.

Amazing. 😃
 

fastone371

Certifiable
Silver Member
instead of drills which are no fun. try this it accomplishes everything.

put 2 balls and the cueball on the table. do not try to make any ball in the hole.

shoot at any of the 2 balls and try to have the cue ball hit the other softly and stop near it.
you can draw follow or whatever each shot it doesnt matter how you get there.

you learn angles off an object ball
where to hit on object ball to get your angle
how the cue ball comes off the rails and where it goes
how english affects what happens on the rails
speed control to hit your spot. that is the essence of position.

it is really straight rail billiards where you are trying to leave the cueball in a certain spot. and you get to hit many shots without having to get balls or waste time setting up things or going to a specific ball.
you will get good fast and it will come together in one package.
The only thing that scares me with practice like this would be subconsciously tying balls up during a game because thats what I have been practicing. I have noticed that more often than not if I choose a spot on the rail instead of the bed of the table that my cue ball ends up on the rail. Maybe I will try the same but practice giving the ball I intend to hit a decent bump instead of settling up beside it.
 

mark187

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Interesting. I've never tried that.
From what I've read and watched, pros like Darren Appleton and many other aficionados say to not pause during the back stroke. They say to keep it like a fluid pendulum.
Darren Appleton pauses at the cue ball, then a short pause on the final backswing. He also pulls back slower on his final swing, like drawing a bow string back before release, which is more obvious on power shots. I don't know anyone who plays strictly rhythmical like a pendulum.
 

PoolPlayer4

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Thanks so much!

I have a little bit of an odd situation when it comes to drills vs games.
It's like I can do drills for hours. And I'm surprisingly successful at making the shot and using the right speed to make the cueball end up right about at the spot I want it to land. But then, when I'm playing a game, my speed control completely goes out the window LOL!

I don't know. It's like the speed control doesn't translate over to a game. Or maybe, I lose focus when I'm in a game, and my mind's on so many other things so I overlook speed.

I think maybe I need to work on not getting lost in the sea of the overall game and really focus on the necessities of each and every shot.

Anyway, sorry for the rambling LOL!
Thanks again for the recommendations.
I'm a big fan of drills and I think, especially if I keep track of scores over time, they help keep me focused on improvement. I also mix in playing the ghost so I'm getting full rack time in my practice too. Just hitting balls can become unfocused and counter-productive. Not all table time is necessarily improving your play, it could just be reinforcing bad habits.

One thing that can help with what you mention is to randomize the landing spots. So, go to spot 3, then spot 7, then 1, etc. (using the examples of the sfbilliards or BU drills). You can even use dice or playing cards (or a computer random number generator, if you're a total nerd) to pick the numbers. Force yourself to go to fractional spots too. Hit 2.5, then 6.25, etc. These can help because you're not just in a zone where you only adjust a little each time. And get used to visualizing and measuring in diamond lengths. This helps make the speed practice easier to apply in competition.

A second thing is to look at is Dr. Dave's patterns in the later sets of drills. Set up the patterns and run them repeatedly trying to improve your positioning. Then try different routes to the same balls.

Another, is to play progressive ghost. So for nine ball, throw out 3 balls and decide ahead of time which pockets the balls will be made in. If you get out of position and have to use a different pocket, that's a miss. If you make all balls, go to 4 and do the same. Continue to advance adding balls, each time picking pockets for every ball before you start the rack. If you miss a run out, go back one level in number of balls. This has a lot of benefits, both for rack planning skills, and positioning speed. And, I think it translates well to actual competition.

Everyone's different, so you have to pick and choose what fits for you, obviously. But if you like drills, these have helped me.
 

MitchAlsup

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Lots of useful advice here::

One thing that helped me was to recognize the left/right spin increases the length a CB will roll even when it is struck (or traveling) at the same velocity. The rotational inertia increases the "effective" energy in the ball and the distance it will travel.

Another thing that helpped me was to recognize that when I am "thinking pool" I not only think about where I want to leave the CB, but that I also think about whether it is better to leave the CB a little short or a little long. This is akin to wanting to be on the right side of the next shot.
 

couldnthinkof01

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Another thing that helpped me was to recognize that when I am "thinking pool" I not only think about where I want to leave the CB, but that I also think about whether it is better to leave the CB a little short or a little long. This is akin to wanting to be on the right side of the next shot.
I feel this is the most important part of speed control.
Getting the correct angle into the shot so your not overworking the cueball on the next and getting the correct angle out so you are coming into the next position zone rather than across it.
Speed matters slightly less when you get the right angles.
 

Black-Balled

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
If you don't already, you might try pausing for an extended moment at the end of your final backstroke before making the shot stroke. This "separates" the backstroke from the shot stroke and gives you a moment to focus just before pulling the trigger - helps with speed and aiming.

Also remember to accelerate the shot stroke smoothly to the desired speed at impact - don't jerk it.

pj
chgo
Slow down there, mr. I don't think our student is there just yet and throwing out small bits of advice without context is as likely to be detrimental as it is to be beneficial.

And to our new enthusiast: find a shot or two that you can repeat and get a sense of a given table's speed. I like shooting a ball that is on/ near a corner pocket from a 30-45deg angle and rolling forward to side rail and then to opposite end of table.

Finally, play for a while and if you still enjoy it, take a lesson from a good instructor.

Pool: I laughed, I cried, i returned for more.
 

Black-Balled

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Darren Appleton pauses at the cue ball, then a short pause on the final backswing. He also pulls back slower on his final swing, like drawing a bow string back before release, which is more obvious on power shots. I don't know anyone who plays strictly rhythmical like a pendulum.
I have no pause and when I've tried to incorporate one, I feel like smashing a stick within a week or two!
 

fastone371

Certifiable
Silver Member
I have no pause and when I've tried to incorporate one, I feel like smashing a stick within a week or two!
Some people dont pause, some people are so jabby that I think their highest stroke speed is on transition from back to forward stroke. I know adding a deliberate pause on my backstroke definitely helps me, ever since I started playing I have always paused at the cue ball before my final stroke just to make a final aim and alignment check before pulling the trigger.
 

dquarasr

Registered
To the original poster: how much attention to speed do you actually give to your shot when you are planning it before getting down and shooting it? I must admit that there are times I focus far too much on potting the OB, and the PATH I want the CB to go on, that I realize after I’ve shot and gone WAY past my intended target that I totally shot too hard. I almost always miss too long vs too short. You might not be as distracted as I am with respect to CB speed but something to consider if you find your mind drifting and not seriously considering CB speed during shot planning. I have to force myself to consider all three components of my trinity: line to pot the OB; path I want the CB to take; speed to have the CB stop where I want it. It’s very easy for me to ignore speed.....
 

Vanessa

Member
To the original poster: how much attention to speed do you actually give to your shot when you are planning it before getting down and shooting it? I must admit that there are times I focus far too much on potting the OB, and the PATH I want the CB to go on, that I realize after I’ve shot and gone WAY past my intended target that I totally shot too hard. I almost always miss too long vs too short. You might not be as distracted as I am with respect to CB speed but something to consider if you find your mind drifting and not seriously considering CB speed during shot planning. I have to force myself to consider all three components of my trinity: line to pot the OB; path I want the CB to take; speed to have the CB stop where I want it. It’s very easy for me to ignore speed.....

Yeah, very true. I said in one of my replies earlier, I definitely overlook speed. It's something I need to force myself to put more thought into.
 

Scott Lee

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
Interesting. I've never tried that.
From what I've read and watched, pros like Darren Appleton and many other aficionados say to not pause during the back stroke. They say to keep it like a fluid pendulum.
Everybody pauses at the end of the backswing...even those players who think they don't. It's just a matter of how long the pause is...a half second to 2-3 seconds. Like PJ said, this pause helps to facilitate a smooth transition from the backswing to the forward stroke. A pause at the CB, with the tip close, BEFORE you start your final backswing is also very helpful. Almost all good players stop their tip at the CB before shooting.

Scott Lee
2019 PBIA Instructor of the Year
Director, SPF National Pool School Tour
 
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