Using the breath during stroke

gordml

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I just read in a popular how to play pool book, to use your breath during your stroke.
Its basically learn to Inhale on backswing and exhale on follow through.
Is that common? Any pros do that?
thanks
 

boogieman

It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that ping.
Pool is largely mental. If breath work helps you, go for it. If you don't need it to keep your mind occupied, don't. I use hard tips for this, listening to the sound and anticipating it distracts me just enough to stop thinking about an outcome of doom on every shot.
 

Buzzard II

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Jay Helfert addresses this subject in his "My Little Black Book" of pool secrets.

In fact it's under the first subject matter, be still.

He should be along shortly to explain.
 

garczar

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I just read in a popular how to play pool book, to use your breath during your stroke.
Its basically learn to Inhale on backswing and exhale on follow through.
Is that common? Any pros do that?
thanks
Do a search on shooting(firearms) and breathing. Lot of the same techniques apply.
 

Patrick Johnson

Fish of the Day
Silver Member
For what it's worth, I was taught in the military to let my breath out slowly while pulling the trigger. I believe it was so changing breath direction/lung motion wouldn't cause torso movement during the shot.

pj
chgo
 

Island Drive

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I just pause during the shot, at a comfortable time when I pull the trigger. Most often after I exhale.
 

measureman

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
If the cue ball is frozen or very near the head rail and the object ball is a couple feet away and its a dead straight shot into the corner I hold my breath during the last couple strokes.
 

garczar

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
For what it's worth, I was taught in the military to let my breath out slowly while pulling the trigger. I believe it was so changing breath direction/lung motion wouldn't cause torso movement during the shot.

pj
chgo
Most commonly used breathing technique in shooting is to take a breath, let half of it out, take the shot. This gives you a small time-window when you will be shake-free. My dad was a NRA bulls-eye pistol shooter and i was taught this early on. Works for pool, guns, darts anything where you want to have pretty much motionless concentration.
 

garczar

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
If the cue ball is frozen or very near the head rail and the object ball is a couple feet away and its a dead straight shot into the corner I hold my breath during the last couple strokes.
Holding breath can cause shaking if held too long. If you let half the breath out you have a few seconds of dead-calm.
 

Geosnookery

Active member
If somebody can’t use a stick to pot a ball into a hole twice it’s size at 8 feet then it’s not a breathing issue. If someone can’t shoot a bottle cap off a log at 20 yards then it ‘may‘ be a breathing issue.

Best to clear your mind. Stop over thinking. It’s not your breathing, cue, tip, chalk. It’s some more fundamental issue with mechanics or table wisdom.

There’s over 65,000 posts in just the aiming thread. Choose your poison. My observation after decades. Do like Snooker players. Become a robot. Approach the table the same...shoot the same, Breath the same, stands up the same, etc. Consistency. ‘Then’ you have a firm baseline to make adjustments as needed.
 

CJ Wiley

ESPN WORLD OPEN CHAMPION
Gold Member
Silver Member
I just read in a popular how to play pool book, to use your breath during your stroke.
Its basically learn to Inhale on backswing and exhale on follow through.
Is that common? Any pros do that?
thanks
Johnny Archer said he exhales before and as he's getting down to shoot, and I agree.

The breathing is a bridge between the conscious (you can think about it and change it) and the subconscious (you can go long period times and give your breath no intentional thought) - there are several ways you can use breathing to achieve desired objectives, like go into a Zone (trance), relax, or become more focussed. The way a weightlifter breathes is much different than how a professional pool player does, because the objective and outcome is vastly different!
 

boogieman

It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that ping.
Johnny Archer said he exhales before and as he's getting down to shoot, and I agree.

The breathing is a bridge between the conscious (you can think about it and change it) and the subconscious (you can go long period times and give your breath no intentional thought) - there are several ways you can use breathing to achieve desired objectives, like go into a Zone (trance), relax, or become more focussed. The way a weightlifter breathes is much different than how a professional pool player does, because the objective and outcome is vastly different!
Would you say by focusing on your breath with your conscious mind, it's distracting your conscious thoughts enough to let your subconscious take control of the shot? That's how I feel with many things in pool. I have to distract my conscious (aka focus) in order to let my subconscious and muscle memory do it's thing. When I get in a "flow" state my mind shuts off, no thoughts, other than maybe patterns/cb shape, sometimes I even get tunnel vision and forget anything exists outside of the cloth and balls on the table.

If somebody can’t use a stick to pot a ball into a hole twice it’s size at 8 feet then it’s not a breathing issue. If someone can’t shoot a bottle cap off a log at 20 yards then it ‘may‘ be a breathing issue.

Best to clear your mind. Stop over thinking. It’s not your breathing, cue, tip, chalk. It’s some more fundamental issue with mechanics or table wisdom.

There’s over 65,000 posts in just the aiming thread. Choose your poison. My observation after decades. Do like Snooker players. Become a robot. Approach the table the same...shoot the same, Breath the same, stands up the same, etc. Consistency. ‘Then’ you have a firm baseline to make adjustments as needed.
I feel like this is great advice. That said, I hate to be a robot. I know it might cause some unforced errors, but I like to feel. I find most of my issues aren't mechanics or table wisdom (though I always seek more wisdom and better mechanics), but my brain being a bastard and sabotaging me. I have ADD so my brain is a bit of an odd duck. I have to distract it in some way in order to actually focus. It might be listening to the beat of a song in the background, listening to sounds the tip and or balls make, feeling the temperature or air on my skin. It's kind of ridiculous but if I can distract that overthinking part of my brain that's going at 100mph I can get in a flow state and do no wrong (in as far as my skill level allows).
 

CJ Wiley

ESPN WORLD OPEN CHAMPION
Gold Member
Silver Member
Would you say by focusing on your breath with your conscious mind, it's distracting your conscious thoughts enough to let your subconscious take control of the shot? That's how I feel with many things in pool. I have to distract my conscious (aka focus) in order to let my subconscious and muscle memory do it's thing. When I get in a "flow" state my mind shuts off, no thoughts, other than maybe patterns/cb shape, sometimes I even get tunnel vision and forget anything exists outside of the cloth and balls on the table.
I always recommend the book 'Zen in the Art of Archery' for pool players, archery and pool shooting are very similar, I did both at a very young age and they complimented each other.

In the book it says "A single thought will alter the arrow from it's course, and the release must be like snow falling off a bamboo leaf, at the moment of highest tension" (I paraphrased a couple quotes) - I studied how to go into a zone probably as much as anyone in, to the extent I got a master's practictioner degree in euro-linguistic programming and studied Ericksonian Hypnosis under NLP's Co Founder Richard Bandler. For anyone that wants to learn how words are used to program the mind (intentionally) I recommend Richard Bandler's books, if you want to have it done TO you unintentionally watch the evening news. :rolleyes:
 

tableroll

Rolling Thunder
Silver Member
I just pause during the shot, at a comfortable time when I pull the trigger. Most often after I exhale.
I agree. I think this works best for me. I inhale on the forestroke and exhale on the backstroke so that I can pull the trigger just before I am about to inhale again. It has been said that movement of the diaphragm during the inhale can move the stick. i believe that. So I begin exhaling on the slow backswing so that I have no diaphragm movement at impact with the cue ball.
 

The_JV

Local_Pro
I do whatever I said in the last "breathing while shooting" thread. I haven't been active very long so I'm guessing it may be a month or two old now.

My advice... Focus on things that will make a difference. If your margin of error is so minor that something like the shakes from breathing will effect the outcome then you've made the wrong shot selection.
 

34YearsOfPlayin

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
You should do anything that makes it easier for you. For me personally I wouldn't because it would make me feel uncomfortable. I just strive to be comfortable and focused on the shot. If I have to think about breathing than I am not focused on what I have to do I am focused breathing. Of course everyone might have a different experience.
 
Last edited:
Top