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May All The Rolls Go Your WayArticle written by The Monk of Monk Billiard Academy
If I can help you become a more consistent player you will win more tournaments, more matches and raise your league average. It's hard to go to a tournament with a winning attitude if you are not sure how you are going to play. You may play well for a while, and then play poorly. If this is your experience in pocket billiards, it is hard to develop the confidence you need to become a winner. If you are to win a tournament you must believe in yourself. You must have good strong trust skills. In addition, your will skills must be solid and determined.
Wouldn't it be nice to be able to say, "I am here to win the tournament. I know I am going to play well. All I need now, is a few good rolls"? Now that would be a nice attitude.
You lean into a shot, your grip is a few inches off, your right leg is not perfectly in line, and you miss hit the cue ball. Your mind begins to tell stories of how awful you really are. Your trust skills are gone, your will is sapped, and you are ready to quit. Suddenly, your opponent becomes God and is incapable of missing a shot. All this because of a poor stance and grip. And we think our lady of good fortune is having an affair.
When your grip is off, and your stance is off, you have a hard time seeing the shot. Once that happens you lose confidence. Then without confidence, you cannot deliver a committed stroke. It is all very simple. What we have here is failure to communicate. A breakdown in our fundamentals.
I asked one of my opponents if his kids were happy. His mortal fear was that, since he was a pool player, he might not be good father. Once he thought about how happy or sad his kids were, he tensed up, his grip got too tight, his stance was not right, he rushed his shots, and he lost the match.
I asked another player if he ever had trouble with this strange cloth we were playing on and he became so concerned about the cloth that he shot all his shots harder than his normal routine. He lost the match.
Once your mind is diverted from the fundamental approach to shooting balls, you will have problems. It all comes down to the one shot in front of you. Nothing more than the shot you are facing. And in order to succeed with that shot, your eyes must be coming right out of your stance. You see the shot, and you shoot the shot and the ball goes in. Keep doing this until you run out of shots.
Line up fifteen balls across the table from diamond number one on the long rail. Lay your cue down on the bottom rail in line with a ball. Step into the shot, and shoot it one handed into the far corner pocket. Shoot all the balls into any of the corner pockets. Do it again. On the third time, once you lean into your shot, place your left hand on the rail for a bridge. You should be in a perfect stance. Shoot this rack very hard. Make a nice hard sound.
Stand along side the table near the side pocket and lean into your stance. Place your cue on the rail. There will be a line between the rubber rail, and wood. This line runs down the rail. Stroke the cue back and forth on top of the rail, and note how the cue stays on that line. If it wobbles off the line, you are not in a good stance. Your arm is not straight. Get yourself back in line and you will be making more shots.
Take a coke bottle and lay it on the table. Stroke the cue tip in and out of that bottle in a rapid fire fashion. Spend some time on these fundamental measurements on the accuracy of your stroke. Remember, we must be hitting the cue ball the same way every time. That is, our quality of hit, must be pure. No bounce, no push, no give. A solid pure hit.
May All The Rolls Go Your Way,
Tim Miller, The Monk