Pool is not game you can fake your way through with brute force. You need to have a precise and focused mood to ensure every ball goes where you want it to. Nerves or aggressiveness will only hamper your shot, and there’s nothing more nerve wracking than being out of your depth. Follow these very precise steps to ensure you don’t get hustled (or beat by your 11year-old nephew).
1. PROPERLY POSITION YOUR HANDS ON THE POOL CUE
Hold the back end of the cue with your dominant hand. Make sure to grip it about one inch behind where the cue is evenly balanced. With your nondominant hand, make a circle around the front of the cue using your thumb and index finger. Rest the cue on your middle finger and spread out your pinky and ring finger to give it support.
2. STAND DOWN
Place the foot on the same side as your non-dominant hand in the front with the other foot two feet behind you. Lean onto the table and make sure the cue is directly below your chin. Support yourself with your front foot, but allow for the flow of your body’s momentum to go from your back foot forward.
3. PREPARE FOR THE SHOT
Get a good eye on the ball so you see directly where you plan to shoot and where it will go. Keep your cue positioned parallel to the table so it doesn’t shoot wildly. You want to imagine a line from your stick through the cue ball and into the ball you’re intending for it to strike.
Rather than going for a quick, powerful shot you want to go for more of a smooth and precise motion. Accelerate your speed as the cue approaches the ball so that the longer shot will do a better job of pushing the ball. Keep your eye on the target ball through your cue’s impact with the cue ball. Make sure to fully follow through with your shot, so that it’s a relaxed motion without any jumpy movements. This will ensure that the stick travels straight. And if your stick travels straight, there’s a pretty good chance the ball will too.
5. KNOW THE ANGLES
You’ll rarely get an opportunity where the cue ball lines up with your target ball and the pocket, so it is important you know how to bank the ball off the sides of the table (called the rails) or “cut” a ball by hitting it or grazing it on its sides in order to sink shots. A ball hitting the rail at one angle will always bounce off at the same angle, so try to picture in your mind the path of the ball hitting the rails based on this mathematical axiom. Finally, math class pays off!
6. DON’T FEAR THE BRIDGE
There’s no shame in admitting your arms just aren’t long enough for a shot in the middle of the table. After all, not everyone is built like Duke. It’s better to use a bridge to extend your reach than to lose a game with your vanity.
This post was derived from “The Official Handybook for Men” by James Ellis. For more handy tips, you can purchase the book from our online store.