View Full Version : Induced dead stroke

phil in sofla
07-27-2004, 03:42 PM
Last night I got to the pool hall maybe 45 minutes from closing. Nobody was there to hit with, and I decided to run a couple of 'do the rack in 3 minutes or less' drills-- make an open break on 15 balls, take ball in hand, and try to get them all down in that time frame.

This is far faster than my normal playing speed, which is probably a 4 on a scale of 1= slowest and 10= fastest. It left little time for thinking about a pattern, exact 3 ball shape, or anything else, other than seeing, sighting, getting down and firing away.

As has happened before, about a half rack into this, I got as close to dead stroke as I've ever experienced. That continued for 5 or 6 racks until I had to stop. Maybe not true dead stroke, as I frequently faced testy shots to continue-- but I was nailing those effortlessly. And I was making obvious shape shots very well.

I read once that practicing this way for a period of time rewires the brain or something. Maybe all it was was getting a great rhythm, and turning off the chattering self-talk distraction. Whatever it was, it felt great, and almost supernatural. When I noticed it at first, noticing it made it go away for a couple of shots, until I re-imursed myself into pure shooting, no thinking, and then it returned.

But I can't see myself becoming a Machine Gun Lou Butera, or even as fast as Earl gets in rhythm, or playing this way for keeps or even in recreational play. I wonder if it's harmful, and might get me into playing loose shots without proper care or consideration? But, at the same time, if freeing myself from the slower pace would yield such shot making ability, it might be worth trying the faster pace.

Have you ever tried practicing at a far faster pace than normal for you, and what effect does it have, if any, when you slow back down to normal?

07-27-2004, 05:13 PM
I would say what you did was free your mind up while playing. IMO the trick is being able to take the time needed in looking at a table, but during the shot you must be free of any mechanical thoughts. Just "see" what it is you want to do and then get out of your own way so you can do it. I wouldnt want to play fast all the time (that is one of the things I used to fight) but after the decision is made it shouldnt take too long to pull the trigger.

07-27-2004, 08:48 PM

Every time I broke through a plateau, there was a moment like yours.

I'll never forget one night about a year ago - it was about midnight and I was alone, it was dark all around except for the pool table light, and the balls just started making themselves. I was relaxed, energetic and alert. Rack after rack I made everything and the cue ball was being willed around like I had a hand on it. The cue was as light as air and no matter what I tried, razor thin cuts, banks, long shots, rail shots, finesse shots - the pool was perfect. I couldn't stop and played for two hours that way. I realized for a moment in time what it felt like to be an Efren or an Earl.

Reality set in the next day and the next, but my level of play jumped from that point on anyway.

I believe these moments are windows into our playing future - showing us what we possibly can do.


07-27-2004, 09:41 PM
Over the past year or so I've practiced alone many many times.I would spread nine balls out and take ball in hand and try to run them off.On at least 1/2 dozen or more occasions I know that I experienced that most wonderful feeling in pool known as deadstroke. I didn't really think, I just shot and seemed to intuitivley know what to put on the cue ball to obtain shape. When I went off line, more often than not I recovered with a great pot to keep the run going.

It was that perfect feeling of relaxtion, confidence, focus and concentration that seemed to fall on me effortlessly.People walked by me doing their thing, the music blared etc, however I was oblivious to it all as ball after ball dropped.My cue was light in my hand and it was almost like I was playing in a trance.It was so addictive that I didn't want to stop shooting while it lasted.As I remember it, my pace was fairly fast, steady but not super speedy.

Just as I thought that I'd made that quantum leap in my pool playing ability I discovered that deadstroke is but a gift and it's to be enjoyed when it visits you.There are some out there who know how make themselves more suseptible to have it come there way apparently,(pro's) however,I've never learned how to.I just really enjoy it when it comes my way.

The Inner Game of Tennis is a great read regarding this matter.It talks about playing with your right brain (creative side)as opposed to playing left brained (analitical).I think by shooting quicker you don't give your analitical,judgemental side of your brain a chance to jump in and ruin the shot.Just visulize the shot and shoot as opposed to swing thoughts like head down, light grip,straight arm, follow through etc etc which can tighten the body up, take the smoothness out of your stroke and cause you to miss.The Inner Game of Tennis( same principals apply to pool) explains the process very well. RJ

07-27-2004, 10:26 PM
Well that's what happens when your brain doesn't get in the way. Your level of plays jumps up a notch or two. People read and watch way to much for their brain to handle. Their thinking when they should be shooting. These steps are of course a learning process to find and improve your real game.

You'll notice in many explanations people say the cue feels light and in your case mentioned being in a trance. Why do you suppose that is?


07-28-2004, 12:07 AM
It is called "Free wheeling" and everybody can do it. The problem is, it is not based on anything and will abandon you as soon as you are under any pressure or have to think. Players like Earl may seem to be playing like that but be assured they are not. Their games are deliberate it just does not look like it. I hung around with a guy that played like that all the time. He would chase guys out of the game before they knew how he really played. He beat Wade Crane for $2000. and Crane quit. The next day Crane he came back with Denny Sercy who busted my friend, but it shows the level a player can play at in that mindless state.

Chris Cass
07-28-2004, 07:24 AM
Your so right Popcorn,

Bobby Pickle did that to me in Vegas 2002. Freewheeled the entire set. I've seen him twice afterwards playing and both times he was trying like heck to do the same thing but it didn't happen. I will say though, he's not your typical free wheeler.


C.C.~~slows the pace of the game down if I get a shot. that throws them into the thinking part and messes up their rhythm. /ccboard/images/graemlins/smirk.gif