View Full Version : Why do I miss hard hit shots?

08-27-2002, 11:34 AM
When hitting a ball at "normal" speed, the ball will go right smack dab into the middle of the pocket. When hitting that same ball at the same cut angle at "hard" speed, I miss more often.


Is it likely because I miss my aim point on the cue ball? Is it likely because I miss my aim point on the object ball? Or, is it likely because the speed of the hit changes the aiming angle (issues about "cling", "contact induced english", etc....)?

Rich R.
08-27-2002, 12:10 PM
Possibly, all of the above. /ccboard/images/icons/smile.gif Rich R.

08-27-2002, 12:13 PM
Good afternoon:

Having experienced similar situations and outcomes, I decided one day to analyze my stroke and the "muscle" tension created as I increased the intensity of my stroke. What I learned is that as I tried to hit "harder" my muscles would tense and change the alignment of my stroke.

Dr. D.

08-27-2002, 12:27 PM
Hi SPetty,

Based on my unscientific analysis(whacking alot of balls), my guess is that it is a combination of cue deflection and throw. If the cueball will take a different tangent line when hit hard, shouldn't the object ball? What's a guy to do? I just cut it "fatter" when hitting hard. Iknow fatter isn't a great desciption. On a half ball cut, I'll aim a tiny bit(1/16"?) inside of the aimpoint. I notice this more on power follow shots, vs. power draw. Hope this helps.

Eric > blinded me with science

08-27-2002, 12:42 PM
Yes to all the above but I certainly agree with Dr.D's analysis....
Remember to follow through and STAY DOWN ...(one thousand one...one thousand two...)
of course you know all that...

08-27-2002, 12:43 PM

08-27-2002, 12:45 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote: SPetty:</font><hr> When hitting a ball at "normal" speed, the ball will go right smack dab into the middle of the pocket. When hitting that same ball at the same cut angle at "hard" speed, I miss more often.


Is it likely because I miss my aim point on the cue ball? Is it likely because I miss my aim point on the object ball? Or, is it likely because the speed of the hit changes the aiming angle (issues about "cling", "contact induced english", etc....)?

For one thing, when you hit a ball hard the CB actually leaves the table. Place a coin 8" in front of the CB and hit it hard and the CB will not touch the coin. The CB becoming airborne can cause it to not go to the proper contact point. That's only one variable though. Maybe you could use a smoother stroke with good follow-thru rather than a hard hit. Like Rod says "More power, less effort"

Also the pocket will easily accept a ball which is rolling more slowly and "spit out" a fast-moving ball.

My 2 cents.

I'm sure you'll get a lot of opinions on this.

08-27-2002, 12:50 PM
Deflection almost for sure- the harder you hit the more deflection -maybe 3 times as much as on a soft hit

UNLESS you hit dead center ball which is unlikely

08-27-2002, 12:59 PM
Quote SPetty, Is it likely because I miss my aim point on the cue ball? Is it likely because I miss my aim point on the object ball?"

Susan, Yes to both. Define hard in terms of how far the c/b travels related to the angle. I'm guessing there is a reason to shoot hard but there might be an better/easier way. If you will set up a shot on the wei, and describe how you shoot the shot, it would be easier to evaluate.

Anyway when you shoot hard the body and grip has a tendacy to tighten up. It really happens mentally because your mind knows it wants to shoot hard, but your muscles are not trained (yet) for high speed accuracy. That being said, in itself will cause unwanted body/head movement. That alone changes your aim sight line and tense muscles in your arm "guide" the cue on a wrong path. To shoot, lets use the word firm shots, you really need to relax. Compare it to a "normal" speed stroke at a faster pace without the tension. Note my tag line. Being smooth means no tense muscles, and the cue is delivered at a gradual increase of speed. Compare that to a fast jerking/hurried movement, if you will.

The good news, it can be cured by starting out with easier shots and gradually build up a stroke/fundamentals that holds up at a faster pace. I'm not describing you here, but here is what I see just as an example. Someone tries to draw a cueball 6 feet when they don't know how to draw it a foot with any consistancy. It only builds more bad habits. More good news if you can call it that. If I was at the pool room I could watch literally any table I choose and see this problem, so your not alone. It comes in different degrees, the better the player the less you see. BTW cling is not a factor on firm shots.

08-27-2002, 01:34 PM
Quote Whitewolf,The most likely reason is that your muscles tense up, throwing off your stroke, especially by your wrist twisting abnormally. Close you eyes just before you hit, shoot normally. Then do the same shooting hard. Most likely, you will find yourself jerking do to unwanted body movements, ESPECIALLY your head. Your head moving is an aftermath of straining body parts. Your head encases the inner ear, where your sense of balance is. All I can say is a vicious cycle starts and one problem fuels the others.

In order for me not to do this, I try to hold the cue very lightly -- thanks to many CCBers advice. This takes a lot of tension out of your stroke and will breed fluidness."

I definitely agree WW.

Quote WW, During practice, hit long, striaght-in hard draw shots until you get it right. Shooting hard should be part of your practice routine anyway, as well as shooting soft, IMO.

WW Here is where we differ, you need the right tools first before trying to attempt such. It can leave a lasting memory of failed attempts not to mention bad habits. Learn it at slower speeds first and gradually increase. Most people trying to attempt something beyond their ability only breaks down their basic fundamentals and ingrains new or old, poor ones. It really depends on a persons level of play what might be best. IMO

Yes, think smooth. Some definitions of smooth are,
Having an even consistency, Having an even or gentle motion or movement, To make less harsh or crude; refine.
To soothe or tranquilize; make calm.

I think the last one we can all use at times in our life./ccboard/images/icons/smile.gif

08-27-2002, 01:59 PM
Your a smart lady Dr.D. This is an area that can not be ignored. Some people try to find answers in all the wrong places. It needs to be directed to the source. That is a simple statement and is a bit more involved. I'll call it mental tension. None of us are immune as you well know, even in every day life. Ask Gerda, I'll bet she can give you a lot of examples related to pool and possible ways to help.

08-27-2002, 03:54 PM
When you hit harder, there's a much smaller pocket area that will accept the OB, so the margin for error is smaller.

At the same time, the harder you hit, the more tendency there is to introduce some movement in your body, in moving your elbow out at the back of the stroke, or gripping too tightly, all of which may both shift the CB direction, or introduce english through an off-centre CB hit. This means that your accuracy is compromised.

That's not all. When the CB hits the OB at an angle, there is contact-induced throw. This can be up to about 8 degrees at a 40 degree cut angle. Soft hit, more throw, hard hit, less throw. This means that the contact point changes, so if you don't compensate, you are more likely to over-cut on harder shots, particulary between 25 and 45 degrees.

The compensation is generally learned through trial and error. Only constant work on your stroke and fundamentals can improve accuracy on hard shots, and nothing can make the shots less difficult than a softer shot.

So, since you can't do anything about missing more hard shots than medium shots, keep working to improve accuracy, and miss less overall, and try to play position so you don't have to hit as many balls hard.


08-27-2002, 04:29 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote: Nostroke:</font><hr> the harder you hit the more deflection <hr></blockquote> I disagree.

phil in sofla
08-27-2002, 04:55 PM
What I've learned is that on very slow cuts, you should cut thinner than you think. On very fast cut shots, you should cut thicker than you think. (All other things being equal-- deflection considerations may require something different on the hard hit cuts).

Why is that? On the very slow hit cuts, you cut thinner to allow for contact induced throw. On hard hits, you are cutting thicker to allow for the fact that the cue ball will be off the table, and thus contact the object ball NOT where it is fattest-- at its equator-- but a little above it, where it is thinner. If you do not correct for that, you will overcut the ball.

Fran Crimi
08-27-2002, 06:59 PM
Well, first, SPetty, there aren't all that many shots that will go right into the center of a pocket without touching the pocket facings, so you're talking about a pretty specific OB placement. If you consistently pocket the shot at your normal speed without touching a pocket facing, then I'd venture to say that when you're shooting the same shot at high speed, the cue ball is making contact at a different point on the OB. One error that amateur players often make is that they speed up their backstroke when they want to move their cue stick forward faster. That could throw you off-line as well as interrupt your sighting on the object ball. Next time try focusing on bringing your cue stick back slowly and see if it helps.


08-27-2002, 07:21 PM
I think all of the posters had good comments on the possibilities. Tendancy to tense up on firmer stroke, pocket not accepting the ball as well at a faster pace, possible hurried backswing, possibility that cb is airborne at time of contact thus changing contact point on ob, etc.

It might also be the possibility that you have described the shot as "hard" You might want to visit my previous post "Game within a game." I never use the word hard. I think firm might be a better word. Like the zen thing in golf. I never tell myself don't leave the putt short its always something like get the ball to the back of the cup or just drops in on the high side or something in the affirmative. Our mind can not think the opposite of our last thought. Therefore you don't think there as ob blocking the left side of the pocket you think pocket this shot in the right side of the pocket.

It may sound corny but pay attention to your self talk in your pre-shot visualization. IMHO it does impact the results.

OK enough zen for one post good luck and keep shooting.

08-27-2002, 07:36 PM
By your using the term "hard" I make the assumption that you are trying to get the cue ball to travel farther down table.

May I offer a little test? Try to hit this shot you have just described, with just a little more than your "normal" speed. Not a lot more.. but just a little more.

Little steps, have helped me adjust to these shots in not only making them.. but being confident that I will.

08-27-2002, 08:21 PM
SPetty, I haven't read but a few responses, so if this has been covered already just ignore. Some of the responses that I have read offered some good advice. One thing I didn't see a post about was the pool table. Do you have this problem on all tables or do you play mostly on just one? I have played on some tables that just almost won't let you shoot hard. The pocket will reject a hard shot, unless it is absolutely perfect, and sometimes even then. The particular table I am thinking of is an old Brunswick GC. A very firm hit with any english at all will seldom ever go down on this table. Why this particular table is like this, I don't know.

08-27-2002, 08:34 PM
If you are missing shooting hard..
Then never shoot hard..
You are going to have to figure out, using English on whitey, how to move the cue ball, without hitting it hard, but by hitting it with the right spins..

Less speed + better spins..

Miss shooting hard more often..
Never shoot hard..
You cannot afford to miss


08-28-2002, 08:13 AM
Man, you guys are great. Thanks for all the responses. These are all great thoughts and I can't wait to try them out.