View Full Version : Eternal vigilance. . . . (a bit long)

11-08-2002, 02:00 PM
No, I'm not talking about the price of freedom, but of keeping one's "game" at a good level.

For the last 3 weeks or so, I've grown a little 'cool' (sort of like a slump, except I can manage to win games, but it takes me longer to do it--assuming my opponent allows it). This has led me to concentrate back on my shot-making, and worrying about the position only near the end of the game (closer to the 8 ball). If my opponent is 'on', I might as well put my cue away. . . .

So, in order to analyze the details of what I'm doing badly, I've paid more attention to my pre-shot routing, and worked on my execution consistency--the thought being: "If you're consistently doing something correct, leave it alone, if incorrect, then you should be able to troubleshoot it."

Well, I was downstairs shooting long-table shots (a weakness of mine) and although I was following the same routine each time, I was missing pretty much everything. I was getting irritated, so I stopped for a second, decided to use a different cue (just grabbed one that happened to be lighter than the one I was using), and started whacking balls around--some with the pre-shot routing, some without. Suddenly, I was making shots again!

This may make it sound like the stick made me shoot better somehow, or that breaking the routine was the trick, but I believe it was neither, yet both. Taking a bit of my brain aside, to think about what was different, I found that the lighter stick allowed me to feel what had changed--I was shooting 'looser'. While trying to strictly follow the preshot routine, I had added some rigidity to my stroke, which appeared to take affect as a tensing of my grip on the cue. I then returned to the routine, with a relaxed grip, and I was immediately pleased with the results. (As I've parroted in the past, and any of the martial artists or motorcyclists out there can attest to, "don't forget to breathe". . . .)

My point here is just to add another, nearly invisible, thing to check for, if you're suddenly "off".

In the past, I have also found that I was inconsistent with my cue-to-head/eye/chin placement, which I consider 'nearly invisible' as well.

Anyone got anything else similiar? That is, things that get easily overlooked in the diagnostics?


11-08-2002, 02:43 PM
An expression one of my coaches used all the time was "Let the table tell you what to do!" This is what it sounds like you found when you simply started hitting balls. Rather than trying to get your mind to guide the balls you let the balls guide your mind. The lay of the table is what it is and you can't change it. You can't will a shot line where it does not already exist. You must recognize what is possible and work only with that. Let the table tell you what to do. If you do not like what the table allows you to do one way you must look for what it allows you to do another way.
Steve in CA