View Full Version : The Switch From Fluid Motion To Bear-Down?

02-03-2003, 03:05 PM
Ok, your cadence has swept you through to the near finish for a killer win, and you have a game ball staring you in the face, you know the one...the one where even Allison studders once extra and then makes it. Well, just how do you make that transition from automatic pilot and seriously bearing down on a stroke for completion, without letting the fear and tightness cause you to miss? I find that breathing works but just to a point. Pre shot re-runs in your head and body also, and yet it was the fluidity of your body "knowing" how to shoot that got you to the near finish, and I personally find that allowing a mental break into the fluidity segment invariably staggers the center pocket pot for the win,,,it usually drops but many times by using the whole pocket if you know what I mean, and it DOES miss terribly far too many times.

In that moment, where you come to the reality that you have a "should-win" ball, and you have to gear down for seriousness...aside from breathing patterns and pre-shot re-runs, how do you do make that switch? sid

02-03-2003, 04:27 PM
This method has always worked for me. I hate to give away a trade secret but many others do this as well. Just shoot the last ball in a manner where you are playing simple shape on the "next" imaginary ball. The tightness vanishes!! Good luck and I hope this helps.


02-03-2003, 04:31 PM
Do you see that imaginary ball in a 3-ahead plan, or conjer it up when you get the the game ball? Thanks...sid

02-03-2003, 04:37 PM
Anymore I do not need to do this. Back when I might potentially choke on a game ball (many, many years ago) I used this method. I just played shape for one extra ball, no need to play perfect shape, just to a small area and it takes your mind off the importance of "pocketing the money ball". Soon the need for this crutch will disappear.

After reading your post again I misunderstood your question. I just conjur it up after I have shape on the game ball. The other method may do more harm than good.


02-03-2003, 05:16 PM

I do the same thing I do on anyother tough shot. I take my time, figure out exactly what I want to do, how to do it, and line it up and execute.

02-03-2003, 05:26 PM
I take a little extra time for sure but i try not to dwell on the shot too much. We practice to see potting angles instantly and to feel the shot, you don't want to mess with this learned instinct too much by second guessing yourself too much.

02-03-2003, 05:30 PM
I think the key is to be able to convince yourself (with confidence) that this is the time to prove you are a pool player to yourself again. Anyone can miss the shot..but a pool player MAKEs it..

02-03-2003, 06:39 PM
I agree that breathing helps a bit, I always take a deep breath before an important shot to relax my nerves a bit, after that I take my time and treat it like any other shot. I play alot of three ball, so I'm often faced with a do or die single shot for good money, experience is something I don't have, but I imagine that is a very important factor in making "pressure shots."

02-04-2003, 01:49 AM
Hi Sid,
With all due respect, I guess I have a problem with this thinking. Sure we all at times have had the jitters etc when the time come to shoot in the winning ball/set ball. That happened to me early on in my game and will probably happen again.
The problem I have is treating the 9 ball special. I like to think the first 8 balls or whatever the number was, just as important. The idea of cadence or a free-wheel flow through the first balls and a change up at the end can be enough to make anyone miss. It places more value on the 9 ball when in fact the 1 thru 8 was just as important. What happens is many players don't put enough value on early balls. Their thinking is if they miss they might get another shot. My thinking is give them equal value. It most likley will slow down your overall game a tad. At the end an extra moment on the 9 ball won't seem like much of a change. I think an extra stroke on any difficult shot is in order including the 9. Just stay dead focused and go about your business without dwelling on the shot.

One more thought. How many times have you seen, or been told, or caught yourself rushing the final stroke. It is IMO the biggest factor of most missed balls. The idea of making a critical shot with the juices flowing can and many times will speed up our rhythm. Hence the deep breath before to calm us down. If our emotions gain control a quick stroke causes us to lose sight of our aim line. That is when the ball barely goes or by your admission, misses terribly! It is up to you to make a smooth delivery through the c/b.

I've been preaching this forever. When you have a testy or pressure shot notice your grip pressure. More times than not it has increased and your arm is tense. It is diffiucult if not impossible to make a smooth straight stroke under those conditions. Noticing this is the first step to solve a number of problems. I think the answer/cure is relatively simple. Be aware of this when you practice. Granted it won't be there as often but it will happen even in practice. Carry that over to a regular game. In time it will just be second nature. You might think it would be distracting but I see it quite the opposite. When you do tense up, spending a brief moment to relax your shooting arm actually takes pressure off the shot. You have given yourself a slight distraction which eases the tension. It's not necessary all the time, just a tool for a spot check, if you will.
Players may do anything before a shot, breathe deep, sing a song in their mind, whistle dixie etc. What ever it is you can bet it's aimed at the original problem, tension. They probably don't know the real effect other than a missed ball. Sound familiar? All I'm doing is describing what it will effect, your shooting arm.

As an end note tension effects the whole body it's just more pronounced in the stroke. I can walk in any pool room any day or time and see it happen over and over and over and over again. It is very common, or did I say that already? LOL /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif

Now if you feel you don't have this problem at times or it doesn't exist, then just disregard my post.
But before you or anyone does, have a very educated eye watch or see a tape of you play.
A long time BCA instructor and myself sometimes watch others play. We look at each other after seeing a stroke. We will mimic a stroke sitting there, to each other. Usually it is a quick move of the arm. I mean you can see it big time even when it is not apparent to others. I mean it's like a billboard with a neon sign. Whistles and bells go off, you'd think it was a jackpot in Vegas. All that happens on a rushed stroke. LOL /ccboard/images/graemlins/laugh.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/laugh.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/laugh.gif OK I'm done.

02-04-2003, 08:30 AM
Sid, for me, your question raises the fundamental issue involved in "choking," whether it be pool or any other endeavor. If making the shot is extremely important to you (or, conversely, if you think that missing the shot will produce terrible consequences such as loss of money, status, etc.), then there WILL be tension, anxiety, and a real possibility of choking and missing. There are many tricks that can help, and some have already been suggested (such as playing position on an imaginary next ball), but I have never found any trick or technique that worked all the time. It may help to remind yourself that this is just one of thousands of "money shots" you will have in your lifetime as a pool player. You'll miss some and make some and the sun will still come up tomorrow. Rod's advice to focus on the tension in your grip and stroke arm is an excellent idea. Consciously relaxing the tension in your grip and arm will give you a better chance at making a game-winning shot. One "trick" I sometimes use is to tell myself that I may not make the shot, but I know I can give the shot the best change of going in by focusing on staying down on the shot (I tend to jump up on crucial shots) and relaxing my arm. Hope this helps!

02-04-2003, 08:36 AM
In that moment, where you come to the reality that you have a "should-win" ball, and you have to gear down for seriousness...<hr /></blockquote>

Agh.......the fever, don't you just love this game...LOL...what I suggest is brutal honesty. When the fever hits get off the shot and admit out loud to your opponent or railbirds that you were just about to 'dog it' (they know it anyway) this outward admission seems to calm and refocus me on the shot. Of course, for some this maybe like doubling the pressure but what the hell if you can't play underpressure you can't win anyway.

John in NH
02-04-2003, 08:57 AM
Hi Sid,

There is no need to switch from fluid motion to bear-down, if bear-down means that you will tighten up with the fear of missing the 9 ball. In 9 ball if your playing against a quality opponent and you miss a shot whether it is the 9 ball or the 1 ball the final result is usually loss of game.

I treat every shot in 9 ball the same way, each shot must be executed successfully in order to win the game or match.



Scott Lee
02-06-2003, 12:41 AM
sid...It depends on your definition of "bearing down"! If you are talking about becoming more calm and collected, you're on the right track, imo. The key to improving consitency is being more relaxed...which is often described as being "in a trance" or "in the zone". This is where your abilities peak, for some period of time...from as short as, momentary (probably a lot of us here! LOL), to temporarily indefinite!...meaning that your SCP would be 100%...but only for as long as it lasts for that session). As poolplayers, we all want to be "in the zone" all the time. However, that is unrealistic for all but a miniscule percentage of poolplayers...who dedicate themselves to perfecting their strokes, so that they can depend on them, in any shot situation, ON DEMAND! Often they can have an overall stroke control percentage of 90+%! This means that roughly 90% of the time they are stroking the CB perfectly. No miscues, no misjudgement of tip placement, no misjudging english...basically you "hit" it perfect! Whether or not you made the ball, as well as HOW you stroked the shot are taken into consideration in the equation. Not always pocketing the ball would lower the overall SCP somewhat. The player who has the highest SCP will frequently win the tournament. When you can improve your Stroke Control Percentage even to as high as 50% (this is nonprofessional poolplayers) you will notice a marked difference in your game. When you can TRUST your stroke...you've LEARNED how to play pool! After that you can just continue to add to your wealth of knowledge.

Relax...your body and your mind...and the game will come to YOU! Easier said than done!

Scott Lee