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Old 03-17-2011, 04:04 PM   #26
llDayo
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Re: I'm slightly above average, where do I go from here?

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Originally Posted by Frank the Tank View Post
I like to break from the left side so my bridge arm could sort of brace against the rail. Sometimes, I use a closed bridge and hit the cue ball as hard as I can at the center of the one ball. Other times, I use an open bridge and try to add to the power by pushing off my back foot so my stance when I'm done breaking looks like I'm trying to knee someone in the balls. I find I sink balls more often this way but also lose control sometimes and glance off the head ball rather than hit it square on.
When you're pushing off like that you'll throw your aim off way to often. What you should learn to do is snap your wrist. As you go to break, your breaking arm should push forward and right before contacting the cue ball your wrist should snap forward. It's a little hard to explain. A good, similar example would be the release of a baseball by the pitcher. His wrist will snap forward right at the moment of release (Orel Hershiser had a very defined snap).

This way you can still stay down on the ball with little movement and better accuracy. Also, make sure you're not gripping the cue too tightly. Keep your grip loose. It makes the snap easier to do. When I break I only use my three middle fingers. The cue is just laying on them. A teammate of mine taught me how to break like this. Basically, the reasoning is it's not the speed of the shaft that matters but instead the speed of the tip.

If you want a little MORE ball movement on the break you want to try to line up your shot from the side like you are doing but find an angle in which the cue ball will go off the object ball, into the side rail and back into the middle of the rack. Spreads them very well when done right and normally pockets at least one!
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Old 03-17-2011, 08:41 PM   #27
smbruin22
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Re: I'm slightly above average, where do I go from here?

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i find when setting up a shot taking a step back from the table and approaching the table (i.e. take a step forward in to the position to take the shot) helps get my body in the right position with the right aim.

i dont know if anyone else finds the same but it just helps me if i line up the shot first from a distance then i can keep focused as i approach the shot on were i want to hit the object ball and cue ball.
yes, this is almost exactly what has improved my aim as well. my old way of planting your feet and then adjusting your aim is a recipe for poor shooting

watching those top billiards videos in another thread helped my confidence. i noticed those guys can miss alot of shots (albeit on very tight pockets). getting the idea i'm too hard on myself.
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Old 03-18-2011, 02:04 PM   #28
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Re: I'm slightly above average, where do I go from here?

also, really trying to understand the trade-off between making shots and having position on cue ball afterwards. starting to miss alot of easy shots due to being very exacting on attempted leave, especially trying to get long rolls on the cue ball after contact. i realize it is a trade-off.

i think i need real competition at some point and need to hit alot of tough shots softly so i can get for sure next time (and they can block pocket and can set up nice positional play). i.e. missing hard shots isn't that bad (also note softer hit often = more chance of ball dropping.
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Old 03-18-2011, 02:05 PM   #29
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Re: I'm slightly above average, where do I go from here?

also, not sure why my breaks have become so bad. does tightness of rack make huge difference? because alot of my racks are kinda wobbly
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Old 03-18-2011, 02:18 PM   #30
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Re: I'm slightly above average, where do I go from here?

Yeah, tightness of rack makes a huge difference. When I'm racking up 9 ball, I like to brace my middle, ring, and pinky fingers against the bottom of the rack and push into the rack with my thumb and index finger. When racking up a full rack, I stick my fingers into the empty space between the balls and push the balls up while pulling the rack down. (Wow, that sounded pretty S&Mish but that's the best way I could describe it.) Some youtube vids also say hitting the head ball square on 75% power is better than jacking it up to 100% and whiffing it or hitting it on the side.
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Old 03-18-2011, 02:43 PM   #31
smbruin22
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Re: I'm slightly above average, where do I go from here?

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Yeah, tightness of rack makes a huge difference. When I'm racking up 9 ball, I like to brace my middle, ring, and pinky fingers against the bottom of the rack and push into the rack with my thumb and index finger. When racking up a full rack, I stick my fingers into the empty space between the balls and push the balls up while pulling the rack down. (Wow, that sounded pretty S&Mish but that's the best way I could describe it.) Some youtube vids also say hitting the head ball square on 75% power is better than jacking it up to 100% and whiffing it or hitting it on the side.

frank, thanks........ for 9-ball, the balls go crazy on my break. 8-ball is pretty bad though (sometimes i give opponent choice of re-racking and to break or not because my break is so pathetic). i will try your advice.
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Old 03-18-2011, 06:30 PM   #32
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Re: I'm slightly above average, where do I go from here?

every table is different. you need to change placement of cue ball and speed, and where you hit the rack, depending on results and how the balls move around.
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Old 03-18-2011, 08:44 PM   #33
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Re: I'm slightly above average, where do I go from here?

with 8ball all i can suggest if start with the cue ball just off centre and hit the head ball full on in the face, no spin. if you get it right the cue ball should stay around the middle spot and should split the balls really nicely.
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Old 03-20-2011, 12:11 AM   #34
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Re: I'm slightly above average, where do I go from here?

thanks guys for the "breaking" tips. they really helped.

had some more aiming breakthru's today. basically staying alot higher. for some reason, i had thought years ago that getting really low is best. also, hitting shots as softly as is prudent is working really well too.
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Old 03-24-2011, 10:57 AM   #35
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Re: I'm slightly above average, where do I go from here?

went back to tiny table with huge pockets from a pretty tough table. wow, was it ever easy.... i mean, not reflective of anything, but it felt good.

here's a common situation i get into. the last 6 balls should be reasonable to run. not incredibly simple where most are in front of pockets, but let's say none are tight to a rail nor are they a high scratch risk...........

is there some sort of algorithm or heuristic for running the table? i try to save the easiest balls if i have reasonable shot on more challenging ball. invariably though, i end up with the cue ball at one end of the table and the object ball way down the table near the other end cushion. and of course, i like to avoid long shots completely unless object ball is right over pocket.

anyway, thanks in advance!. sorry if i shouldn't have turned this thread into intermediate poker strategy thread.
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Old 03-25-2011, 10:44 AM   #36
Wamy Einehouse
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Re: I'm slightly above average, where do I go from here?

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went back to tiny table with huge pockets from a pretty tough table. wow, was it ever easy.... i mean, not reflective of anything, but it felt good.

here's a common situation i get into. the last 6 balls should be reasonable to run. not incredibly simple where most are in front of pockets, but let's say none are tight to a rail nor are they a high scratch risk...........

is there some sort of algorithm or heuristic for running the table? i try to save the easiest balls if i have reasonable shot on more challenging ball. invariably though, i end up with the cue ball at one end of the table and the object ball way down the table near the other end cushion. and of course, i like to avoid long shots completely unless object ball is right over pocket.

anyway, thanks in advance!. sorry if i shouldn't have turned this thread into intermediate poker strategy thread.
Next problem of the week I'll try and do a problem that addresses some concepts you should be thinking about in these spots.
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Old 03-25-2011, 03:56 PM   #37
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Re: I'm slightly above average, where do I go from here?

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Next problem of the week I'll try and do a problem that addresses some concepts you should be thinking about in these spots.
Wamy, thanks very much!
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Old 03-26-2011, 09:44 PM   #38
Odds Bodkins
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Re: I'm slightly above average, where do I go from here?

Buy Byrne's Standard Book of Pool and Billiards. Go to the cheapest pool hall you can find, and practice the techniques in the book. The stuff about playing under pressure is helpful eventually, but until you've got a systematic understanding of position, english, geometry, etc., you shouldn't be gambling as your primary means of learning the game.
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Old 03-27-2011, 01:27 AM   #39
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Re: I'm slightly above average, where do I go from here?

play on 9 footers, not bar boxes...they take 0 skill
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Old 03-27-2011, 11:35 AM   #40
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Re: I'm slightly above average, where do I go from here?

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play on 9 footers, not bar boxes...they take 0 skill
Better yet, if you can find a place with a snooker table, play on that once in a while. My shotmaking has always been consistently worse than my position play, but it got much, much better when I was traveling overseas and spent some time on snooker tables, which are 12x6, with tighter pockets. When you go back to a 9x4.5 table, you won't believe how much better your shotmaking will be.
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Old 03-27-2011, 09:24 PM   #41
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Re: I'm slightly above average, where do I go from here?

practice makes perfect etc obv. But u have to play with someone better than u to accelerate your learning.
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Old 03-28-2011, 08:53 PM   #42
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Re: I'm slightly above average, where do I go from here?

I think I'm going pool crazy. I'd try to visit a pool hall as often as I can and 3 or so hours would fly by before I realize the the time. When I'm not playing, I'd often be watching videos on youtube. Sometimes, I catch myself wiggling my hands into various bridges and visualizing shots. Last night, I pulled an all nighter to finish a paper. Handed it in this morning, went through a day of classes, went through an appointment with a professor, and after no sleep for maybe 36 hours, I said "screw it, I'm going to a poolhall." I was so tired I could barely see straight yet I insisted on shooting for 2 hours. I finally conceded defeat when I realized I'm losing balance when I stand and close to falling over when I get into crouch.

However, pulled off THE sickest straight pool break off shot. Hit the left wing ball and it only loosened the left and right wing balls from the pack. The other 13 balls look as if they were completely racked. The 2 wing balls rolled over the corner pockets and the cueball ended up past the balk line in the right corner. I looked at the pack every way I could and couldn't devise a method to pot one of the balls and split the pack nor make a plant shot into the pack. Also, getting closer and closer to running out a full rack. It's going to happen one day.
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Old 04-21-2011, 08:53 PM   #43
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Re: I'm slightly above average, where do I go from here?

Think I had a breakthrough the past week. Two things just clicked. One, I think I significantly improved my stance. Never really understood getting the chin on the cue concept until a couple days ago. It's like a switch flipped in my head and suddenly I'm getting lower and centering the cue stick under my nose rather than under my right eye which greatly improved my accuracy and potting. And I remember I think yesterday I was in Wamy's thread whining about closed bridges. Today, I was experimenting with bridges and again, it's like someone flipped a switch and I just "got it." Something about the configuration and positioning of the fingers. I suddenly learned how to control how tight and loose I want my bridge to be. Been breaking and shooting long range shots better. I still prefer the open bridge but now I use the close bridge for breaking, applying extreme backspin, certain long range shots, and certain shots frozen on the rail.

My positioning and cue ball control is gradually improving. I find that I use draw a lot, much more than the pros do on TV. Maybe it's because I still can't quite wrap my head around the idea of the cueball suddenly changing direction and rolling backwards. I think drawing is the coolest thing ever.

Also, ran 8 balls in 14.1. That counts as running half the rack right? And in 9 and 10 ball, I'm starting to be able to run out with 5 or 6 balls left on the table. There's a couple cue ball on a string moments I'm quite happy about.
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Old 04-22-2011, 03:12 AM   #44
Wamy Einehouse
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Re: I'm slightly above average, where do I go from here?

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My positioning and cue ball control is gradually improving. I find that I use draw a lot, much more than the pros do on TV. Maybe it's because I still can't quite wrap my head around the idea of the cueball suddenly changing direction and rolling backwards. I think drawing is the coolest thing ever.
fwiw I did this for YEARS before I started just using exactly what was needed in each shot. Draw is very cool lol.
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Old 04-22-2011, 06:59 PM   #45
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Thumbs up Re: I'm slightly above average, where do I go from here?

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Sometimes, I catch myself wiggling my hands into various bridges and visualizing shots.
I love it. I had that happen to me when I started playing pool. I started playing competitively when I was about 13 and I would sit in class daydreaming about pool and making bridges with my hands. I remember on a few occasions where pool would be so on my mind that I couldn't sleep at night, so i'd grab my cue and practice my stroke in front of a mirror till 3 am. Great extremely addictive game!
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Old 04-23-2011, 12:42 AM   #46
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Re: I'm slightly above average, where do I go from here?

I used to and still sometimes do that with air guitaring. I'd "practice" during every day life by moving and wiggling my left hand around as if I'm playing a song. According to some psychological studies, visualization is almost as good as actual practice. When you're visualizing or going through the air motions of playing an instrument, shooting pool, taking a basketball shot, etc, it stimulates the same parts of your brain that gets stimulated when you're playing or practicing for real. So yeah, visualization is good.
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Old 05-10-2011, 05:42 PM   #47
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Re: I'm slightly above average, where do I go from here?

Well, time to raise this thread back from the dead for a little bit.

So after class (visiting arts museum) this afternoon, I had a buttload of spare time and the museum was near a pool hall. It's not my regular hall (yep, found a regular place a couple months back) but it's very close to the museum and it has 2 snooker tables. I tried snooker for the first time ever in my life. It felt like the first month of me playing Counter Strike 1.6. I found it extremely fun and extremely infuriating at the same time, mainly because there's a much smaller margin of error than pool on a 9x5 table and I pretty much had to forget everything (what little there is) I knew about bank shots. I learned the hard way why pro snooker players rarely bank or would choose to use the rest or spider instead of shooting behind the back. Putting draw on the cue ball was a bit tougher but I soon got the hang of it. The long pots weren't as hard as I thought; I sank several that I'm quite proud of.

Highest break: 18. Ran out the blue, pink, and black. My highest number of balls sunk in a row was 4. Had a couple 11-16 breaks. Two most memorable ones was the 11 break where I made a routine red in the bottom corner and left myself with only the yellow on its spot to shoot at from the across the table. Sank the yellow and made another long red then made a standard black, and missed a red frozen on the rail. On one of my 16 breaks, I felt like I was pro. Sank a red using follow for perfect position on the black. Sank the black and used draw for perfect position on another red. Stunned it and got back on the black. Sank the black while driving the cue ball into the pack and sadly, nothing was potable for me after that.
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Old 05-12-2011, 04:14 PM   #48
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Re: I'm slightly above average, where do I go from here?

Hey Frank,
First of all, sorry for my poor english. I usually speak french and arabic...
You know, when I read your posts, I see myself a few years ago. I'm a pool passionate, I just love this game!
I stopped playing for 2 years and now I'm eager to start again.
I want to practice and play tournaments next year (starting september). You should start competing too. If you're interested to be my practice partner, let me know!
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Old 05-13-2011, 11:02 AM   #49
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Re: I'm slightly above average, where do I go from here?

I'd love to have a practice partner. Do you live in Montreal? I live very literally right outside McGill.
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Old 05-13-2011, 11:33 AM   #50
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Re: I'm slightly above average, where do I go from here?

Yes, I live in Montreal.
I usually practice at "Boul Noir", right in front of Mont-Royal metro station, but I'm open to any other suggestion.
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