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Difficulty Shooting To The Left Side?

Posted by : Tom Simpson

Ask The Master - I am currently trying to work myself out of a pretty deep slump after a long layoff. I have been practicing with shooting drills to improve my basics. Stroke, aiming, etc. One of the drills I have been doing a lot is long straight shots putting balls about even with the side pockets and shooting from 1 or 2 diamonds up from the foot rails into the corners. Shooting from different spots down the rail corner to corner etc. Anything I shoot to the right side of the table I get about 80-90% pocket rate. My problem is when I go to shoot to the left side of the table it drops way down to about 20%. Even straight corner to corner if I'm shooting left I'm off not by much but enough to miss the shot. I can even see myself steering the butt of the cue a little shooting to that side. I am a right handed shooter im a pretty big and tall guy 6'5 I have a pretty long and wide stance and shoot way down almost a chin dragger. But I've tried standing up more shooting to that side moving my arm closer and farther away from my body. I just can't get it


On your misses when cutting to the left, do you miss by undercutting (missing to the right of the pocket) or overcutting (missing to the left)?

The majority of my misses are missing left of the pocket. I set up where I'm aiming dead center on the pocket and I miss left (overcutting) not much ill hit the nipple or just catch the rail enough to not pocket the ball. Hope this helps

More questions:
Do this exercise and tell me what happens: Shoot the cueball straight up and down the table a bunch of times. The goal is to have your cueball come back and hit your tip.

About every 3 out of 5 shots will come back to the tip the other stray left an inch or 2 on the return. Hope these help . I can't figure it out myself the more I try to work through it the more frustrating it gets some times I just don't understand why I would be dead on on 1 side and just off on the other thank you for the help!

Hard to do this by email, but here are my next suggestions. I have a theory, but let's get some more data.

1. While it arguably makes a lot of sense to be a chin-dragger, my experience is that many players do not see correctly when they are all the way down. Try bringing your head up a bit – maybe 6" between chin and stick.

2. You say you can see you are steering the butt of the cue sometimes. Try shooting the trouble shots with your eyes closed. As you begin to pull the stick back to hit, gently close your eyes. Feel your arm. Stroke straight without effort. Listen for the ball to fall.

Report back to me after you work with these two ideas a bit.

Using the new stance (chin off the cue) at first it took a little getting used to but after I got more comfortable with it, it did help me see things a little better. Then I started shooting long straight normal shots with the cue ball typical right side results 80-90% pocket rate. Again I struggled with the left side shots so then I closed my eyes on the back swing and feeling the shot. That proved to be a little disastrous I went from being in control of the pocket or at least in the area to nowhere close.

I suspect that, since you have so much trouble when you close your eyes, you are steering the cue. It really should be almost the same with your eyes closed.

I suspect you are looking at the cueball when you hit, rather than the distant target. We pretty much find that is not a great idea.

So, (hypothesis here) if you are looking at the CB and steering your cue, your eyes are not quite in the right place relative to the stick line. You could try systematically moving your head, in small increments to see whether your accuracy of sighting & results improve with a different head position. In other words, try moving in ways that place your eyes a little more left or right than your current habit.

Hard to do this in writing. If you come to pool school, we will identify and correct whatever it is. If you send me an email at tom@poolclinics.com, I'll send you the schedule and info.