: Samm Diep
Tried and True (Tip 2 of 2)
Last month we learned about the SET position and I hope by now you've had the opportunity to try it out and become acquainted with it. This month, I promised to provide you with Tip #2 of Tried and True techniques. As I mentioned last month, you will see dramatic improvements from both of these tips. They may seem simple but the results are significant.
Tip #2 - Slow down the final backstroke
Have you ever noticed that player with the super speedy warm up strokes? His arm is going back and forth so quickly it looks like a piston. This player thinks they're playing loose and keeping a good rhythm, but the one key element they're missing out on is control. It's very difficult to have control and precision when your cue stick is being whipped back and forth at mach speed. At that rate, the rapid back and forth becomes one continuous, and sometimes jerky, motion.
If I handed you a slingshot, how accurate would you be if you just swiftly pull the pocket back and let it go right away? You probably wouldn't get as close to your target as if you were to aim, deliberately pull the pocket straight back, aim again, and then release. The same theory applies to your pool stroke. If you recklessly flail your arm back without care or intent, how precise can you truly expect to be?
Having a slow, smooth final backstroke = having more control when you shoot.
Some benefits to slowing down the final stroke:
1. You can ensure the direction of your backstroke is coming straight back without any hook or slice. In your final backstroke think, "Slow, smooth, controlled."
2. When you keep it slow, it gives you plenty of time to correct any errors you may notice in when you pull back. When the back and forth happen too quickly, it's much more difficult to catch yourself if you happen to notice your arm has veered off the intended path.
3. When you control that stroke, you can better control the firmness of the hit on the cue ball. This allows you to manage the speed in which you want the cue ball to travel. This is particularly important for delicate, finesse shots where you need the cue ball to land in a specific area.
4. When you stay smooth and controlled, it's just one more way to reinforce the rest of the good habits. It helps keep your grip relaxed, your elbow up, and your head down.
Under pressure situations, it's very easy to get excited and do all the things you're not supposed to. If you don't remember anything else, try to remind yourself of these two tips. They are tried and true from me to you. Remember, Tip #1: SET up to the cue ball and dial in on your aiming point. Tip #2: Focus on slowing down that final back stroke before following through. Incorporate these two things into your pool game and notice how quickly your consistency improves.