A Slow Pull Back

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One of the demonstrations I do at seminars is how precise of a game pool is.  I line up a shot with a training ball, and then deliberately miss the contact point by a millimeter or so.  The amazing thing to everyone is how far the object ball misses.

Being off one millimeter on the cue ball can cause a 5 mm error at the contact point on the object ball, and a 5 inch error at the pocket! That is a pretty bad miss.

Given that we need to have an extremely precise hit on the cue ball, it always amazes me to see intermediate players frantically waving their stick at the cue ball.  The chances of them being consistently accurate are remote.

Let’s do an experiment so you can see what I am talking about.  Take a Sharpie and draw two  1 inch circles on a piece of paper side by side.  Put an x in the center of each circle.

Now what I want you to do is very rapidly move the pen up and down trying to hit the x in one of the circles.  After you have done about 25 of these, switch to the other circle and methodically bring your hand up and down trying to hit the x.

What you will find is that your circle of error is much smaller when you are deliberately trying to hit the x.

Ok, so what does this have to do with pool?  Well, the key difference between good players and not so good players is their ability to hit the cue ball more accurately!  Pocketing balls is a result of an accurate strike on the cue ball.  Hitting the cue ball with more accuracy means more balls pocketed.

Let’s do one more experiment to help you see how precisely you are hitting the cue ball.  Mark Wilson’s latest book, (“Play Great Pool”, Blue Book Publications, Minneapolis, MN, 2013), has a great description of this experiment.

Take a cue ball with a spot on it, or use a marker and make an x on a cue ball.  Now hit the cue ball up table 10 times, marking on a piece of paper how accurately you hit the cue ball.  My guess is that the better you are as a player, the smaller your error circle in hitting the cue ball!

If you are convinced that being more accurate on the cue ball will help you to become a better player, you might want to know what you can do to improve?  The focus in this article is a long, slow pull back of the cue stick to ensure accuracy.  That’s it!  Slow down your pull back and lengthen it out and you will start to hit the cue ball more precisely.