What is it that separates the professional player from the amateur player? Consistency!
So how do we develop that level of consistency in our game? Well, we simply do what the professionals do, we work on our Pre-Shot Routine. The Pre-Shot Routine is like learning to do any task, at first you have to go through all the steps and it seems very tedious and slow. However, once you have repeated these steps enough times it becomes so ingrained in your body and mind that you don’t even have to think about what you are doing, leaving you free to focus completely on executing the shot in front of you.
The Pre-shot Routine:
1. Survey the table:
A Good Basic Pre-Shot Routine:
Step to the table and have a look around, Identify what your goals are to win this game. Make a choice and commit to the shot 100%
2. Chalk up:
This may sound like an unimportant part of the routine, but believe me, it is VERY important. Chalking your cue not only prevents you from mis-cueing it also acts as a trigger mechanism that tells your brain “this is the beginning of our routine, get ready to execute”.
3. Step into the line of the shot:
At this point you have chosen the line you wish to aim down to make the object ball. Practice getting into your stance so that your head and cue are in this line.
4. Double Check:
Before we take any practice strokes, take a quick look down the line we have chosen to aim. Ask yourself “am I going to make the shot” if this answer is no, get up and start over. If this answer is yes proceed to step 5.
5. Practice strokes:
Now that you know you are lined up properly it is time to take a few warm up strokes. These strokes are meant to be an emulation of what the final execution will be. I like to take at least three warm up strokes (take as many as you prefer) once you have reached that designated amount, STOP, take a quick look and make sure you are still happy with the aim line and be sure your tip is going to hit the cue ball where you have chosen.
6. Pull the trigger:
Once we are confident we are still in line, bring the cue back slowly and accelerate through the cue ball making sure to follow through.
Remember you can add as many things to your Pre-Shot Routine as you like, just make sure that whatever you add or take away stays consistent throughout. This will seem tedious and clunky at first, but trust me it will become second nature in no time.
• Survey & Select Options (making sure to commit to the shot)
• Chalk up!
• Step into the line of the shot
• Double Check that line of aim
• Warmup Strokes (don’t forget to double check that aim again)
• Pull the trigger
If you are serious about improving your consistency the pre shot routine is a great place to start.