There are a lot of places we can look to improve our pool game, but the place where we can get the most mileage quickest is by improving our ability to hit the cue ball straight. Hitting the cue ball where we want every time is the key to making cut shots, bank shots and straight in shots.
Better equipment, good aiming systems, and other tools all help and improve your game, but spending time improving your swing and the ability to hit the cue ball where you want underlies all these tools.
Let’s look at some ways we can improve our ability to strike the cue ball where we want.
The first drill has been around forever but still works. The idea is to put the cue ball on the spot and roll it up and down the table. Try to get the cue ball to come back a balls width from your tip or less on the way back. Really serious players try to get the cue ball to stop on the spot. This drill teaches you how to find the vertical axis of the cue ball.
The key part of staying on the vertical axis is that is the only time the cue ball goes in the direction the cue stick is pointing.
Once you have developed the ability to hit the cue ball on the vertical axis, we have to learn how to point our stick at what we want. This is harder than you may imagine. Here is the first exercise to help you learn how to point your cue stick.
What we do here is line up a straight shot to the side pocket and try to get the cue ball to follow the object ball in to the pocket. Make sure the object ball is a diamond from the side pocket and you hit the cue ball on the vertical axis above the center.
You will find that your cue ball may fall off to the right or the left consistently. That means that you are doing something in your swing that causes the cue stick to point off the vertical axis when you hit the cue ball. Learn how to follow the cue ball in, and you will be pointing straight.
The next step up is pocketing a long, straight shot. Here is how to set this up.
What you want to do here is try to pocket the object ball and stop the cue ball. What you are looking for is to see if the cue ball stops dead (you were pointing straight) and is the cue ball spinning (you didn’t hit the vertical axis).
Like any craftsman, keeping your tools in tip top shape is what you do. A pool player’s tool is their swing and the ability to hit what you are aiming at. Spend some time every day maintaining your stroke and your game will improve before you know it.