When you play a lot of pool you will notice that there are pointers that people commonly give, but rarely offer an explanation. They are usually common mistakes that people make, but there is little information on how to fix it. I am going to try to clear the air on the three that I hear most commonly.

1. Your alignment is off.
Well meaning people will often say this to you after you miss a ball, but will usually never tell you how to align correctly. After working with various people on my own alignment I have come up with a checklist for proper alignment. This will not help you aim, but it will get your body lined up to whatever aim point you choose. First, you find the line from the cueball to your aim point. Then you step your back foot on that line. Now set your cue on the line as well. Finally, your wrist, elbow and dominant eye should fall directly over the cue (which is directly over the line of the shot). Voila! Consider yourself aligned. (If you are wondering how to determine your dominant eye, check here http://www.usaeyes.org/lasik/lasik-monovision-dominant-eye.htm.)

2. Your timing was off.
You will usually hear this one after you break and only 2 balls make it to the rail. I heard this from just about everyone who ever saw me break, but only one person really described it to me. That's a good thing because the next person who said it was going to get brained with my cue. Your timing is the moment you transition your weight forward during the break. If everything is not synchronized you won't be able to generate any power. How to fix that? You have to have an initiation point that lets your body know its time to act. My initiation point is to bend my knees. As I pull my cue back for the final delivery I slowly bend my knees. This allows me to build up tension in my body and explode through my legs as I drive the cue and my body forward.

3. You jumped up.
Many people will tell you that you missed a shot because you jumped up. I don't really agree with this. I think people jump up when they know they aren't aligned or aimed properly. Usually jumping up is a result of your body telling you that something about the shot is wrong. If you're down on a shot and something doesn't feel right, make sure you get up and start over. It's so easy to say and yet oh so hard to do.

Hopefully my explanations helped clarify these common pool pointers, and gave you plenty to work on in practice!