I talk a lot about consistency and repetitiveness because pool is, to a large degree, about doing the same thing over and over ó and thatís addressing the next shot. The preshot routine needs to be just that, a routine. The benefit to preparing for the next shot the same way every time is that it removes distractions and inconsistencies that only add to the difficulty of that next shot. Keep these tips in mind when you play. Your attention and focus during that time between shots should be directed entirely on the shot.
First, stick to your plan. The key to approaching a shot efficiently is to make up your mind. Players often think one thing (ďIím going to hit this shot medium speed with high, left EnglishĒ), only to completely change course after they are down over the shot. I know because Iíve done that in the past. All of a sudden you start questioning your original decision. If you question yourself at this point, you are sabotaging the shot because you arenít trusting your abilities. Again, I know this from experience.
How should you approach the shot? You have to say to yourself, ďHey, even if this shot doesnít go where I want it to go, Iím going to hit it here. That way, if I donít get the result I want, I will know how to make the adjustment.Ē Itís part of the process of building trust in your decisions. If you switch plans after youíre down on the shot and you donít get the result you wanted, you wonít really know how to adjust.
In fact, at this point you need to learn to accept the possibility of failure. And then you must learn to analyze your adjustment.
Another key is to take your time. Step into the shot. Donít come at it from the side. Donít just walk over to your next shot. Circle around in front of the shot and walk directly toward it. Fight the tendency to rush. Thatís hard to do when you feel like you are in stroke and shooting balls in rapid-fire. As soon as you become too comfortable, you will almost certainly cut a corner somewhere in your preshot routine and it will cost you.
Take the time to step back. Line up your body with the shot. Youíll avoid the tendency to have any side-to-side faults as youíre stroking the ball. If you fail to line up properly with the shot, your body has a tendency to overcompensate, especially if you are stroking the ball with power.
Finally, pick up the chalk. Itís a great move. One of my former coaches told me to always pick up the chalk. Chalk up for five or 10 seconds on every shot. That time forces you to slow down, reset your focus and think about your plan going forward. Make it a habit.
As a bonus, chalking up will help you avoid unneccesary miscues.