IT’S SOMETHING that players of all skill levels do, from all-time greats like Francisco Bustamante and Johnny Archer to the guy on your team who has only been playing for a few months. When things are going well, when you have a few shots go exactly as planned, you start playing a little quicker.
Professionals, who have spent hours and hours drilling a pre-shot routine that stays as consistent as possible, might shorten the amount of time spent examining a shot. The natural tendency is to keep that good feeling, so you’ll get in your stance that much more quickly.
For beginning players, playing faster might mean entire steps of a pre-shot routine are skipped. Maybe you forget to chalk your cue. Or maybe you forget to pick an exact destination for the cue ball. The changes are more egregious with less experienced players, but there basic tendency is the same.
These errors will lead to a disruption of your rhythm. If you’re rushing from shot to shot, it only makes sense that you will eventually rush your final stroke, right? Think about it: How many times have you been playing at a very high level, only to miss a simple cut shot in the side pocket? A lot of the time, you can blame yourself for losing your rhythm.
Similarly, if you fall into a slump, you may be rushing for entirely different reasons. Maybe you’re unsure of your stroke. You’re staying down, focusing on delivering a fluid stroke, but you’re missing. The loss of confidence will lead you to rush that final stroke, instead of trusting your fundamentals.
Whether you’re playing your absolute best or struggling, maintain a consistent approach to each and every shot. Drilling your pre-shot routine will keep you from becoming a streaky player who is unpredictable.
Not only that, an established routine will keep you in control in otherwise stressful situations. You’ll develop a sense of comfort in your process, so you’ll learn to trust yourself when the pressure is on.