BD House Pro
A longtime teaching pro at Amsterdam Billiard Club in New York City, Tony has dozens of regional and national titles to his name, including the 2004 BCA Open Championships.
Cover the Basics
Every three months, you should be checking your fundamentals. I recommend compiling a list of concepts to practice until you internalize it. However you do it, catching mistakes early is imperative to keep them from becoming habits that can snowball and jeopardize your game and career.
Just recently, I got out a slump myself. When I was in Vegas at the July BCAPL in Las Vegas, I wasn’t confident at all. And what a shame because, as soon as I got back to New York, I went through my basics and finally got out of my slump.
Here’s a simple checklist that has helped me get back on track. It’s based off my personal experiences and observations of where players tend to be lacking.
1) First things first: have your preshot routine down. Check your stance and alignment with the shot.
2) Maintain a good rhythm. You don’t want to have one stroke in one shot, then 10 in another, and back down to two. Your pace should be more or less the same.
3) Remember to stay down as you’re stroking the ball. If your body starts to move before you strike the cue ball, you will completely throw off the line of aim 100 percent of the time.
In all my years of teaching, the number one reason players fail to pocket balls with consistency is they fail to stay down on their shots. When I teach that aspect of the game, I always say “stay down.” This is because when you hear “don’t get up,” the words “get up” are in that sentence and can throw you off.
Players will easily get into comfort zones, which is why I recommend brushing up about every three months. They get into a groove pocketing everything and lose touch with the basics. Every once in a while, something will sneak in there. If you start developing that bad habit and don’t realize you’re doing it, it becomes a problem after about a month or two. And if you don’t have a checklist to go back to test yourself, that’s when it becomes even worse of a problem. I’ve seen people quit this game because they could not figure out what they were doing wrong. Once you identify the issue, practice it in isolation until it’s a breeze.
You’ve also got to have the right attitude. Your self-conscious mind will take if you let it. Have some positive lines in that checklist:
“I am the best. I am a champion.”
Remind yourself of what you are, all the hard work you put into the game and that you deserve to win despite making a few mistakes. It’s important to adopt a winning attitude to accompany your technique and good habits. That combination will make you a solid player no matter what your expertise.