Sunday, February 24, 2008

Practice, practice, practice

I've been very fortunate that I've had an advanced player help me practice the last few weeks. He's been incredibly helpful in not only pointing out when my fundamentals slip and in imparting new knowledge, but just doing the slog work of a personal trainer. He sets up my shots, and then endlessly resets them, so I've been able to get in some serious repetition and muscle memory. I never really thought about how much time I spend walking around the table to set up another object ball when I'm doing drills.

The only drawback is that when I'm practicing alone, I have even less patience for doing this kind of drill. So, I'm going to have to find a practice partner who is obsessed as I am and is willing to swap. Shoot for a half-hour and set for a half-hour. Having done this a few times now, I'm convinced that a half-hour of the rapid fire shooting is more effective than an hour of drills on my own. We'll see.

In league this week, I won my match. It went hill-hill because I missed an easy shot in the 2nd game, that I just shot to quickly. In the case game, I was left with the choice of a cut on the 8 with a possible scratch or a bank. Fortunately, in practice the night before I had been endlessly repeating a certain bank shot - focusing on shooting with control. This wasn't the same bank. The angle was wider, but the cut on the object ball and its distance to the rail were kind of similar. Anyway, it felt like the same principles applied - a little outside English, controlled speed, and the 8 just flowed into the pocket.

Two things were especially gratifying. One, it was great to see immediate results from my work at the practice table. That's so often not the case. And second, once I committed to the bank over the cut, I was fully committed to the shot. In my decision making process, I considered the low percentage of bank shots, but after I decided to go for it, it was the farthest thing from my mind. Now, if I can manage to do that on every single shot, imagine the possibilities.


Michael McCafferty said...

"... and the 8 just flowed into the pocket..."

It's a beautiful thing, isn't it!

poolminnow said...

It is. I love an 8-ball that zooms into the pocket, but there's something special about an 8-ball that know's how to enjoy its moment in the sun.