Archive for June, 2009

Play Like a Machine

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

Play Like a Machine

By Ernie Reynolds

One of the things I have always struggled with in my pool game was consistency. Some days I played like a pro, while other days I missed easy shots. More than once I wished that I could “play like a machine”.

A machine doesn’t have good days and bad days. Getting yelled at at work and being in a bad mood doesn’t happen to a machine. A machine either works or it doesn’t. And when it’s working, it gives consistent results.

The following video made me think the first time I saw it. The first part shows a pool-shooting machine called Deep Green. It doesn’t miss easy shots. It doesn’t have bad days. It plays like a machine.

Because it plays like a machine, it kind of takes the fun out of the game. How much fun would it be to play an opponent who never misses?

It’s kind of like playing horseshoes with my father. My father plays horseshoes like a machine. It seems like he hardly ever misses getting a ringer on each shot, and when he does, he gets mad at himself. It’s no fun playing him.

The old saying comes to mind – “Be careful what you wish for because you just might get it.” If I played pool as well as that machine, how much fun would it be to play a game with me?

I have run into this type of thing before. If I am having a particularly good night on the pool table at the local bar and have beat all comers, no one wants to play me any more. I can’t buy a game.

If I played in tournaments often this might be a good thing. However, I usually only play for fun and never for money. I enjoy the game too much to turn it into a semi-job.

So, I guess I’m like the typical human being. I want something, and when I get it, I decide I didn’t really want it in the first place. I want what I had before. Screwy logic huh?

Anyways, even though this pool-playing machine kind of weirded me out, I can admire it for what it is and appreciate the builder’s ability to produce it. It’s just a really neat toy.

The second part of the video shows what is called “augmented reality” pool. The lines on the table show you where the object and cue balls will go depending on your aim on the shot. This looks remarkably like some of those online pool games you can find on the web.

This system would be a tremendous help in learning banks and angles on the pool table. A few months with this baby and I think anyone would have a much better eye for making cut and bank shots. It really lays out the shot nicely for you.

I would be interested to hear what other people think about this video. Leave a comment and tell me what you think.


Never Forget The Basics

Monday, June 15th, 2009

Never Forget The Basics

By Ernie Reynolds

Friday night at the pool hall….

I was taking a little time to practice before my brother, the opponent, got there. As I was hitting the balls around, I found myself missing some fairly easy shots, especially long, table-length cut shots. When I finally thought about why this was happening, the mental training kicked in – get back to the basics.

For more info, visit my websites…
Pool For Beginners
Pool and Pocket Billiards Resource

I mentally replayed the last few shots and realized that I wasn’t paying close enough attention to the cue ball hit. Also, my stroke wasn’t a smooth follow-through. Smarten up buddy.

So, I started really concentrating on hitting the cue ball correctly. I made sure that the cue tip was contacting the cue ball exactly in the center of the ball for no-english shots, and I paid strict attention to how and where I was hitting the cue for any shots with english on them.

I made sure that my stroke was smooth and straight, and I followed right through the cue ball with the cue tip. Doing this is especially helpful for making those long, table-length shots.

As I continued practicing, the balls started falling much more cleanly and easily. Just a couple minor tweaks like these can make a huge difference in how you are playing on any given day.

My brother finally showed up and we started playing our usual 8 ball. I played pretty well and was winning most of the games. Eventually I started hearing, “J**** C*****, you’re killing me here!” Ah, music to my ears. 8^)

For many of us, the knowledge on how to aim and sink the balls has been acquired long ago. We know how to shoot. We just have to remember to use the basics to consistently play up to our potential.

For me, it’s important to hit the cue ball absolutely correctly and make sure I’m using a smooth stroke and follow-through. For you, it may be some other basic item that messes with your shot-making.

When you find yourself missing or nearly missing shots on the pool table that you should be making almost with your eyes closed, take a moment to check your basic stroke and aiming techniques. There’s a good chance you’ll find something slightly out of alignment somewhere.

And, if you haven’t yet gotten to the point where you know you know (yes I meant to write it like that) how to make the shots, keep practicing! Practice those basics until you are seeing the shots in your sleep.

Then you will KNOW that you can make just about any shot on the table, and all you have to worry about is not forgetting those pool-shooting basics.

Billiard Tips on Your Basic Shot

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

Billiard Tips on Your Basic Shot

Billiard Tips on Your Basic Shot

By Matthew Frost

Today I have some great billiard tips on the various shots in billiards. Each shot when used at the appropriate time, can be used aggressively to attack or in defense. The better you get at performing each of the shots, will make your next shots following your shot, very easy to execute. Remember the game is won and lost by the positioning of the cue ball (white ball).

For more info, visit my websites…
Pool For Beginners
Pool and Pocket Billiards Resource

Each of your shots once mastered, are an excellent weapon to set you up for the next shot.

Stop Shot
This is where your cue-ball once executed, comes to a complete stop after contact with another ball. The technique used to execute this shot varies on the distance traveled by the cue-ball. For example, if the cue-ball is 1 foot away from the target ball then striking the cue-exactly center on the ball is necessary. The longer the distance between the cue-ball and the target shot, the more power is needed to perform the shot. Also you will need to hit the cue-ball one cue-tip below the center of the cue-ball. Remember to keep your cue as parallel as you can to the table, even when you are hitting lower on the cue-ball. At point of contact, there should not be any forward or back spin on the cue-ball.

Billiard Tips for the Draw Shot
This is where your cue-ball draws backwards after point of contact with the targeted ball. This shot requires a certain amount of backspin, depending on the distance between the cue-ball and targeted ball. Also how far you would like the cue-ball to come back contributes to the amount of power in your shot.

The distance between the cue- ball and targeted ball determines where you make contact on the cue-ball. A close shot, requires only one cue-tip lower than the centre strike zone on the cue-ball. For longer shots, the maximum of one and a half cue-tips below ‘centre strike zone’ on the cue-ball is required. Knowing what works for you comes with practice. So absorb the information and find your range. Once again, remember to keep your cue as level as possible.

Follow Shot
This is where the cue-ball follows the motion of the contact ball. For the cue-ball to follow the contact ball, it will require some top spin. Once again, the distance you want it to travel after contact of the target ball, will determine the power and strike zone. The maximum height from the centre of the cue-ball is one and a half cue-tips. Anymore will increase chance of a miscue. This is perhaps the easiest of the strokes and does not require as much skill, but definitely enough practice to get your range for power and level of top-spin required. Generally the cue-ball does not require as much force on it compared to the other shots, so it can be executed with a lot less power.

Billiard Tips for the Cut Shot
This shot will be your most frequent shot in the game, so it is important to understand and to master. Knowing what angles to hit, what the maximum angled shot to take, choosing alternative shots (safety shots etc.), and how to easily pocket balls that are on the rail (can be easier than shots that aren’t on the rail).

With this in mind, a shot with an angle greater than 70 degrees should not be attempted, the level of difficulty is too high and more power is required to pull this shot off. The problem with this is you lose control of the cue-ball. Remember you execute a shot, with the next shot in mind. Placing the cue-ball where you want for an easy following shot. So, striking the ball on an angle with a lot of power is not a smart strategy. This shot can ONLY be performed if it is very close to the pocket because a lot of power is not required, thus controlling the cue-ball.

Cut Shots On The Rail
These shots are a lot easier than people interpret, with the right knowledge. Understanding how to execute the cue-ball and where to aim (with practice) is all you need to master this shot. If it is a near straight shot up to an angle of 45 degrees, the shot must be executed by aiming to hit the rail just before you make contact with the target ball. With angles greater than 45 degrees, you still aim to hit the rail just before the target ball. The difference is you have to apply what they call ‘English’ (spin). Don’t be freaked out. It becomes very easier with practice. All this is, is a level of spin (side spin… left English is left side spin… right English is right side spin). At an angle of 90 degrees, a higher level of side spin is required off the rail than angle less than 90 degrees. Check out the video tutorials.

I hope you have really enjoyed these Billiard Tips on the various shots in billiards. If I have missed anything you think is useful, please let me know. If you loved this article and would like to know more or see video demonstrations on these lessons and much more, please visit

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