Archive for September, 2009

Concentrate On Cue Ball Positioning

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

Concentrate On Cue Ball Positioning

By Ernie Reynolds

After you’ve played pool a while, you advance beyond the beginner stage. You get your stroke pretty well established and working smoothly. You know how to hit the balls and aim. In other words, you know your way around the pool table a little better.

This is the time when you should start to work on your cue ball positioning. No matter what game you play, you always want to leave the cue ball in a good position for your next shot. If you get stuck behind a ball or down on the wrong side of the table, there’s a good chance that you will miss your next shot and have to give up your turn.

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

If you want to win pool games, this is one of the worst thing that can happen. If you don’t maintain control of the table and keep shooting, your opponent will, and he will do his best to run out his balls and win the game.

By taking control of your cue ball positioning, you can greatly increase the likelihood of having good position for your next shot, and therefore have a much better chance of running the table for the win. If you want to improve your pool-shooting skills and win more games you simply have to play better position pool.

Besides making a conscious effort to control the cue ball during games, you should practice with this goal in mind. I like to recreate tough shots I had from previous games, and try to figure out what I should have done differently, to get myself out of trouble. This is a great way to raise your skill level.

Next time you practice, setup a shot on the table and try to make the cue ball travel to a certain spot after taking the shot. Keep trying the same shot, but pick different spots or sections of the table to leave the cue ball. When you can leave the cue ball in the approximate area you picked before the shot fairly consistently, you are making real progress.

This is where your follow, draw, and english skills will really get polished. You will have to use all of them in different shots to get the cue ball position you desire. Don’t forget that how hard you hit the cue ball will also have a major affect on where it ends up on the table.

After you get this working fairly well, try putting some extra balls on the table like you would have during a real game. This forces you to not only attempt to get the cue ball to a certain part of the table, but also to avoid any of the balls that are in the way.

I don’t remember where I first heard the term, but this could certainly be called “scientific practicing”. Anyone can just knock the balls around and call it practicing. If you make the effort to make things a little harder for yourself and work at the game with certain goals in mind, I believe you will get much more out of your practice time, and will get to be a high-level shooter a lot faster.

Make a Conscious Intention to Play Better Pool

Monday, September 14th, 2009

Make a Conscious Intention to Play Better Pool

By Ernie Reynolds

I firmly believe that pool is a very mental game. If you have the right attitude and state of mind, you will definitely play better.

Being a student of metaphysics and spirituality, I decided to try a little experiment for my usual Friday night pool session with my brother. We are pretty closely matched in terms of pool-shooting ability. I wanted to see if I could mentally cause myself to shoot better than him for a session.

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

Knowing that the mind is most susceptible to suggestion when first waking in the morning, before I got up I told myself that I intended to shoot excellent pool that night and win most of the pool games. I did this several times and mentally pictured myself winning most of the matches. It only took a minute or two and then I forgot about it and went about my day.

I got to the pool hall before my brother Friday night and proceeded to warm up by shooting some balls in. I got the urge to shoot bank shots and only shot those for a while. To my amazement, many of the banks were actually going in. I was making many more successful bank shots than normal, and I was doing so nearly effortlessly.

When my brother arrived and we were playing our usual 8-ball games, I began winning most of the games. Not only was I playing pretty well, but my brother seemed to be missing some easy shots and leaving me nice, easy leaves. I wasn’t trying any harder than normal, but I was winning more games. And, I was having more fun because I was winning.

It was kind of spooky to see how the games were turning out. Needless to say my brother wasn’t too happy about how the evening was progressing, and I didn’t tell him of my intentions from the morning. I just kept winning most of the games.

Naturally I intend to keep using this mental ability to win more pool games in the future. I don’t understand all the reasons why this conscious intention-making works, but I do know that it does, and it has worked in other areas of my life as well. It is a very quick and painless thing to do, but it can really work wonders in your life.

I challenge all pool players to try this conscious intention-making to improve their pool-playing. It certainly can’t hurt, and may instead have a very noticeable positive effect on the amount of games you win.

When you wake up on a day that you know you will be playing pool, take a minute or two to mentally intend to play excellent pool and win more games on that day. Mentally picture yourself making great shots and winning a lot of games. Do this with some seriousness and believe that it will happen. And then forget about it.

That day or night when you play your pool games, take mental note of how you are playing, and see if your abilities have improved any. I’ll be willing to bet that your playing will have gone up a notch or two.

I’d be very interested to learn if this conscious intending has a similar effect on other players. Leave a comment on the blog if you found this technique to be of use, or just some woo-woo hocus pocus. I’d appreciate it.

Pool-Playing Dog

Saturday, September 12th, 2009

Pool-Playing Dog

By Ernie Reynolds

I’ve seen it all now – A pool-playing dog! No, he doesn’t use a pool cue. But, since he’s a dog, I think we can give him a little slack on that.

How much fun would it be if you could stay home and play pool with your dog? No more trying to work around your friends’ schedules to find someone to play a few games with. Here Rover, let’s shoot a few racks!

I hope they keep his nails trimmed. Those rails could get pretty scratched up with Fido jumping up on them like that.

Have a look at the following video. It had me laughing out loud the first time I saw it. 8^)

How to Care For Your Pool Cue

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009


How to Care For Your Pool Cue

How to Care For Your Pool Cue

By Steve Didier

Now that you’ve purchased your very own pool cue, and hopefully followed some of the advice from earlier articles before doing so, you’re going to want to take care of your investment. A good cue is relatively durable and forgiving, but all cues require care and a little bit of maintenance. We’re going to be talking about wood pool cues here, graphite and fiberglass sticks are virtually bulletproof and require somewhat less care.

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

CASES. You are going to need a case in order to carry your new cue to the pool hall. I would think that would be obvious but yet I constantly see people coming in carrying their new cue in their hand. Come on now, you just spent your money and took the time picking out a pool cue that you love, but you can’t spring for some sort of case? Basic cases are vinyl or soft-sided material. These will protect your cue against minor drops and dings, but not much else. I highly recommend hard cases just because they offer so much protection. Some cases are tested by driving a car over them without damaging the cue inside! Your pool cue can take a lot of damage in your car, in your house, and even at your billiard hall so protect it as best as you can.

While we’re on the subject of transporting your cue – never leave your pool cue in your car, especially in the trunk! Wood is highly susceptible to temperature changes and to humidity, so avoid storing your billiard stick in your vehicle at all cost. The wood will expand and contract which could lead to warping, loose joints, and cracked points.

THE TIP. The tip of your pool cue (the part that hits the ball) is the most important part of the stick. You can shoot pool with a tree branch or a broom handle – or the most warped stick in the house, if the tip is solid and properly shaped you can play with it! No joking! Screw- on tips are a serious no-no, so don’t even go there. “Real” tips are glued on and come in a variety of hardness. Soft tips hold chalk better and are better for applying “English” but they wear out and mushroom quickly. Extremely hard tips last forever but need constant re-chalking. Some say they make for a more accurate shot as well. A medium hardness tip should be fine for most players. The tip must be able to hold chalk, so periodic scuffing is necessary. The roundness of the tip should be maintained with a shaper. Most players compare the roundness to that of a nickel, though some prefer the tightness of a “dime curve”. Shaping and scuffing too often will cause your tip to disappear quickly, so only shape and scuff when necessary. The sides of the tip should be even with the ferrule, not mushroomed out. Get yourself a scuffer/shaper and take care of that tip!

THE SHAFT. When you first purchased your pool cue the shaft was nice and smooth, and slid through your bridge hand ever-so-easily. That didn’t last long, did it? The sweat, oils, and dirt from your hand will gum up on your shaft very quickly, making it sticky and not so smooth. How do you prevent this, and how do you clean it up? First, you cannot do much to prevent this from happening aside from washing your hands often and keeping them clean and dry. Some people use powder, like baby powder, on their bridge hand and on the cue. A tiny amount of powder that has been thoroughly rubbed in to your hand is okay – it makes your skin softer, but powder should never be used as a lubricant. Wash your hands! Powder will cause your pool cue shaft to gum up more quickly, and powder ruins the felt on the pool table. Nothing looks worse or plays worse than clean green felt with white baby powder all over it because some idiot thought that they had to dump powder all over themselves in order to shoot better! It just ain’t so – so don’t do it. It is bad for your cue and bad for the table. Have some respect, huh?

Wiping the shaft of your pool cue down with a soft cloth in the course of play will limit the amount of crud that builds up on it. Not eating or drinking with your bridge hand is a good habit to get in to as well. Using a very light leather burnishing pad occasionally is a good idea. In time however, the pores in the wood of the shaft will become completely crammed full of dirt and oils and it will need a thorough cleaning. I’m going to tell you how I do it, just remember that if you screw up you could ruin your cue. Forever. The first step is to completely wipe down the shaft (not he ferrule) with a soft cloth and some rubbing alcohol. You don’t want to soak the wood with it, use just enough to clean the wood. Continue wiping with alcohol until you don’t see dirt on the cloth. The alcohol removes the dirt and oil from the wood and opens the pores of the wood. Now you want to just let it sit and dry for several hours. Now it’s time for wax! That’s right, I said wax. You need to use 100% carnauba wax for this. Car wax is fine, as long as it is 100% carnauba wax.

Just like waxing a car, apply a coat of wax with a soft cloth or applicator and let it dry to a haze. You cannot let it dry too long, just let it sit awhile and have some patience. Once the wax has dried thoroughly you’ll want to wipe it off – and immediately start working the shaft with a leather burnishing pad (or a plain piece of thick leather if you don’t have a burnisher – which you should have anyway). Wrap the leather around the shaft and stoke it up and down as fast as you can (yes, it sounds dirty). The more you rub and the faster you rub the hotter the wax will become, which allows it to work into the pores of the wood. When you are finished you will have a beautiful, smooth shaft once again – but you’re not finished just yet! You are going to need to run through all of the steps again, except for the alcohol part. Apply more wax, let it dry, rub the heck out of it, repeat until you have at least 3-4 layers of wax thoroughly worked into the wood. Now take care of the tip and go shoot some pool!

THE BUTT. The butt of your pool cue shouldn’t need much maintenance at all. Keep it clean and wipe it down with a soft cloth during and after play. Don’t hit things with it and don’t drop (or throw) it on the floor. The joints will loosen up, the wood will crack, and parts will separate if you do. Then you’ll have to buy a whole new cue.

“Dings” in the Shaft. Nothing is more annoying than working your pool cue through your bridge and feeling little “dings” in the wood. As hard as we try to take care of our pool cues these little dents always seem to show up – as if by magic. Here is a method I learned that will remove small imperfections from your pool stick’s shaft. First, you need to wipe the shaft down with rubbing alcohol just like in the paragraph on cleaning the shaft. This will open the pores of the wood. Next, find a spot where you can place the shaft where it will not roll, and where it won’t get bumped. Lay the shaft (horizontally) down with the dings that you want to remove facing up. Now, soak a very small piece of tissue with water and roll it into a ball (think miniature spitball) and place the tissue ball directly on the indented spot on the shaft. It is important that the tissue ball not be larger than the actual indent on the shaft. Let that set until it dries completely – what happens is that the wood in that one tiny area absorbs the water from the tissue and swells, bringing that spot level with the surrounding wood. In a perfect world the “ding” will have disappeared, but what usually happens is that the “ding” becomes a small “bump” – which is fine because bumps can be worked out with a burnishing pad fairly easily. Once you have all of your “dings” up to level or slightly above level it is time to wax the shaft. Follow the instructions above for the proper method to do this. Of course another way to remove dings and dents from your pool cue would be to take it to a professional, but where’s the fun in that?

NEVER USE ABRASIVES. Ever. Period. That means no sandpaper, no scouring pads, no wet/dry paper, nothing. If it was designed to remove wood than keep it far away from your pool cue! You never want to remove a layer of wood just to make it smooth – you want to clean the existing wood to maintain the shape, balance, and feel of the cue.

Your pool cue represents an investment on your part, so keeping it clean and in good condition will make it last a lifetime – now that’s a lot of pool playing!

Written by Steve Didier
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