Posts Tagged ‘Balls’

Do You Play Pool With Intuition?

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

Do You Play Pool With Intuition?

By Ernie Reynolds

How many times have you just missed a shot and said to yourself “I should have aimed where I started to instead of moving my aim a little”? How often have you questioned the choice of shot you took when you became stuck without a leave?

Do you ever get this little urge in the back of your mind that says “shoot this ball” when your conscious mind thinks that might not be the right shot to take? How about when you make that near-miraculous shot that looked almost impossible because you could just “see it” and felt you might make it?

I believe all these things are your built-in intuition working for you.

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

In my studies of mental philosophies and the workings of the mind, I have often seen the phrase “quiet the mind”. This basically means to take a mental step back and internally observe the thousands of thoughts that run through our minds constantly. This mental “watcher” can then observe a moment of quiet and solitude while the conscious mind continues to rattle on with random thoughts.

When we become aware of this quiet state we can filter out some of the extraneous, non-helpful thoughts and pick out the thoughts and ideas that can do us some real good. It is my belief that it is these helpful thoughts that make up at least a part of our intuition.

I find that when I am really in the zone and concentrating on the pool game at hand, my intuition sends the ideas much more readily to my conscious mind. It’s not like someone is talking in my ear loud and clear, but it just seems like I am more aware of the urges to shoot a certain shot or put some english on the cue ball in such a way as to have a better leave for my next ball.

It’s a subtle thing, but definitely there if you watch for it.

I feel it most strongly just after breaking a rack. As I am studying the layout of the balls and trying to decide how best to play them, I often get the urge to shoot a certain ball to start the run.

This ball may not be the one I would consciously choose to start with, but I find that if I go with my gut feeling, things often work out on the table. My second, third, or even fourth shot may not be readily apparent at first, but as the game progresses, the shots often keep coming and I can either run or nearly run the table.

A habit I picked up years ago, which I still use today, is to take a deep breath or two and mentally tell myself to “relax”. Especially if you are playing a tough opponent or are behind in a match, the few seconds it takes to do this can pay huge dividends.

I sometimes use the phrase “relax and win” with a deep breath or two. It’s amazing how often I have seen opponents miss easy shots after doing this.

By taking a deep breath and mentally relaxing, you are helping reduce any nervousness you may be feeling. This also helps to quiet the mind and open the way for your intuition to send you some advantageous thoughts and ideas for gaining the advantage and winning the game.

So, I challenge you to become aware and play pool with intuition the next few times you play. Take the plunge and follow the urges when and if they come. You may be pleasantly surprised.

Yep, It’s About The Most Fun I Have With My Pants On

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

Yep, It’s About The Most Fun I Have With My Pants On

By Ernie Reynolds

“You’re killin’ me here!”

“Don’t mind me, I’m just here to rack for you.”

“*&%^%#^%%$*&*&%#!!!” (Cursing and banging pool cue on table)

LOL. I love hearing that stuff. It’s music to my ears. It tells me I’m doing something right.

The above are some of my brother’s comments when I’m having a good night on the pool table at our weekly 8-ball sessions. I just smile and nod my head so he’ll keep playing with me. It’s not as much fun playing pool alone. 8^)

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

Playing pool really is one of my favorite things to do. I go down to the pool hall and meet my brother, have a few pops and bang the balls around, laughing all the while. I have several hobbies, but this one is probably the most fun.

One of my favorite games the other night had my opponent ahead four balls to none. He shot the eight ball, but left it hanging at the corner pocket. Here I am, four balls to put in, and if I miss, game over.

I sank three of my balls and came up with a terrible leave for my fourth. All I can do is play a long bank and hope for the best. Bang, I hit the shot and the ball goes in the far corner pocket like it had eyes. The cue stops about eighteen inches from the eight ball.

I hear “AARRRGGGGHHH!!! DAMN!” My brother’s at it again. All I can do is laugh.

A quick tap and the eight ball goes in. I’m loving it. Why this is so much fun I don’t know, but it sure is.

Maybe it’s the look on my brother’s face. He doesn’t like to lose, especially when he thought he had me.

We don’t play for anything, so it’s not a question of money or a free drink or anything like that. The pool is free, so the loser doesn’t have to put quarters in.

I guess it’s just fun to win, period. Playing pool is always enjoyable, but when you win, that’s just the icing on the cake.

My brother and I play because we both like pool and enjoy each other’s company. But, when I can zing him with a good finish and steal the game he thought he had sewn up, that just makes my night.

I am not overly competitive. I don’t usually play in tournaments or in the weekly pool league, but I do like to win. I won’t cheat or play dirty. I rarely play a safe, and as long as there is some possibility of a shot, I will go for it.

I think deep down you sort of play yourself in this game. When I make an exceptional shot that I didn’t think would go, even when I am practicing by myself, I still get a child-like thrill at making it. An automatic smile comes to my face.

I got in the habit of going out after work on Friday nights to play pool when I was very young. Unless I’m away on vacation somewhere or a very special occasion comes up, I rarely miss those Friday night sessions. You can always find a pool game somewhere.

It’s such a simple thing to shoot a pool ball into a hole in the table with a cue stick. It’s not necessarily a simple thing to put them in one after the other consistently, but it is always an enjoyable thing to me when it happens.

I am always amazed at how much joy this simple game gives me. As the headline says, it really is some of the most fun I have with my pants on.

Position Play Is Absolutely Key

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

Position Play Is Absolutely Key

By Ernie Reynolds

If you are an experienced pool player you can usually hit the balls in pretty well. Occasionally you pull off a great shot that can really get you out of a tough spot. Some outrageous cut shot or maybe a “that-looks-impossible” bank shot can really save your bacon. The frustrated look on your opponent’s face is just an added benefit when you make one of these shots. 8^)

However, I and many others have come to the definite conclusion that to really be successful in winning pool games, you gotta play position. Nothing else I have seen can give you the tremendous advantage that a well-placed cue ball leave can. If you play position well, most of your shots are easy.

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

Just think about it. When you lose your shot, what is the usual reason? For me, it’s because I got lousy position for my next shot and have to try something very difficult or maybe even next to impossible. The cue might be stuck behind another ball or maybe it’s on the rail way at the other end of the table from where I want it to be. I didn’t get good position from the previous shot.

Now of course I miss some simple shots occasionally because I’m human and I don’t always remember to use the basics all the time. My concentration wanders or I may be distracted by the cute girls at the next table over. Some days we just don’t play as well as we are capable. It happens.

But I’ll tell you, when my position play is right on, I am one tough cookie to beat on the pool table. The game becomes almost effortless when you can place that cue ball right where you want it for the next shot.

Ever notice how some racks seem to be set up just right for a long run of balls? You break the rack and continue shooting and the next thing you know you are shooting for the eight ball. It’s a beautiful thing.

Well, many games can be like that when you finally get into the position play habit. Make it a point right from the start to read the layout of the table and visualize how and in what order you will sink your remaining balls on the table. You may have heard it said that you should plan your next three shots before shooting. It’s good advice.

One challenge I have with position play is when there are clusters of balls on the table. I have a bad habit of running the table without breaking up the balls in a cluster and then I end up with an impossible shot to make before the eight ball. Not only is this frustrating, but it clears the table for your opponent to make all of his balls and win on you.

It is very important to break up those clusters before you get down to your last ball. As you are shooting your first balls, try to work the cue ball rebound into the cluster and break up the frozen balls. You will thank yourself later when you don’t have to waste a shot because of a ball that is frozen in a cluster.

As my pool game has matured, I have tried to put much more effort into playing position. It really does result in much easier shots in general, and I find myself stuck without a shot a lot less. It’s great to be able to make the tough shots when you have to. But, if you don’t have to, all the better.

The bottom line – Position play will win you more pool games.

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.