Posts Tagged ‘Pool Games’

Mentally “Intend” to Kick Ass on the Pool Table

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

Mentally “Intend” to Kick Ass on the Pool Table

By Ernie Reynolds

Does anyone disagree that pool is a mental game? After you’ve paid your dues and learned how to shoot, what is the biggest detriment to consistently playing your best?

Concentration, lack of attention, forgetting the basics – in other words, your MIND.

Your mind is often the biggest saboteur to winning pool games on a regular basis – at least mine is.

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

In my 40+ years of playing pool, I have made most every shot hundreds of times. I have read the books and seen the videos. I know how to shoot. Then why can’t I do as well one day as I can the next?

I contend that the main problem is not external conditions or distractions. I have shot some of my best pool in a crowded, noisy bar with drunken people banging into my stick and TVs blaring overhead.

I have shot well with crooked pool cues and with lousy tips. Dead rails and soiled felt were the same disadvantages to my opponents as to me.

I do have my own pool cue now and I wouldn’t go back to using bar cues willingly. It certainly helps some. And yes, I do carry my own hand chalk with me.

At least in my case, neither the equipment nor the environment have that great of an impact on my ability to shoot consistent pool.

So, if the mind is the biggest culprit to causing your pool game to be inconsistent, what can you do? Is there a way to get a mental kick in the butt so you can get back on track?

“Intend” to shoot your best pool.

“Intend” to concentrate fully in the game at hand and not allow external distractions to divert your attention.

“Intend” to beat your opponent.

I have been a student of the mind for many years. I practice meditation, hypnosis, and other forms of mind control. I believe that “something else is out there” besides our everyday consciousness.

And I also believe that controlling the mind will allow me to better control my pool playing. If pool is indeed a mental game, then getting your mental facilties well in-tune with your pool game can only help, right?

When the mind is relaxed and at peace, the mental chatter and useless thoughts just sort of fade away. You are left with the ability to focus your mind on constructive ideas and enjoyable pursuits instead of wallowing in negativity.

One practice I have when playing pool is to occasionally take a deep breath and mentally tell myself to “relax” if I find that I am not playing up to par or feeling uptight or anxious. When I am behind in a pool game, I sometimes say a mental “relax and win” to myself. It’s amazing how many times my opponent will miss an easy shot or make some other mistake after doing this.

I do find, however, that the act of “intention” has the strongest effect on my pool game. If I actually intend to play my best pool, it often happens.

I play pool regularly every Friday night. When I wake up on Friday morning, before I get out of bed, I mentally “intend to kick ass on the pool table tonight.” I don’t always remember to do it, but when I do, it certainly makes a difference.

This time between being asleep and fully awake is an excellent time to make an intention, by the way. The mind is still in a suggestible state, and intentions get right into the subconscious mind and go to work. Hypnosis works in this manner by putting the subject in a suggestible state of mind.

So that’s my theory. I know it works for me and I’ll bet it will work for you as well. Try it yourself and see.

I’d like to hear some comments as to whether people think this is a crazy notion or something beneficial to use themselves.

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.

How to Play Rotation Pool Games

Friday, September 26th, 2008

by Ernie Reynolds

The term “rotation” in pool and billiards basically means that the balls in a game must be hit in numerical order, with the lowest being first and the highest numbers last. Because the American-type pool balls are usually numbered, these types of games are naturally played more in the US.
Probably the most popular rotation-style game is 9-ball. After the rack is broken, the first player to shoot begins by shooting at the 1 ball first and follows the numerical rotation upward as he continues on to his next shot. Of course, the object of 9-ball is to be the first player to sink the 9 ball.

Except for the game called strict rotation, where the balls must be pocketed in exact order, most rotation games only require the shooter to contact the next numerical ball first with the cue ball. Any other ball may be sunk, and will count towards the player’s turn and point totals.

The way this works is like so – if the player is shooting for the 1 ball, he may sink the 1 ball and continue shooting. He may also bounce the cue ball off of the 1 ball and carom it into another ball and sink that ball. A third option is to hit the one ball and combination it into another ball and sink that ball. In each case the player continues to shoot as long as he hits the current ball in rotation first with the cue ball and makes a ball afterwards.

Besides 9-ball, some other rotation games include the game actually called rotation or 61, simple rotation and 8-ball rotation.

In rotation or 61, The balls are racked in the triangle rack with the one ball at the head, the 2 and 3 balls at each corner, and the 15 ball in the center. The object of this game is to score the most points by sinking balls and scoring points based on their numbered value.

The first ball to be hit by the cue ball must be the next lowest ball in rotation, but as long as a ball goes in, the player continues to shoot. The first player to sink enough balls to score at least 61 points wins the game. Two players or two teams can play this game. Since the total points of the rack equal 120 points, if the two opponents both score 60 points simultaneously, the last player to legally pocket a ball wins the game.

In the game simple rotation, the object of the game is to sink the most balls. The balls must be hit in rotation order, but no points are given for the numerical value of the balls. The game ends when one player sinks at least 8 balls from the rack.

The game of 8-ball rotation is a combination of 8-ball and rotation. The 8 ball is placed at the center of the rack like the game of 8-ball. Each player or team has either the striped or solid balls, and these must be pocketed in their correct rotation. The player or team that sinks their balls first and then legally sinks the 8 ball first wins the game.

In strict rotation, the object is again to be the first to score 61 points, based on the numerical value of the balls. However, in this game, the next ball in the rotation must be the one pocketed. If a ball is hit into the pocket by the rotation ball and it is not the rotation ball, that ball is removed from the pocket and spotted. Since the first ball to be contacted is the one that must be pocketed, combinations and carom shots are of no use in this game.