Surfing through various websites that deal with bar games and pools, you’ll find loads of tips and tricks that can help you become better at pool.
One common theme that runs through all these strategies and techniques is that to become an adept pool player, you need a lot of practice.
However, you don’t just practice for the mere sake of it; you need to do this the right way. In this guide, we’re taking a look at some of the best tips on how to get better at pools.
How to Become Better at Pools
Practice Your Grip
A common flaw a lot of pool beginners make is to grab the cue too tightly.
It’s normal to believe that the harder your grip is on the cue, the more accurate your shots will be.
But this notion is wrong. Instead, you need to practice with a light and loose grip.
If you grasp the white ball (a cue ball) too hard, it can lift the end of the cue when you shoot.
This will bring the end of the stick above horizontal when swinging back, making it much more challenging to get a straight and precise shot.
A firm grip also increases the likelihood that the white ball will accidentally jump off the table.
Alternatively, your grip has to be just powerful enough to pick up the white ball off the table.
Gently grasp the cue, positioned on your fingers.
It shouldn’t come in contact with your palm, and your little finger can remain free.
When practicing, try to keep the handle nice and light and, at the same time, keep control.
Find the perfect balance between lightness & control, and stick to it.
Swing your Shooting Arm like a Pendulum
With your gentle and loose cue hold, you can now advance to the next stage: Practice on your pendulum swing.
One of the advantages of making your grip lose is to enable you to use your shooting arm more productively.
You can swing your shooting arm at your elbow like a pendulum, thereby making your shots smooth and even.
It’s imperative to shoot with your body in line with the target line.
But it’s challenging to stay in line when firing arm is not still.
Lots of beginner players have far too much upper arm movement when shooting.
The best approach to resolving this issue is by imagining your upper and lower shooting arm like a pendulum.
Keep your upper arm steady during the entire process, and make sure that your grip isn’t too hard.
Your forearm, below the elbow, swings back & forth to shoot. Your backswing should, at all times, be slow and stable.
Ensure that your shooting hand is just below your elbow when handling the cue.
The forearm can swing beyond the elbow when you hit the cue ball. But it shouldn’t stop just before the elbow.
Practice a perfect pendulum swing with strokes of varying lengths.
Never forget that the backswing is slow; however, you can direct the speed of your shot with the forward momentum.
Hold Your Cue Parallel When Shooting
One of the errors that pool rookies make is the position of their cue when shooting.
Regardless of you utilizing your shooting arm like a pendulum, you may place too large an angle on your shot.
You want to bring your cue near the table as much as possible. Of course, it’s not attainable to go completely parallel, but you can draw close.
Relying on your height, this may need a deep or shallow flex at the waist.
When next you shoot, pay attention to how close your cue is parallel to the table surface.
At first glance, it may appear weird if you’re used to shooting from a broader angle, but once it becomes familiar, you’ll observe a big difference.
The more you apply force to the cue ball in a linear and parallel line, the better control, precision, and consistency you can apply.
Practice Your Bridge
A bridge in a pool game is about the formation of one of your hand’s forms, which enables you to link the cue to the cue ball. The bridge hand is the one that is not holding the cue stick.
Many of the experienced players became competent in shooting with both hands, so their bridge hand can be anyone; it depends on the shot.
A good bridge combined with good posture is necessary to become better at playing pool.
Just like a stance, a bridge is also a personal inclination. Different shooting conditions require various bridges, so it’s worth being flexible.
In as much as your bridge is firm, lets you move the cue effortlessly back and forth, and gives you a foundation for precise and reproducible shots, the bridge is nice.
Your bridge is part of the essential features of your game.
You can control your grasp, stance, and alignment; however, if you have an uncoordinated or unstable bridge, it doesn’t matter.
For most shots, there are 2 primary bridge types: the open bridge or closed bridge.
The closed bridge is more suitable for experienced players, who take harder shots with more spin on the ball.
For the rest of us, an open bridge is the best type. It’s appropriate for softer strokes, but you can still get a lot of power when you need it.
Work on your Stance Consistency
Another best and most essential thing you can practice is your posture.
A stance isn’t one-size-fits-all. Everybody’s posture is different, as people’s bodies aren’t the same.
Posture is about combining what’s comfortable for you and that allows you to achieve a consistent, precise goal.
A lot of factors affect a pool player’s posture.
These include height, body type, style of play, dominant hand (left or right), flexibility, and any physical features or injuries that could influence comfort and ability.
As a standard instruction, your front foot should be at least one shoulder width away from your rear foot.
Your rear foot can be at an angle of 45°.
This needs to feel both steady and comfortable. Position your front foot so that it points straightforward.
Adjust your body a bit away from the table so that it does not obstruct the shot.
Place yourself near the pool table, but not too close. You want to bend into the shots a little bit to have more control
Your weight has to be evenly distributed on both feet.
When you bend forward, position your head low and level above the billiard cue, but do not overexert yourself to get into this position.
It should be as cozy as much as it can be.
Now, you should be in a position to put part of your weight on the bridge hand, thereby, forming a tripod posture with both your feet & bridge han’
After you’ve adopted a stance that’s comfortable, balanced, and low, endeavor to be in harmony with it.
Exercise moving about the table and keep your feet in the same position and shape when shooting from various locations.
Practice Your Body Alignment
The correct body alignment is vital for precise pool shooting.
The alignment of the body in the pool signifies that your stroking arm, head, eyes, and cue are in line with your target ball.
This is also known as your vision center.
When practicing your alignment, try keeping your head low and perpendicular to the target line. Your eyes should also be horizontal.
Align the cue stick in such a way that the tip is closer to the cue ball’s vertical centerline.
If your line of sight and cue are in line, then also ensure that your forearm is aligned & at right angle to the cue.
Practice some pool shots when you feel your alignment is right. Simply hit the cue ball into the opposite corner hole. Or take straight hits on the back cushion, try to stay in the blind spot.
If you do this over and over, you’ll get a feeling for the right alignment.
As soon as you have a strategy, it’s essential to apply it consistently with every shot.
Stay in Position after the Shot
Many pool newcomers get up from the table once they shoot the cue ball, which is an oversight. You ought to remain in place after the shot for several reasons.
Allow a Follow-Through — first reason is so that you can allow a correct finish off. This is crucial to stay in line and to ensure that your shots are perfect.
When you stop the forward movement, the tip of the cue should almost touch the table.
Standing up immediately out of the shooting position can ruin the passage and, thus, the shot, even if you don’t notice it.
Observe and Learn — The 2nd reason to remain in place is to be able to observe your shot all through the way.
Changing your point of view results in you changing how you look at the table. The longer you remain in your shooting pose, the better you’ll understand how the balls move across the table.
In this way, you can analyze your missed shots or optimize your shots if they don’t run just as you want it.
Master You Pre-Shot Routine
Your routine before the shot is also the way you move between shots during a game.
That’s how you get into your tempo.
This is a personalized order that can include a short-list of things to take into consideration before devoting to your posture.
Lots of players like to observe a quick overview of the whole table, examine and chalk the tip the cue, and then look at the target holes with steady eyes.
It’s essential, meaning that you devote a little time concentrating on the target pocket alone.
Subsequently, you can decide your target line and set your alignment and vision center after the cue ball.
Place the cue stick directly behind the middle of the cue ball. Straighten up your back foot, put your head in a rectangular position, and align your eyes with the center of the object ball before moving into your pose.
Over time, this becomes a concentrated and flowing process that occurs in a natural pattern before each shot.
If you find a routine and follow it consistently, your overall game can improve drastically.
Find Your Weaknesses
If you do not know your weaknesses as a billiard player, it’s not difficult to find them out. The best approach to get this is to play against someone better or with the same playing strength as yours.
Watch the shots which you missed or things that your contender tries to do that you wouldn’t feel at ease with.
Through this, you’ll get a perfect idea of where your weaknesses lie.
Once you find out which one they’re, you can start taking shots that imitate them.
This is best done alone at a table that you can put the balls in any position which suits you.
The purpose is to make it difficult for yourself until it becomes natural. Prepare the problematic shots, and keep doing them until you feel comfortable and do them more often.
After that, you can exercise your skills by playing against an opponent.
In a Nutshell
As you can see, there are many different ways to get better at pools. I recommend taking a few ideas from this post and working on them.
Try not to do too much at once. To get better at pool requires time, effort, and dedication.
But the main thing is that you stay consistent. Consistent practice of your shots is the only way to achieve the results you want.