(FAQ) Does Speed kill?

(About the Author)

Is this situation familiar? You set up on a shot, KNOWING this is a 99% certainty -- BUT because you MUST get shape on the next ball (usually somewhere far far away), you put on a lot more strength into the stroke.

On stroking the shot at the (absolutely necessary) faster speed, SOMETHING goes wrong. Usually, the object ball refuses to drop into the pocket, bouncing away along some unexpected pattern. OR, the cue ball absolutely refuses to obey your commands and laughs at your fantasies.

What went wrong? Well, there are usually a number of reasons. Basically, you are hitting the cue ball at an unfamiliar speed. You are using additional muscles in your arms and the rest of your body. This all changes your stroke line. And, of course, because you are hitting the ball harder, the pocket target becomes  a lot smaller. What goes in at slower speeds will dance on the table at high speeds.

So what's the solution? After all, there are times when you MUST bang the cue ball harder. Instead of fantasizing some result on a shot you have NEVER practices, maybe you should pull in your horns a bit.

THINK before the shot!! You probably don't have to put too much speed into the shot as you think. Lower your expectations instead of what you can do. An angle of a shot, even if it's two diamonds further away can work.

f you find yourself creating fantastic shots that are impossible for the pros - you will lose a lot more games than you want. You KNOW what can be done. It's OK to expand on those abilities a little bit. Just don't get stupid about you can be done.

If you find yourself banging the cue ball really hard to get shape on the next shot - maybe you should take a look at your playing philosophy. Your shape problems might be easily solved by hitting soft and softer.

If you really want to fix your hard hitting accidents, the get a competent competent instructor to watch what you are doing. All he'll need to do is watch you bang some balls and he'll know which of your fundamentals you are screwing up. Some video camera time on your strokes will give you hard evidence you can watch in the privacy of your home to further understand what needs fixing.

Some practice time on the kitchen table, starting with slow motion to make adjustments, then gradually speeding up will dial in the necessary muscle memory. This is how to actually succeed with higher speed shots that both pocket the ball and get the shape you intended.

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