As you concentrate on improving your skills, consider what an outside eyeball sees when you are shooting balls in competition and practice. For best and most immediate results, work with an instructor who can observe what is happening. He can do an intelligent analysis of your fundamentals and recommend various modifications to make things more better.
However, there may not be an instructor in the neighborhood or within a reasonable driving distance. Some players ask for the opinions of their friends or a better shooter. However well-intentioned these resources may be, they probably do not know what to look for and are unaware of what needs fixing. Just to seem like they know what they are doing, you can receive recommendations that will make your game worse.
There is a third option available that can help – videotaping yourself. If you don't have a video camera or a smart phone with a good video app, certainly one or more of your friends will be happy to lend it to you for an hour. When you finish capturing your action, it's right there for immediate viewing. The clips can then be transmitted onto your tablet and TV.
Before starting the video capturing, figure out what you want to record. It can be somewhat interesting watching yourself run out a few tables - but that's pretty much a waste of time. And, it does help to simply record something to prove to your relatives and social network what a cool shooter you are. You have to know what you want to focus the camera on. Some choices for recording include:
- Stroke mechanics.
- Drill activity.
- Game routines.
- Getting shape.
DON'T DEPEND ON YOUR FRIENDS TO VIDEO TAPE FOR YOU. That can put a real strain on their patience and willingness to be your buddy.
Get one of the various adjustable tripods that can fit your camera or your smart device. For tripods, if it isn't big enough to place on the floor - use a local chair.
Stroke mechanics videotaping
To video yourself on stroke mechanics, you want two angles, one directly from the front and one angled from behind on the same side as your stick arm.
TABLE: All balls on the side, ready to grab, place and stroke into the far corner pocket. Use a donut to mark the position for each ball.
CAMERA: Place the camera height about a foot above the table and about 3-4 feet away from the table. Focus the camera in at the cue ball and zoom the screen so that the top of the little view finder is about two feet above the table. Tape a couple of setup shots to ensure you have everything lined up.
ACTION: Each shot begins from a standing position. Use the same stance (5-6 balls in a set). Watch for accidental side roll caused by off-side tip/ball.
1st set - 12:00 hit, soft speed
2nd set - 12:00 hit, medium speed.
3rd set - 12:00 hit, fast speed.
Repeat as needed.
BACK ANGLE: Set the camera height at the same as for the front shot. set the tripod about eight feet behind you and four feet on the same side as your stick arm. Focus the camera in at the elbow with the top of the view finder about 1/2 foot above the elbow when in your stance. Tape a couple of setup shots to ensure you have everything lined up.
To video yourself while doing drills, select a drill with balls going into the same pocket. Focus on the ball action.
TABLE: All balls set up for the drill. As needed, use donuts for any balls that has to be constantly replaced.
CAMERA: Place the camera height about two feet above the table and about 8-10 feet away from the table. Focus the camera in at the cue ball and zoom the screen so that the top of the little view finder is about two feet above the table. Tape a couple of setup shots to ensure you have everything lined up.
ACTION: Begin the drill. Reset and reshoot missed shots.
Record three sets.
ANOTHER ANGLE: On some drills, you may want to record a set from your stick arm side, to check your back arm action.
General shooting video setups
There is a situation where it is worthwhile to record yourself shooting racks of 8 Ball and 9 Ball. You can also video yourself and a buddy shooting.
TABLE: All balls racked for the selected game.
CAMERA: Set the camera height as high as possible, and angled from one corner to get a view of the entire table. Focus the camera on the center of the table, and zoom out enough to show all pockets. (Don't worry if there is a bit too much floor space covered. It is more important to get the table in the frame. Make some test shots as needed.
ACTION: Start the tape and begin with breaking the rack. When the last ball goes in, stop the tape.
When done videotaping
After you have finished, hook up to a large format device (tablet, laptop) or send to a TV. Keep your hand/mouse on the stop, rewind, and slow-motion buttons. You're looking for your table choices and consequences of shots. Make notes about your tactical decisions. Also check your shot executions. Did you get what you intended? Comparing your fantasies with the consequences is a great learning tool.
Once you have yourself videotaped, you can transfer the files between your various devices. At your leisure, you can review the content for additional lessons to be learned.
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