(FAQ) Do you play the opponent or play the table?

(About the Author)

This question has been asked to players of many levels. Several pro-level players, when asked, recommend concentrating on playing the table. Their rationale is based on the fact that since you are on the table, and your opponent isn’t, so just run out the balls and win the game. Their competence makes this a viable approach to competition. There are several thousands of professional players. There are millions of regular players. Their approach works for them because, when given an opportunity to shoot, the table gets run out to the win. Continue reading

(FAQ) What is the "Zen" of Pool?

(About the Author)

Few players attain the attitude and mindset that is detailed here. Most don't even know that it exists. Yet it is experienced by many players and is most often discovered by accident rather than by intention. Continue reading

(CBC) Cue Ball Control (full table patterns) - Group 11, Set 9

Cue Ball Control Cheat Sheets

This is today's set of Cue Ball Cheats. These practice setups (and others in the book and blog) help you learn HOW to apply an exact speed and spin. That precision is how to get perfect shape on the second ball - and how to string a run together. For these layouts here are the Cheats for this post:

  • Cheat: 12:00, Soft 3 speed.
    Stun, Soft 3 speed. (Table roll & slow speed works for this shot.)
  • Cheat: 1:30, Soft 3 speed.

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(D&E) Drills & Exercises - Pocket Skills (straight): OB 1-1/2 D to Pocket

(About the Author)

This progressive exercise to improve your shooting skills is in the book Drills & Exercises for Pool & Pocket Billiards.

This setup concentrates on progressive pocketing skills. There is no concern about where the CB ends up.

This is a multiple cue ball speed and spin drill. See Cue Ball Speed and Spin Variations. Make sure to observe the cue ball action (path from OB, any rail action, etc.) until it stops. You need to remember the results when you are in competition. Continue reading

(S&D) Safety & Defense - Think-It-Through Routine

(About the author)

Safety Toolbox (Advanced)

(This is today's bit of advice from the book Safety Toolbox.)

This is an execution routine. It uses a lot of intentional analysis. In terms of value to your overall growth, incorporating this process into your shooting routine will stabilize your pre-shot routine. Replace your old routine with this one and you will see some immediate improvements in your shooting results. Use this in both offensive and defensive shooting efforts. Selecting the shot is not part of this process.

The process requires that you divide up your routine into discrete steps, each which requires due attention and focus. You are throwing away an automatic routine and replacing it with a deliberate process.

This requires a change in your playing style. No longer can you see a shot, casually plunk down, and fire off it off. Your growth in the game will expand when you realize that each and every shot is important and deserves proper attention. The current shot is all you have. It deserves serious analysis and careful execution.

This routine will increase your level of alertness. When you "think it through", the steps ensure and guarantee a consistent shooting execution program. You know it is trustworthy and dependable. The more you work with it, the more your fantasy coincides with reality. It develops trust and faith in your mental pictures.

After the shot is selected, follow these steps exactly. Perform each step in full before proceeding to the next. This will require several thousand intentional efforts before it becomes automatic.

  1. Create a mental picture of the perfect results. This includes every planned ball movement. Do NOT skip this step and try to wing it. Determine which balls will move and where they
  2. Envision the path of each ball to be moved and how far it is to This includes caroms, angles, combinations, double-kisses, and rail contacts.
  3. Calculate the energies necessary for the stroke to match those paths. It is critical to know the division of energy transfers, and the angles the balls are contacted.
  4. Get into your shooting stance and make yourself stable and Bring your mind under control and put your attention on the shot.
  5. Mentally shoot the shot several times. Envision the execution and the results.
  6. When you are sure that you have figured out all of the consequences, trigger the shot. This is where your fantasy hits reality. There are no take-backs.
  7. Observe the results.Track all of the moving balls.
  8. Walk through the shot in your memory. Compare what you were expecting to what actually happened.
  9. On anything less than true perfection, identify any point where the calculations were incorrect. Determine what exactly caused it.
  10. Mentally re-shoot the shot with the correction(s).This overlays the error with what you should have done.
  11. Vow to never, ever to repeat any mistake(s). This may not get immediate results, but will become true after about the 50th time you make this vow.


Any failure of your fundamentals can create a breakdown. This includes body position, mental attitude, execution, or any combination of dozens of such problems. This is why your post-shot routine must include an analysis of the results and what failed. Identifying what went wrong and doing the mental "fix" is the only way that leads to consistent improvement.

Be conscientious in applying this entire shooting and post-shot routine for several months. This automates an attitude of watchful awareness that is so necessary to constant and continuous improvements.