Be warned now before you begin this process – you must focus only on how to learn this set of skills. Set aside all other skill improvement practicing. To achieve this lifelong skill, expect to spend at least 20 hours of focused practice time. If you put the time in, you will achieve trustworthy results.
Surprisingly, the secret is actually in the precise placement of the cue tip onto the cue ball at a controlled speed.
Basic Starting Conditions
- Cue tip – make sure that your cue tip has the consistent roundness known as the nickel curve (U.S. 5 cent coin). You should be able to match the cue tip curve to the nickel’s silhouette. The tip should be able to hold chalk when it is applied. If it cakes on and easily falls off, rough up the surface with a cue tip tool or a bit of sandpaper.
- Chalk. This is not the inattentive grinding of the cue tip into the chalk cube as you survey the table. You must drop the cue tip down to chin level and look at it. With chalk cube in hand, stroke the cube edges across the surface of the cue tip. Watch as you do it so the cue tip is ALWAYS well covered.
- Keep the stick as level to the table as possible. Always follow-through a distance equals to the distance between your bridge and the cue ball.
Note: Make sure your stick is as parallel to the floor as possible. Make sure you have a firm closed bridge. Make sure you have a true back & forth stroke. To adjust the cue tip height in relation to the cue ball, lower the bridge hand. Do NOT raise the cue butt.
Progressive Draw Exercise
- Set up a straight in shot with a one diamond separation between the object ball and cue ball. (Use the paper reinforcement rings to mark the locations.)
- Shoot the shot using the same stick speed until you can dead stop the cue ball five times in a row. (Make any necessary adjustments to your stance and stroke to achieve this, and then use those adjustments for all future shots.)
- Set the contact point of the cue tip to the cue ball at exactly a half tip below center. With the same stick speed, repeat the shot and observe the draw shot distance.
WARNING: Advance ONLY when you have a constant draw shot the is repeatable (i.e., five exact results in five attempts). [And yes, this is boring, but critical to your ownership of a perfect draw shot.]
- Drop the contact point another half tip (change the height of your bridge hand) on the 6:00 line. With the same speed, repeat the shot five times and observe the draw distance.
- Drop the contact point another half tip (1-1/2 tips from cue ball center) on the 6:00 line. With the same speed, repeat the shot five times and observe the draw distance.
- Repeat the process with a slightly higher stick speed until you can get consistent results with five different speeds.
When you own the speeds at the 1 diamond distance of the draw shot, repeat the exercise at the 1-1/2 diamond distance. Then work at the 2, 2-1/2, and, 3 diamond distances.
If you only work at this for an hour or two, you can settle for the slight improvements. But if you want true ball control, put in the full 20 hours it will take. You will be the envy of everyone who watches you pull off this amazing control. Railbirds will throng to watch your perfect draw shot.
If you get inconsistent results after several hundred shots and any adjustments don’t seem to work, get an instructor to take a look at your stroke fundamentals.