If you've ever watched good players compete, every shot is designed to accomplish two objectives - pocket the current object ball and move the cue ball into a table location where the next object ball can be targeted. The only significant difference between the good players and the better players is their ability to do this on a routine basis.
There are plenty of excellent shooters who can pocket a ball from anywhere and don't think they need to learn anything else. They make excellent training victims for those learning how to play position. Your pocketing skills will develop as a matter of course and time. It is your positioning skills that will make you a more competitive player.
To develop your competence in positioning and have some fun doing it, start by throwing two balls out on the table. Take cue ball in hand and make one ball and get into position for the second ball, then shoot that in. Repeat until you can be successful ten times in a row.
Next, go with three balls on the table and cue ball in hand. This will take some time to master because you have to consider where the cue ball stops for the second ball. That positioning is necessary to move the cue ball into position for the third ball. Based on the experiences of several individuals, you really have to be able to make this work 10 out of 10 before you move on to four balls on the table.
The trick to get position on the third ball depends on how you start on the first ball. That first choice of speed, spin, and angle is far more important that you think. If you don’t believe this, after a few hundred attempts with inconsistent results, you will believe it. If you get that figured out, moving on to patterns of 5, 6, 7 and more balls is not quite as difficult as you might initially think. You just have to work up to that level of calculations by getting good with figuring out patterns for small number of balls.
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