Tom Simpson ©
October 2000 – All Rights Reserved – PoolClinics.com
Let’s take a close look at how we line up our body with the shot. There are a number of very simple body alignments that can make it easier to shoot straight. If you’ve been playing a long time and are pretty good, you’re probably already doing most of them. This is worth a close look. If you’re off somewhere, making the change should make a difference for you.
Look at any shot. As you stand behind the cueball, you can see “the line of the shot.” That’s the line the cueball must travel to hit the object ball or rail (or other target) precisely where you intend. How we choose that exact line is related to what we want to accomplish, our current ability level, and the various aiming adjustments we make to compensate for throw, english, squirt, etc. Choosing that line is not the issue here.
The issue at hand is “What’s the best (simplest, most comfortable, most effective, most consistent, easy to remember, easy to check) way to arrange our body around the stick to produce a good, straight stroke and send the cueball down the line of the shot?” Our job as pool players is to produce a consistent, straight, fluid stroke that moves the cueball down the shot line at the right speed and with the right spin. What I’d like you to think about is making good use of your skeleton. We can simplify our job if we align our skeleton well. The better we align our skeleton, the less we have to rely on muscle and various swoops and on-the-fly stroke/aim adjustments. The point I want to drive home is that if we line up well, it’s way easier to hit what we’re aiming at, and to do it consistently and effortlessly.
OK. We know where the line of the shot is. Now, imagine there is a vertical plane (a wall) running through that line. There are a bunch of body parts we’re going to align with that plane:
These are guidelines. Since everyone’s body is different, not everyone will find that all of these alignments are workable. Very tall, very short, and very heavy players usually need some adjustments. A good instructor can help with the adjustments. This approach is intended to get most players arranged into an alignment that makes it easier to see down the line and send the cueball down the line. These alignments can help you stroke more consistently and with less interference from muscle and from limbs that naturally want to move in some direction other than straight.
As with any change in your fundamentals, you may experience a decline in your game for a while, but if the change is a good one and you stick with it, you’ll come back stronger. Let’s get straight – and get better.