Tom Simpson © August 2003 – All Rights Reserved – PoolClinics.com
Get down, get down, get down, get down tonight. One of the most common problems I see is “jumping up on a shot.” We’ve all done it. Some players do it a lot. And for some players, they jump up becausethey missed. More on that later.
Let’s talk about staying down. Why should we do it? Why don’t we do it? How can we do it?
When you jump up on a shot, you haven’t finished the shot. You began the standing motion before you even hit the ball. You had stuff moving that should never have been in motion at that point in your stroke. That will often result in a miss. You have to stay down and finish every shot.
When you stay down, you look good, feel good, and have more confidence. You’re more committed to the shot. If you know you’re going to stay down, you go down with more focus, more resolve, more calm.
Staying down gives you the opportunity to reallywatch the shot unfold. You’re down there with the balls – not recoiling and pulling away. You can see how the spin worked, whether the object ball rolled or turned over, which part of the pocket your ball found. The more you remain closely involved with the balls, the better you’ll play. And besides, isn’t this (precision ball control) why we do this anyway?
Now here’s the flip side. I believe the most common, deeply true cause of jumping up is simply this: We jump up because our body already knows we’re going to miss, and we don’t want to associate with that bad shot. Uh uh, that wasn’t me. I wasn’t there for that shot. Nope.
As we become better players, our bodies know when we’re right and they know when we’re wrong. If we’re lined up to make the shot, we can tell whether we’re on. The problem is learning to listen to that inner voice that’s saying, “Hey, this doesn’t look right.”
Sometimes we’re nervous or anxious, and try to shoot too quickly. We lose our timing, forget our p-shot routine, and shoot before we’re ready. Maybe you went down without a plan. If you have an indecisive plan, you’re likely to get indecisive results.
Sometimes we get ahead of ourselves, taking the current shot for granted. Your mind has already moved to the next shot, and is not paying attention to the current shot. Current shot, only shot. Jumping up can cause us to miss shots. It can also be a resultof missing. At some level, we knew we were lined up wrong, but we didn’t stop. Jumping up, we paid attention to our body’s hard-earned pool wisdom – just not soon enough.
So, what’s the cure? Want to stay down. Plan to stay down. Don’t go down until you’ve decided on a plan and committed to it. Finish the shot. Take ownership – stay down, watch the shot unfold, learn from what you see, and accept the result.
As a physical practice, try letting your belly hang when you go down. Wiggle your toes and sink into the floor. Settle into your stance. Think finish. Follow through and don’t pull back. Stay down and enjoy the action. You’re at the table! Make it count.