10 Bad Habits That Keep You From Running The Rack

Written by David Sapolis

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Article Index
10 Bad Habits That Keep You
     From Running The Rack
(page 1)
Bad Habit #2 and #3 (page 2)
Bad Habit #4, #5 and #6 (page 3)
Bad Habit #7 thru #10 (page 4)

Bad Habit #4: Flashy position routes.

This is probably the most common among novice and intermediate players. Some players enjoy having the cue ball travel from rail to rail with more english than is required. Please understand that there is a such thing as doing too much with the cue ball. The rule is "do whatever is the simplest". If you can get position by using one rail, use one rail, not two or three. We're at the table to win games, not to impress the railbirds. If you want to impress the railbirds, learn some trick shots. Nine ball is a game that is played best when it is played in it's simplest form.

Bad Habit #5: Indecisiveness.

This is a killer. This is a mental flaw that is brought upon by not having the balls roll your way. We become timid and duck instead of going for a shot. We lose confidence in our ability to make sound decisions, and the wires become crossed during mid-match. Pool is a game that is based on the players making sound decisions and utilizing good judgement. Take away the player's decision making abilities and his good judgement and he'll look like a deer in the headlights.

Have you ever heard the expression, "He's playing over his head" or "He's playing out of his head"? There is a such thing as "playing out of your head. Shooting the object ball into the pocket is a task external from your mind. By that, I mean that the task is external, and the thoughts that complete the action are internal. The internal thoughts are the motor functions that are necessary to complete the task, such as looking at the cue ball, looking at the object ball, lining up the shot, getting down in your stance, placing the shaft of your cue in your bridge hand, gripping the butt of the cue, performing your practice strokes, having your tip contact the cue ball, your follow through, watching the cue ball make contact with the object ball, watching the object ball reach its destination, and standing up straight to prepare for the next shot. I don't think any of us need to meticulously prepare to execute any of those tasks, as by now they should be second nature to you. Many of us do concentrate on these tasks while we are choking. Let me explain.

Many of us become indecisive by "second guessing" our decisions. What we should strive for is having all of our decisions made before we get into our shooting stance. All of our planning should be done before we bend over the shot. If we are planning our position routes or our shot options while down in our shooting stance, we are a big underdog. Plan, then execute. Get out of your mind. On the same token, learn to recognize your opponent's indecisiveness. The deer in the headlights look goes both ways. Nothing shakes a pool player's confidence more than the sinking feeling of despair and bewilderment. Recognize this and go for the jugular.

Bad Habit #6: Rushing through the rack.

Though shooting quickly is quite intimidating, it opens the door for many things to go wrong. The first thing to go is our ability to SEE the table. We are so busy shooting the balls in at light speed that we forget to read the rack properly, or we completely eliminate or condense our pre-shot routine. The most common habit is not staying down on the shot. We open the door to carelessness and eventually make a tiny error on a simple shot that we should have made.

There is no advantage to rushing through the rack. This habit brings forth carelessness. If you need this explained any further, all I can say is, "a rushed job is certaintly not the best job that could have been done".

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About The Author: Blackjack David Sapolis played professional pool for 20 years in The United States, Canada, Europe, and Asia.

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