I’ve posted here before about my usual lunch partner, Morris and how whenever we play he wins. And how it’s been a goal of mine to win a day’s overall score on a day when he’s shooting well. As it happens, today was that day!
The last two days I’ve gone at lunch, I’ve done drills 90% of the time. Specifically these:
Now, I’ve never successfully completely any of those in the manner in which they are supposed to be done (ie: without missing or fouling) – but each week I try them, I get a little closer. In addition to this, I’ve been reading that book Zen Pool mentioned the other week. This week, I have found my pocketing skills have increased by a big margin from such a simple tip from that book: Focus on the exact spot on the object ball you want the cueball to contact. This seems almost automatic, but for some reason, I wasn’t focusing on a spot, rather an area. After employing this spot-based aiming system, I’m pocking most of my shots dead center pocket.
So, back today. I had planning on running through another drill I haven’t yet tried, but shortly after I got there, Morris showed up. So we started playing. He gave me first break and as luck would have it – I sank the 9 on the snap. Heh. Next rack, I broke dry, and he combo’d the 9 off the 1. It looked like it was going to be an exciting day, and it was. After about 6 racks, he said “Lets race to 5, put some pressure on ya.” So we cleared the wire and away we went.
The first set, I went up 3-0, but then blew position towards the end of the rack and gave him the table on the 7. Then it was a back and forth through the racks with him coming out on top and I lost 5-3. The 2nd set was all me. Literally. Now, I didn’t run any racks, but I hardly missed; I also got lucky a few times, but still, I ran off with that set and won 5-0!! The 2nd set, I went up 2-0 (meaning I had won 7 in a row!) and he made a comeback bringing to 3-4, then he goofed and scratched and I won the last 2 racks to win the day 3 sets to 2; total score: 13-9.
I have to say, the shot of whole day was this one. The cue ball was about an inch and half off the rail and in dead straight line with the 8 into the corner pocket. I thought about using force-follow to hopefully bounce offline and come back up off the short rail, but the chance that I would follow the 8 into the pocket prevented me. So, I lined up the shot straight on, jacked up the back of the cue and added just a hair of right and power-stroked it. I kept my head down to ensure good follow-through (as best as is available in that position). I heard the 8B drop and then looked up, to my surprise I saw the cue ball slowly creeping across the table towards the center – giving a fairly easy shot on the 9.
Overall, I shot today the way I know I can shoot – and I’m very happy with myself. Previously I would get little glimpses of this, for 2 or 3 balls then that’s it. Today I would consistently run 5 or 6 balls with a decent spread. Now, if only I can keep this level of focus and stroke – I’m looking for the next improvement already!