I’ve been quiet around here lately, mostly because I haven’t been overly inspired by anything.  I will say that I have been working on my break and I think there’s a marked difference between my break from a few months ago and my break from a couple of weeks ago.  The differences are subtle, and the video differences don’t help point them out.  The outline is that I start higher in stance, my bridge hand is full-palm on the table bed, I have more forward motion in my body as well as more upward motion.  The result of all of this that my break speed went from around 18 to around 20 while still keeping some decent control.  I have a video which isn’t posted anywhere that’s compilation of all of my breaks and there’s a definite change.

But, to the point of this entry.  Last night I went to play some bartable 8-ball, as usual for Mondays, and I wasn’t really sure how the night would go.  My last few evenings at the pool hall have not been that great.  The confidence in my game seems to have dropped since my last entry when I was feeling really good about things. I had a number of runouts that week and thought I had finally topped my hurdles, as it turns out, not quite yet.

I’m playing with my team captain, and it’s like playing the ghost. I only have to miss once, and I lose the game.  That’s fine and well and all, but it doesn’t really do me any good to sit there and not be able to practice.  Anyway, after a few hours of that he leaves and I’m so pissed off at that point I couldn’t wait for him to leave just so I could hit some balls.  I missed a number of cuts that I shouldn’t have.  He commented once about how I’m missing shots that I should never miss (which he says probably once a week to me); and how when he first recruited me I was making balls better than now.  Well, I know for a fact that’s not true; but it probably seems that way since I’m making much tougher shots, there’s no reason to miss the easy ones I do.

Anyway, I had been really struggling with one particular shot (for at least a month or so) that really should be a hanger, but somewhere along the line I got the angle confused in my head and became scared of it because I missed it so many times.  I lost one-pocket games due to this shot, I lost 8-ball games, I lost 9-ball games… all due to this one shot that I used to make all day; short-rail, long-rail, left, right didn’t matter. Somehow, during one of my aiming practice sessions or something I completely lost all ability to read close-ball angles.

The troublesome shot:

Yeah, that easy-ass shot. (Ironically, I can make this without problem if it’s along the long rail, but on the short rail – back-cutting is a huge disaster) I was determined to figure this out.  I had read in various places about eye location and how important it is to have your eyes in the right location for the shot.  I also knew about eye-dominance and have sort of automatically been placing my cue under my dominant eye, but what I wasn’t doing was adjusting the location based on the shot.  I dont think everyone does this, but for me, for right now, I think I finally have it figured out.  I set up that shot and shot it with the eyes in the same place, in line as I looked at it; and it never really looked right.  Then I set it up again, and placed the cue in a different spot, or rather, I moved my head to place my eyes in a spot until it looked right to me.  When it looked right, I swung through that line.  When the shot went, I remembered my head location in relation to my cue and found that my eyes needed to be in different places for different angles. 

Specifically, cutting the OB to the left meant my eyes needed to be centered over the stick, for all other shots, I could continue to use my dominant eye over the cue.  But once I started to make this adjustment, I started making shots that had been troubling me for some time.  Shots that I always guessed with before.

Now, I’m not saying that all cuts are hangers now, but I am very excited about just how much better the shots are looking while I’m down on the table.  So, I’m hoping this is another mental “AH-HA!” moment.  It was really working well last night – tonight will be another test, if I get a chance at the table that is. Last week at league, I played 1 game, hit 4 balls (including the lag) and that was it… for 4 hours.  At least tonight there’s a bunch of tables availble so I will be able to play at least.