My game is slowly but surely coming back. League was this past Friday and while I did win, removing me from last place, it was not an overwhelming victory. However, I can see aspects of my game coming back. When I started back up when my hand was ready, I thought my ability fall-off was due to just being away from the table. But, 5 weeks into league and only now am I starting to see elements of playing like I did a year ago. Table-time is always part of the issue, sure, but there was one thing that has been driving me bonkers since my return to the game. Whenever I miss shots, it seems I’m only every missing by an inch or so. I’m talking about shots that I get down on and feel 100% confident I’m sighting it correctly. I thought it was my stroke-arm being messed up, but my stroke-straightness tests are about where they were just before I broke my hand. The only difference left to consider is my weight loss. This year, I’ve lost 60 pounds and whole lot of inches off my body. I’ve recently considered that my shape change has also affected my stance and alignment. The muscle memory I built was built around keeping my arm away from my older and larger body mass. But now, it’s too far out from my body, yet it feels “natural”. The problem is that it also relied on my body mass as something of a “guide” to swing parallel too. If I had continued to play all year long, I’m confident that the alignment adjust would’ve happened in sync with the weight loss, but since I was off the table for 3 months while my hand healed, but continued to lose weight, the automatic adjustment is now out of relation with the weight-loss.
For example, here’s one of my favorite shot-angles (because I can put the cue-ball just about anywhere on the table from this spot):
But whenever I shoot that shot – I hit it as diagrammed. Most of my missed shots (save for really difficult cuts, etc) are missed by that small a margin. I’m not sure how I’m going to fix this small alignment issue, but I’ve taken some steps towards it. Starting with eye-placement without changing my stance too much. I’ve found, with less body mass I’m more able to get over the cue with less work, stress on my neck, and in doing so, I’m seeing the shots much clearer. I still have to adjust left or right depending on the cut and distance, but not as dramatic as it was before. I’m using more “center-eyes” where I used to use extreme left or right eye.
Below is a rack from last week’s league match. It certain is not pretty, but it was a run-out, that I didn’t really expect to finish once I got out of line.
This is a great confidence booster (forgetting that my attempt to play a safe on the 1-ball was an utter failure.); as this out relied on shot-making more than good position. Obviously, I want to focus on position so I don’t have to come up with great shots, but regardless I got out when I should have – no matter how ugly it was.