Straight Shots – Why Are They So Easy But Also So Tough?
Why We Miss Easy Straight Shots in Pool.
Have you ever wondered why straight in shots cause so many problems for so many good players?
Perhaps you are one of them and are wondering why this happens?
I had this problem myself, but now I’ve learned to deal with this situation. So much so that I don’t miss straight in shots now unless there’s a really good reason.
- Cueing off the rail.
- Bridging over a ball.
- Long distance.
Even then I still feel favorite to make the Shot!
Hopefully, this will help you also.
How to Aim in Pool.
Over the years most of us have developed our shot making abilities based on constant repetition rather than point to point aiming. It is like a trial and error process which eliminates the shots that don’t work and keeps the ones that do.
This information is safely locked away inside our head for future use.
In other words, we just know how to judge a particular angle through constantly practicing until the shots look right. Then once we are proficient we use our muscle memory to successfully execute the shot at will.
This is a natural way to learn and a natural way to play, our subconscious mind is doing the majority of the heavy lifting for us without even thinking.
The Problem with Conscious Aiming.
The biggest downfall with our thinking mind is that it is a dreadful pool player whose suggestions should be ignored most of the time.
The problem with straight in shots is that this principle gets interrupted because now we have two points point of reference. We can see that a center hit on the cue ball to a center contact on the object ball will result in a straight shot.
Our eyes and conscious mind start to argue with our subconscious stored data with negative results.
Objective points of Aim.
There are only three known points of aim in pool they are:
- Center to Center…. Straight in shot.
- Edge-to-edge…. Thin cut shot.
- Center to Edge…. Half ball shot.
These are the only three shots that we can know objectively. Even then it’s not easy to recognize the 1/2 ball shot without a lot of practice.
When faced with a straight in shot the pool players’ conscious mind recognizes the center to center shot to the center of the pocket.
“I’ve just got to line everything up and I can’t miss. This is so easy.”
So the subconscious player, which can make thousands of minor adjustments in a split second to overcome stroke errors, is overridden by the thinking mind.
In an attempt to aim perfectly we ignore the wealth of information gathered over the years and consequently miss the “easy shot.”
The Solution to Straight Shots.
The first thing to do is to recognize the problem and be alert to falling into the aiming by thinking trap.
To begin with I identify the shot as straight to alert myself to the possible danger I am about to face.
Then I treat straight shots the same as any other shot. If I find myself “consciously aiming,” I stop, stand up and start my pre-shot routine all over again.
Make sure that you identify and treat the shot with the same respect in practice and develop a foolproof routine for executing these sometimes tricky shots under match and pressure situations.