The Importance of Shot Speed when Playing Pool.

Speed control

So let’s talk about speed control as it relates to pool shots when you are playing any billiard game such as 9 ball, 8 ball, one pocket, banks, etc.

When I’m talking about speed control, I’m not talking so much about the pace your white ball travels around the table after hitting any given shot. What I’m talking about is the way professional players play just about every shot with the same speed  (+/-).

Percentage of times a certain shot speed was played.

If you compare one professional pool player to another professional on the same equipment they will nearly always use roughly the same speed for all shots.

Why do they all do that?

Great players are looking for consistency. To be consistent they have to remove as many variables as they can.

Variables that you can control:

      • Aim
      • Alignment
      • Stance
      • Stroke
      • Shot choice
      • Practice
    •       Sleep
      • Match Preparation
      • Diet

Things that you cannot control:

    • Venue
    • Table  ***
    • Cloth  ***
    • Balls  ***
    • Humidity
    • Background Noise
    • Opponents

Professional players will know and be familiar with these *** at most big events. (Matchroom, Euro-tour).

So let me ask you, do you want your shot speed to be another variable or a consistent reliable component of your game?

Shot speed is a major variable that cannot be taken out of the shot equation.

Standardizing your shot speed is great for consistency but it also has a few other very good advantages that I’m going to talk about in this article.

You probably noticed this yourself, if you watch the US Open or any of the European tour matches everybody’s playing on the 9-foot tables with the same cloth or the same rebound off the rails.

After one or two days when the cloth has stopped skidding and has been worn in, the table becomes very predictable. When we’re playing pool one of the things we try to do is to reduce the variables in every shot. One of the ways we can do this is by controlling our shots, to always play most shots at the same speed or power.

Let’s Look at Some Speed Control Advantages.

One advantage of controlling your speed is that the pockets, which are getting tighter and tighter as time goes by, are more like to accept a shot at medium to low speed. Overpowering the ball can cause a miss.

We’ve all watched the shot on TV that misses the pocket by two diamonds yet still goes in because its speed is correct and it was played with a very good stroke.

Another massive advantage of playing with the controlled stroke which is very consistent is that the ball will tend to react in a consistent way when using left or right spin. Side spin shots are very susceptible to variations in speed.

You are probably aware that when you use outside English combined with a certain speed the throw, swerve and deflection cancels each other out and allow you to play the same shot without making anything other than a minor adjustment. This only works when you have your speed dialed in and have practiced the shot again and again.

If you’re not aware of this then click on this link and I’ll take you over to another article where we talk about the use of outside English and how you can use a good stroke.

The same phenomenon doesn’t work so well with inside English. However, if you’re always using the same powered stroke or very similar to your usual stroke, eventually you’ll get used to how the ball changes its path when using inside English.

The importance of shot speed control in pool cannot be understated. Professional pool players use consistent shot speed to ensure they can make the most of their skills and reduce the variables in a shot.

Players such as Efren Reyes, Shane Van Boening and Dennis Orcollo are renowned for their excellent shot speed control. The ability to control shot speed is a skill that can be learned and developed.  With sufficient quality practice, any pool player can become more consistent and accurate in their shots.