Thursday, January 3, 2008

Perfect That All-Important Pool Shooting Stance

Your pool shooting stance is one of the basic items you should master if you have any hopes of becoming good at the game. Without a proper stance, your stroke will not be smooth and accurate, and the balls just won't go where and how you want them to.

When you are first learning the game is a good time to pay close attention to your pool stance, because if you can get into the habit of using a proper stance, you won't have to break a bad habit later on. The secrets to an excellent pool shooting stance are to be well-balanced, comfortable, and correctly aligned to the shot at hand.

When approaching the pool table for a shot, decide where you need to hit the cue ball and object ball, to sink the desired ball in the desired pocket. Line your body up so you can see the line of the shot you are about to take. If you are left-handed reverse the following instructions.

If you shoot right-handed, you will want your left foot to be closest to the table and your left leg should be slightly bent. Some people feel comfortable with their feet at an approximate 45 degree angle to the cue stick, while others prefer more or less angle. Experiment with your foot placement until you feel comfortable. The feet should be about shoulder width apart.

The body will be bent at the waist, with the left hand extended and forming the bridge. Some weight is put on the bridge hand to help steady the bridge and reduce strain on the back. The right leg should be fairly straight.

The upper section of the right arm should be parallel to the table, and the forearm is ideally at a 90 degree angle to the upper arm. Grip the cue butt loosely, so that the stroke will be perfectly vertical and not waver off to the side.

Important - keep your cue stick as level as possible. This will enable you to hit the cue ball above and below the center line, for follow and draw shots, without miscueing.

Your chin should be down low and directly over the cue stick. Sight down the stick with your preferred aiming eye, so that you have a straight line of sight from the cue ball to the object ball.

It is very important that you have a smooth, even stroke, so work on this and keep it in mind at all times when playing. Bend the right arm at the elbow and stroke using a pendulum motion. Keep the stroke on an even vertical line - any movement to the side will throw off your aim.

Before you hit the cue ball, take 3 or 4 practice strokes to make sure you are hitting the cue ball at exactly the right spot for the type of shot you are attempting. These practice strokes also give you the chance to sight back and forth between the cue ball and the object ball, so you get your aim just where you want it.

Finally, when you shoot, be sure to follow through on the stroke. Your cue tip should go right through where the cue ball was, and travel at least 4 or more inches for most shots. Follow through will make an amazing difference in your ability to make the shots, especially long shots.

A good pool shooting stance and a quality pool stroke are pool basics that will always pay off for you in the future. Spend a little time getting them right now, and it will make all the difference in your game.

Ernie Reynolds is a long--time pool and billiards player. His sites and are evidence of his love for the game and his desire to share the wealth of knowledge he and others have acquired over the years. Visit his sites for game descriptions, equipment care and maintenance, playing tips, pool accessories, billiards history, links, how--to videos, online pool games, and much more.