How To Play Pool - Aiming

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I think most people will agree that the most critical, but difficult, part of learning how to play pool is aiming. If you can perfect your aiming technique, you are well on your way to becoming a high level pool shooter that wins most of his games.

In this long article, I will attempt to describe as clearly and simply as possible some aiming techniques, so that you get the most out of your practice and playing time. Be sure to click through all the pages so you don't miss anything.

Before you worry about aiming though, there are a few basics that must be taken care of first when a person takes up the game and wants to find out how to play pool.

A straight stick with a decent tip and some cue tip chalk for that tip is a must. You will not get a good hit on the cue ball without keeping that cue tip well chalked. Chalking up before every shot is a good habit to get into.

The novice shooter must learn how to make a good hit on the cue ball. When first learning how to play pool, the shooter should forget about english and spin, and just concentrate on hitting the cue ball dead center every time. Pay attention to how hard you hit the ball instead, as the strength of the hit enables you to have a lot of control over where the cue ball ends up after the shot, and whether or not you have an easy shot for your next ball.

Develop a good, solid bridge with your bridge hand. It is almost impossible to make a precision shot if your cue stick shaft is moving around because of a weak bridge. There are different ways to make the bridge, depending on the shot being taken, as shown on this page.

Care must be taken to develop a smooth, even, straight stroke - a stroke that will enable you to easily control the hit on the cue ball. Concentrate your attention on exactly where you contact the cue ball with the cue tip. Take a few practice strokes before every shot so you know that you are hitting the ball just where you need to, and follow through with the cue stick after contact with the ball.

You can't have a good stroke without a good stance. Spend some time working on your stance until you get one that is both comfortable and allows you to make a straight, even stroke with a nice level cue stick.

Your stance should allow you to look straight down the shaft of the cue stick, over the cue ball, to your object ball. The grip on the stick should be loose and relaxed. The forearm and wrist are the only body parts that need to move when taking the stroke.

It must be stressed that, to play good pool, you have to be able to place the cue ball exactly where you want it. To do that, you have to hit the cue ball correctly and consistently every time. Spend some practice time just simply hitting the cue ball around, to get the feel for hitting it in a consistent manner.

Try this - shoot the cue ball from the head rail into the foot rail, and don't stand up or move the stick after the shot. Try to make the ball bounce off the rail and come back along the same line, and bounce off the tip of your stick. Do this over and over until you can consistently bounce the cue ball off the rail and back into the cue tip.

This exercise will help you develop a straight cue hit and will definitely improve your aiming abilities. One trick to this is to only hit the cue ball along the vertical axis. Any hit off center horizontally will make the cue ball bounce off to the side after hitting the rail.

Once you have your stroke figured out and working well, it's time to tackle aiming. Next, we'll discuss how to play pool with different aiming techniques for the different shots you will encounter in a pool game.

One thing to remember - the professionals you see in tournaments on TV have all shot thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of balls in over their careers. After that much pool shooting, you just develop a natural "eye" for where and how a shot should be made.

How To Aim cont. - Cut Shots

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