Billiards Strength

Billiards Muscles...Leave Them At Home

You've seen them, the muscle-bound creatures who hang around the local gym flexing, curling and as rigid as man can make himself.

All that training and exercise is absolutely useless at the pool table.

Often, the 90-pound weakling can deliver a more pure stroke and is likely to have a much better break than the guy who kicked sand in his face.

Why? A loose muscle is a fast muscle.

When it comes to a massive break, scattering balls all over the north 40 and leaving the cue ball center table, I'll take speed with accuracy anytime over all the muscle that can be put behind a cue.

The speed of the cue through the center of the cue ball is what accounts for a good, ball scattering break shot.

Instead of weight lifting, concentrate your effort on drills that will speed up delivery of the cue.

Imagine for instance, instead of the greatest pool legend in the country, you are the country bumpkin who can deliver the fastest underarm, softball pitch.

You've been brought onto the city team because you have a fast arm. What caused it anyway?

Arm Whip--Here is where most pitchers improve their pitching speed...and it is also most often not mentioned. You can achieve a faster fastball by speeding up the arm speed during the final downswing before the release. This intentional “whipping” of the arm through the final one-third of the rotation will create a faster closing of the shoulder while the arm is still in its downward movement, creating a faster movement of the arm (and subsequently the ball) just before the release point, resulting in a much faster pitch.

How about applying that technique to a break shot.--You can achieve greater cue speed by speeding up the arm during the final downswing. We don't want you to put your forearm through the rail, but that kind of speed can really help your break shot.

Try this little drill. Place a yardstick on the long rail with the one-inch end over the center of the corner pocket. Set up a straight shot (cue ball alone) at the opposite end rail from the headstring. Set the cue ball on the headstring and see just how fast you are. The cue ball should hit the end rail, rebound to your side, hit the end rail again and come back you your end a second time. If you can muster up enough speed to get to the end rail again, set up the yardstick at that end of the table.

You are trying to determine how many inches out from the final rebound you can move the cue ball. This is the distance you want to record. Make 10 shots every day, record the highest distance. Track this for a couple of weeks.

Besides speed, you will learn accuracy counts greatly in hitting the center of the cue ball and keeping your stroke straight. Miss the straight return line and your cue ball will likely hit the side rail before it gets back to the end rail.

But The Break Isn't Everything...

Here are three things to remember:

· A tight grip limits cue speed.

· Let the weight of the cue do the work, not your muscles.

· Keep your stroke smooth, you'll gain better control, more power with less effort.

During most shots, your lower arm and wrist just hang limp from your upper arm. This means your arm and wrist hold the cue in no position if it is hanging limp. There is no muscle involved. Limp is limp.

This will allow the cue to go straight, if you add muscle, all that changes, and it is known as steering the cue. Most all of the time this is caused by a tight grip and using the wrong muscles.

Watch yourself in a mirror when the weight swings freely your wrist of your cue hand cocks back. The wrist always catches up at impact, if it's not forced. This means keep the wrist vertical (flat and straight) (naturally hanging) at impact.

That is what you're looking for. You can keep a more firm wrist, which is fine, just let the cue hang freely. Timing is near the same but it all varies a little. You need to learn to to feel the weight of your cue, after all the game is based on feel.

Pool Is Not Violent Motions. That kills a good stroke and more important, accuracy. It will become very accurate and powerful if you let it happen, rather than force a motion.