Long Green

Often Dreaded; is Needed

Aiming a long, thin cut shot is my second least favorite thing to do on a pool tablemy actual least favorite is trying to pocket a long, straight in shot.

That was until last night.

I put both of these two shots into perspective for a student and learned something myself.

This is a largely mental game we play and unless we are careful, this is where we'll get hung up every time in practice, or in a match; in a league final, or hill-hill in a tournament. Once your mind takes control of the shot, you are in trouble my friend.

Go ahead, announce to the world you hate, fear, can't stand, or just plain don't line a "long green" shot. Guess who is the first one you will convince?

It is time to take control of this process and put the judgmental side of your mind to sleep on the issue.

Take that long green, straight in or thin cut and turn it into a trip-over-it simple shot; you just couldn't miss, even if you tried. Shorten it down to a two-footer. Tell me you could miss a two-foot shot into the corner pocket over and over again.So how do we convince ourselves that pocket that is six diamonds away is actually two feet away?

Trickery.

It is not hard to imagine the line, the object ball has got to take to go into a corner pocket at the other end of the table. If you do, go to your toolbox for the carpenter's laser level. Set it up straddling that corner pocket. Flick the switch and shine that red line at the center of your object ball.

Whether you imagine the line or are looking down a thin red line; realize two things: It will take a pinpoint accurate hit on the center of the cue ball and the object ball can't veer left or right along it's path to the corner pocket.

But what if like we said before, it was only two feet away? Assuming you hit center cue ball and stayed on the two-foot path, couldn't you hit pocket center each time?

Let's turn to our imagination again; this time to make these shots a snap.

Visualize the target line from the object ball. This time step over to the two-foot spot on that line. Shape your thumb and index finger like the opening of the corner pocket. Yes, drop your make-believe pocket right down on the target line, two feet from the object ball. Simulate the angle of the corner pocket.

Now look down at your new "virtual target", straddling the target line. Can you see the object ball going into the crotch of your thumb-index finger?

Now go back to your shooting position. Set up for the shot by going through your pre-shot routine. Align you back foot with the target line; set your eye on the virtual pocket...(don't even look at the long green), just focus on a center hit on the cue ball, it's a simple bump-and-run shot.

A couple of practice strokes, pause, set targeting the center of the cue ball and stroke through it with a nice clean, follow through.

You'll still need the mustard to send the object ball all the way to the end of the table, but that will come, if not with your first try, the second or third. Most of us hit shots too hard as it is.

This simple visualization will turn the dreaded long green straight in into a simple into a duck shot. Have fun, practice this often.