Preshot Routine

revisited by The Monk

Editor's Note: The preshot routine solves many problems for beginners and professional pool players alike. There are some concepts that need to form its basis.Tim Miller, The Monk recently did a four-part presentation on this topic:

I am going to begin our Journey with a four part report on concepts I want you to absorb. As you know, this journey is far more than just the mere pocketing of balls. As we grow and learn to master this game, we find ourselves making inner changes to facillitate our skills. Without the personal changes, we seem to be blocked.

Lesson One
The Mind

Since we are trying to control our minds, we must have a goal. You cannot control something that is scattered in all directions. That is why I ask for your purpose and why. Your mind will automatically see the goals and directions you desire and focus on those things that enable you to fulfill your purpose. Your true purpose is within you. You need to examine self and there lies your answer.

The Pre Shot Routine is not just for rhythm it is to help you control your mind. You cannot control something that is scattered. The shot includes four elements.

The shot offers you a target.
The shot asked for a specific stroke.
The shot ask for specific speed.
The shot ask you to deliver the cue through the cue ball in a precise manner.

You mind controls this. That is why you must be certain, via of your Pre Shot Routine, exactly what you want to achieve.

You have a goal. Make the ball and get position on the next shot. On any shot your face, you must deliver the ingredients within the shot to achieve your goal. If you goal is clear, your PSR will put you in position for success. If you are not using your PSR to control your mind, you are scattered and will be an inconsistent player.

The mind should see only those objects which bring the mind closer to the goals you have set forth. Therefore, the PSR is the only way you can begin your journey to pocket balls and get position on the next ball. There is no other way to gain the consistency you need to become a master.

Lesson Two
The Mind

The second part is that the mind thinks, remembers, and accumulates data. The most important quality of the second part of the mind is its capacity to hold on to the experience. This is why the PSR must match our goals and dreams, for that is the experience we must hold on to. If you are training in one of my programs, write down your missed shots. They represent a number. They do not represent an experience. You must be able to see the difference. In the mind, we process our experience. Your mind is processing the execution of the stroke. That is all. Once the cue tip makes contact with the cue ball, it is out of your hands and out of your control. You know if you made it or not simply by contact with the cue ball. So the point of focus is on the PSR and the execution. That is all we care about. The mind sees only those objects, which bring the mind closer to the goals you have set.

You will need to master the Drill Bytes Six-Pack completely without a miss before you can talk to me about mastering the PSR. During the execution of your stroke you should and pause in your breathing as during that pause you will be at your highest concentration. You must train in this fine art. Don't think you can do it consciously. It must become part of who you are.

Lesson Three
Preshot Routine

After I chalk up I connect to the shot, I know the stroke, I then go one two three and when I go down I pull in my breath. As I say "set, pause and finish," I am letting the breath out of my lungs. On the finish, I am at the pause. I have often been in situation that called for complete concentration and I stop to wonder if I had taken a breath at all. I actually forgot to breath I was concentrating so hard.

As you look at this PSR you can see it includes all the dynamics of a shot delivered by a Master. Chalk, connect, stroke. How can you attempt to deliver a stroke without doing these three things? Now you are prepared. One, two three puts you in position. Your breath in and the allowing of the breath out quiet the mind. A quiet mind has greater ability to focus on the task at hand. Your grip brings into focus your stroke. The stroke determines the track line. With a conscious awareness of what stroke you are going to use, your mind will not be able to function.

Remember, you mind operates out of its' memory. "Set", brings you to a state of alertness. Letting your lungs empty helps you to focus. "Pause", puts you in strike mode. Your breath is all the way out. You are not breathing, you are not doing anything. "Finish" allows you to deliver the perfect stroke. Train the mind to serve you. My latest DVD "Bring your game to its Highest Level" deals with the pre shot routine.

Lesson Four
The Mind

We are striving for perfection. What a wonderful calling. I often remark in jest to my wife, "I try to do everything perfect." It is simply humor. I joke about it because I want to relax my way to a mastership. I don't take it serious as my progress will happen if I am faithful to my journey.

I speak to you not as a master now but as a friend. If you do not have a clearly defined purpose, you should not work on the PSR. Within the PSR is spiritual development. You are timing your breaths to your mind, allowing your mind to focus at will, letting go of control, and during these times, without a clear purpose you will experience chaos. If your purpose is not clearly defined the mind will have no foundation from which to operate. Your development in this game will be hampered. If you want to develop a PSR you must be free of all distractions because you cannot leave any element out of your PSR. You must go through each step in order to arrive at the "pause" with no breath and one hundred per cent concentration and then you can experience the "finish."

Once your purpose is clearly defined, all physical and mental strength must be called into focus on it. The procedure necessary to achieve this end is called concentration. Concentration focuses power. The fine-tuning of this focus can be prayer. Our fervent wish is the direct expression of our prayer. Your concentration ability has an impact on your ability to speed up your journey to reach your goals. On your journey, as I have found so many times before, decisions and sacrifices must be made to achieve your purpose. The unique process of concentration contains the dynamics, which enhance your chances of success. If you look around and find yourself distracted you must realize who it is that has put you in that situation and you must understand who it is who has the power to get you out.

Now I suggest you take a read of my article outlining Billiards A New Stance and see how you should be positioned before taking a shot.