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The Adventures of FastMikie
in search of Truth and Beauty in the art of pocket billiards.




Sunday, November 25, 2007

Beginner's Mind - The Lag Shot

I have been giving some thought
to how I will get back in stroke
after I am recovered from my shoulder injury.
That got me to thinking about
different drills that may help.

Then, I took it one step more,
as I often do,
when I look deeply into the nature of things,
especially around the time of the New or Full moon.

I imagined that I was new to the game,
a rank beginner who never hit a ball,
and also that I was a teacher.
What would I have a novice do first?

The answer I got was the lag shot.
It is very basic, just the cue ball, no object,
and yet combines the elements of speed control,
absolute center ball hit,
follow through,
stance, grip, etc.

I devised a simple drill to test all this:
Taking ball in hand, lag 10 times.
Mark the resting place for each shot
(using self-adhesive ring binder hole reinforcements)
to give visual evidence
of the consistency of the results.

I probably did this lag drill at least 10 times today.
Certainly more than 100 shots in all.

At first I was all over the place,
and I noticed that my pre-shot routine
was highly erratic.
So I focused on the process,
and not so much on the results.

After lots of attention to what I was doing,
I devised a pre-shot routine as follows:

I started each shot from the same stance,
about 5 feet away from the table,
and moved into the shot
keeping my eyes burned into the
cue ball, exactly where I intended to hit it,
on the vertical centerline,
just above horizontal centerline.

I move forward from the pre-shot stance
at the moment of completing a full breath in,
and release the breath as I move to address the ball.
One more breath in as I take warm up strokes,
then release the breath, then stroke through the ball,
staying down until the ball reaches the far rail.

The challenge in all of this is
to stay in the moment,
to think of noting else but the shot at hand,
and to do this consistently for all 10 shots.
I found it helpful to think to myself:
"Come back to the rail"
at the time of the stroke.

I videotaped all of these drills today,
adjusting the camera position many times
to find the ideal location
to analyze my stroke,
and to correlate it with the result.

The entire process was very educational,
and I highly recommend it.

I'll have a video and photo soon.
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