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P O O L    S H O O T E R

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

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Breathing, rhythm, consistency, control


Breathe in.
Breathe out.


Notice how your body and your mind relax when you breathe out.
This is good.
A relaxed body is healthy.
A relaxed mind is clear, unworried, free of stress.

Learning breath control is one of the most important things you can do to improve your pool game, and your life in general.  I learned this when I was learning and practicing yoga every day over a period of years.  In yoga, breath control is essential to build strength and flexibility.  With this background in yoga, I started to learn pool, and it was surprising to me that there was virtually nothing written about how breath control is integrated into the sport.   So I had to experiment on my own.  Soon I discovered that it is best for me to start releasing my breath just prior to releasing my stroke, and in such a way as to still be releasing that same breath after the stroke is finished.

I also learned the importance of the pre-shot routine and I made breathing a definite part of the pre-shot routine, coupled closely with walking around the table as a way to relax, get into a rhythm, see more options, line up the shot more effectively, and add consistency to my game.  This was one of the secrets that El Maestro Tony Sorto mentioned over and over: rhythm.  Unfortunately, in the early days of my pool education, I had no idea what he was talking about when he mentioned rhythm... I just wanted to put the ball in the pocket.  I was completely unconscious of the finer points of the game.  Rhythm is created by our breathing, and our movements.  It starts with breathing.

I discovered over time that rhythm is the visual music which is evident when a player's movements are consistent from one shot to the next.  Rhythm is revealed in how quickly or slowly the player moves, how he carries his body, facial expressions, how he sits while waiting for a shot, etc.

For players with the best rhythm (in my humble opinion), I suggest you study Allison Fisher and Ralf Souquet.  You will notice that they are in total control, starting with their breathing, their emotions, their moves, their strokes, their game.  Carefully study their behavior when they are not shooting and you will see that they are in such total control that it is almost inconceivable that they would miss a shot.  

These are the best examples I can think of to study the effectiveness of consistent control of breathing as a method for emotional and physical control through rhythm.


Blogger Robert Johnson said...

On a long, straight, important shot where any small twist or jump in my stroke can cause loss of game, I "let the air" out of my tires -- I breath out continuously as I stroke the stick straight forward. I tell my teammates, "breathe out on your shot", but they usually look at me like I am from Mars. They ignore me and jump up on their shots.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009 4:06:00 PM  

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