Pool can be a lot of fun to play, but letís be honest, itís only really enjoyable if youíre potting balls and winning games. While you canít expect to win every game you play, youíll want to have confidence when you step up to the table that youíve got a fighting chance of glory. Plus, nobody wants to be that person who always looks like theyíre picking up a cue for the first time, even on their 100th game.
Anybody can become a good pool player if they know how. In this article, weíll run through nine handy tips thatíll set you on the path towards success.
Work on Your Grip and Stance
When people think about getting better at pool, they usually think about doing trick shots and getting themselves out of stick defensive positions. Those things will certainly help, but really, the key to getting better at pool is to ensure that youíre consistently getting the basics right. The most fundamental part of playing a good pool shot ó which is all youíre trying to do ó is to grip the cue properly and have the correct stance. Your cue should be light and loose; your front foot should be shoulder distance in front of your back foot. Those two tips alone will help to hit the ball better on a more consistent basis.
Learn the Angles
Pool is all about angles. Youíre trying to hit one ball with another at an angle that will make it go into the pocket. Sometimes, youíll need the angle of the rest to get out of a safety shot. You donít need to be an expert in mathematics to understand where you should be hitting the ball. You can just see it with your eyes, with enough practice. One useful tip is to line the cue up against the ball that youíre going to hit and see where on the ball you would need to strike to make it go into the pocket. Then, hit the other ball onto it at that point. Youíll get close.
Watch The Pros
You can learn a lot by watching the players who are better than you are. There are plenty of pool tournaments shown on television that can help you to gain a better understanding of the sport. You may not be able to strike the ball as they do, but youíll pick a few handy tips that can improve your play, such as which shot should be taken. Plus, youíll see how they deal with other situations, such as when they make a mistake or when theyíre trapped behind an opponentís ball, all of which can help your own play.
Play Against Better Players
Thereís only so much you can progress if youíre playing against the same people again and again. And thatís especially true if youíre consistently beating those players. If you want to get better, then youíll need to play against better opponents. Youíll usually find higher-quality players at the pool hall rather than the bar, so head down there and see whoís around to play. Just be sure not to play for money; if theyíre in a pool hall, theyíll be good. Itís better to bet on professional pool tournaments with a betting offer from OddsChecker rather than betting on your own games. Donít worry if the better players teach a lesson or two on the table; thatís what youíre there for. Over time, youíll likely find that youíre increasingly able to hold your own.
Learn to Choose The Correct Balls
One of the easiest ways to improve your chances of winning a pool is to select the right balls. When itís an open table, many players opt to just pot the easiest ball thatís available to them. But this isnít always the correct move. Itís worthwhile taking a few moments to assess the layout of the table, to see whether stripes or solids are in a better position. You might have an easy solid ball to pot, but if all the other solid balls are against the cushion, then it wonít be the right choice.
Think of the Following Shot
Thereís one clear way to tell beginner pool players from more advanced players. Beginner players focus all their attention on potting the ball thatís in front of them. Better players think about the ball theyíre going to and where the cue ball will be left after theyíve finished. Theyíll try to set themselves up to pot the next ball rather than just hoping that luck does the work for them. Itís much easier to win games if youíre potting two balls every time itís your turn at the table, rather than just one.
Improve Your Concentration
Concentration is a deeply undervalued asset when playing pool. While many can pot a ball, not many have the concentration skills required to pot every time theyíre at the table. If youíve played pool, then youíll know there are times when youíre so focused that you just canít miss. And there are other times when youíre absent-mindedly going to the table and just hitting a poor shot. If you can increase your concentration levels, then youíll experience more time ďin the zone,Ē which should result more frequent victories.
Improve Your Defensive Game
Most people think that winning a pool game depends on their ability to pot a ball. But thatís only some of the story. In many cases, itíll be your defensive game that brings victory. If youíre behind, then you need to slow down your opponent, and the best way to do that is to play defensive shots that make it difficult for them to pot. Work on your shooting ability by all means, but donít underestimate the importance of good defensive play.
And finally, the best way to become a better pool player is to simply practice, practice, practice. Youíll find that youíre regularly beating part-time players if youíre committing more time to the table, especially if youíre practicing your play individually.