question everything


“Wrong—the ‘butterfly!'”

“Wrong—the rigid clench”

– Ray Martin & Rosser Reeves, The 99 Critical Shots in Pool



Lay the cue over the rail . . . Now, drop your right foot back until the toe is about in the middle of your left foot, at the same time turning the toe of your right foot slightly to the right (roughly 30º).  Now bend forward at the hips, which means bending your left leg—but keep your right leg straight.  As you bend and shift the center of gravity forward, you will find that to be comfortable you will also be turning your left foot slightly to the right.  You are now bending forward with your weight evenly distributed on both feet, and you can lean forward into the stroke.

As you lean forward, however, keep your weight on both feet.  If you shift it too much to the front leg, which is bent, then big muscles must support you.  If you shift too much to the back leg, you will feel a strain coming straight up into the pelvis.  On both feet, however, you are in an easy and solid position.

– Ray Martin & Rosser Reeves, The 99 Critical Shots in Pool

Face the shot.  Before you even bend over to shoot, there is a line up of three points—the chin, the cue ball and the exact place you want the cue ball to go.  Turn your body slightly to the right without your chin is leaving the point of line up [sic].  Bend over at the waist, put your bridge hand down 7 to 10 inches from the cue ball so that your chin is 2 to 8 inches directly above the cue stick.  Adjust your feet to distribute your body weight approximately 50/50 . . . A generally accepted stance when you are in your shooting position is to have the tip of the right toe directly under the line of the cue and the left toe slightly to the left side of the line of the cue.  This should allow a 4 to 6 inch gap between the hip and the cue for freedom of movement.

A common mistake made by beginners in their shooting position is to have the shoulders and chest facing the cue ball.  A preferred technique is to turn the left shoulder out in front and the right shoulder back thus turning the chest more to the right.  This makes a better body alignment . . .

– BCA, Billiards: The official Rules and Records Book


solicitation is illegal is some states

as i mentioned previously, i just recently started playing again.  it’s a little sad in some ways, because all the same people are still there and playing at the same level.  it’s as if no one cares about improving themselves; they are content just batting balls around all day.  sometimes i wonder if they have life outside of the pool hall.  do they dine out with friends?  spend time with family?  read?

none of my business, i guess.

now that i’m playing again, some folks at the pool hall had asked where i’ve been.  it feels nice to have people ask about you. strangely, no one related my absence to work. i honestly thought they would think that i was busy working.  perhaps working is a foreign concept at the pool hall.  i sometimes think that people become pool players to avoid working a job.  i’ve talked to some players who would flat out confess that to you.  “f~* work,” they would say.  the downside is a lack of health insurance, 401k, and a steady source of income.  but pool players seem to get around those societal constraints somehow.

anyway, i saw a sprinkling of new faces at the pool hall.  this one dude was practicing near me.  he seemed to have a decent stroke and solid techniques, and was pocketing balls just fine.  then along came moe.

moe (not his real name) is one of the regulars at the pool hall.  he plays a decent game, and is fairly respected in the pool circle for having been around a long time.  many consider him to be semi-pro.  so moe spotted the young’un and right away introduced hisself first thing.  the second thing that came out of moe’s mouth was to inquire the youngster if he ever took pool lessons.

a little context here.  i don’t really know what moe does for a living.  from what i hear, moe does the occasional cue repair, sells them if he can, and gives lessons when he can wrangle up a few suckers customers.  so pool lessons is one way he gets that bread & buttuh.

gee, you’re awfully mean, poolriah.  maybe so.  the thing is, if someone pitches me pool lessons, or any lesson, there will be several things running through my mind.  is he any good?  can he teach?  will his playing style jive with mine?  has anyone heard of this person?  why is he so interested in giving me lessons?

you get the gist.

i understand that moe has to eat.  i don’t begrudge him of that.  i am wondering what criteria do we use when it comes to pool instructors.  if you’re new to pool, how would you know which teacher you can trust?  are you paying too much and learning too little?  maybe your instructor’s style just doesn’t work with you, either physically or mentally.  who do you ask?

after moe made his pitch, he started giving pointers to the young’un, telling to play shape this way and that.  from what i could see, the young’un seemed to play worse the more tips moe gave.

*cue the captain picard face palm meme*

another one bites the dust.

here is an unrelated thought.  i think you can have tremendous power but very little stroke.  i’ve observed many players who could hit the ball with bunker buster force but do very little with the cueball.  it’s as if the atomic power that struck the ball just dissipated immediately after the collision, leaving nothing to move the cueball.  a very strange phenomenon.

’til next time, gentle readers.


so this is the first post of this year.  i guess i missed that whole resolution boat by almost a month, but i don’t make resolutions, so it makes no difference to me.  hopefully you folks won’t mind.

i have not played any pool for a while now; work has occupied most of my time since i perpetually need money for expenses.  but although i am not physically playing, it still takes up a good piece of real estate in my head, if you subscribe to the mind-is-an-attic-slash-storage-space theory.  if you believe that memory is like an elastic, expandable band, then pool takes up approximately 24 GB of . . . never mind.  wayyy off topic.

like i mentioned in the past, power has been a pool ability that has eluded me for years.  i have consistently had trouble with power in pool.  being able to generate power, and thereby having a powerful stroke, remains a topic that i pursue.  unfortunately, i don’t know anyone who can teach me a powerful stroke, so i decided to watch alot of videos to figure out what the deal is.  i concentrated on players who are known to have a powerful stroke so i can try to figure out what i am not doing.  the process took me some time and alot of thought, but i was able to generate more power now.  to be more precise, i am able to use my existing power more efficiently, thereby increasing my power on the table.  so i did not change physically, but i improved my technique to get a better result from what i have.  now that i have started playing again, i was able to put my research to the test.  glad to say that everything works.

since i’ve been busy, i’ve only had time to watch a few movies.  the wolverine was surprisingly decent; it’s a side story, so those who are really into the orthodox wolverine canon may scoff at this film, but it’s a fun action flick if you don’t take it too seriously.  man of steel is another surprise hit; the special effects in particular are awesome.  watch it on your brand new hdtv to really take it in.  i also watched drug war, a movie from mainland china.  this film was a bit disappointing; the story is a pretty linear police drama, with a few twists inserted in between.  if you missed this one you didn’t miss much.

one final note.  allie brosh of hyperbole and a half has written a book titled Hyperbole and a Half.  it’s probably one of the most endearing book you’ll read, so pick up a copy.