A big part of putting yourself into a trance of consistency is your stroking pattern during your warmup strokes.  An entire book, Pleasures of Small Motions by Bob Fancher Ph.D. was written with this aspect of your game as being THE most important part of performance on the pool table.  There is some merit to this.

If you take a look at video of Efren Reyes at various stages throughout his long career and pay attention to his pre-shot stroking pattern, you’ll notice how little variation there is in what he does as the years go by.  Every top player develops their way of taking warmup strokes and that becomes very helpful or necessary in creating rhythm inside of their game.

The coordination of your eyes to the movement of your cue is very important and you ought to put some effort into finding a way of doing it that works for you.  Once a player “gets in stroke” that also means that their arm and grip are warmed up along with their eye movement sequence as it relates to the warm up strokes and final delivery of the cue.  If you do all of the previous components of your pre-shot routine, get your bridge set firmly, and THEN get into your stroking/eye movement pattern, your likely hood of success on any given shot will increase 10 fold.

There is no magical one correct way of organizing your practice strokes or some magical number of practice strokes for you to take, yet when you find one that does work for you, that becomes your magical result producing sequence.  You might be in “dead punch” and only take one or two practice strokes every shot.  This is possible with superior attention to detail in your shot set up process.  Three, four, five, or six warmup strokes may be your magic number, or 15.  Somewhere in the single digits should get the job done though, and it can vary a bit on shorter easier shots compared to longer tough shots.

One general guideline is to look at the cue ball as your cue tip is going into the cue ball, and look back at the object ball as you pull away from the cue ball.  Then before your last backswing, lock your eyes up at the object ball and THEN start your last back swing and then deliver your actual stroke.  There can be so much variation that I give this as a GUIDELINE, yet work on it, look at your favorite pros, and come to settle on something that works for you…

My grandpa always marveled at local players who ‘sawed too much wood” meaning just stayed down taking practice strokes forever before each shot.  As you improve, your pattern should become more refined without the need to stay down forever on a shot.  With the disciplined adherence to all the components of pre-shot routine, finding a good pace will find it’s way to you.

Good luck with that and see you soon…

Max Eberle

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