The pre-shot routine is a much talked and written about phenomenon in the game of golf, and as important as it is in golf, it is in playing pool.
An effective pre-shot routine leads to consistency in your game and successful results over and over again. There are plenty of items on your physical checklist to take care of in a short amount of time and if you’ll need a solid mental pre-shot routine as well, to keep you focused on the task at hand which is getting both the object ball and cue ball to go and land where you want.
Clear thinking presides over all of it. Know with clarity what you are working to accomplish on every shot. That being said, build in clear thinking to your routine. This could be classified as (pre)-pre-shot routine. Thinking over your strategy, even if it’s just a visual glance of the table to see the pattern so that you know with confidence what your first shot will be, is critical to winning pool matches consistently, and against tough opponents. To keep them in the chair, get clear on your game strategy.
Once you’ve decided on a shot, know get clear on that shot. You’ll never be a great position player if you don’t pick out where exactly you want the cue ball to land. You’ll also have a slower time adjusting to table conditions if your targets are hazy at best.
Now that you know what you are planning to do with clarity, it’s time to get set up. This is the beginning of the real pre-shot routine, and it begins with your feet. In particular your back foot. You’ve got to be aware of your back foot and it’s position in relation to your shot. This helps set up your stance for the entire shot. Both feet are really involved so lets call this your foot work. Good foot work is essential in playing top level pool. Most people do this on auto pilot and it works for them. Even pros do it on auto pilot. The difference is that a top pro has put thought and time into making their foot work as good as possible so that their automatic mode happens to be awesome, by design, and conducive to playing consistent run out pool.
The best foot work out there can only be guided by the best planning or visualization for the shot. Keep that in mind. What you want to do is set up your feet at the proper distance from the cue ball on every shot, so that the rest of your pre-shot routine can flow in proper sequence and order. So start to think about the spacing between your feet and the cue ball, and focus on setting that up properly before each shot.
Enjoy and see how that awareness helps your consistency in playing pool!
See you soon…
PS: I do cover how to set up your feet in more detail in powerful pool which is available as online videos to watch or download for members of propoolacademy.com or for anyone to order as a physical dvd set.