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Bad Habits to Avoid. ~ Allan Sand

The vast majority of pool players—both casual and regular—have one or more of their fundamentals out of whack to some degree.

The problem mostly arises because the player never took the time to check with someone who could show him/her how and why to do things correctly. The closest most people come to correct fundamentals is a flawed imitation of the friend who introduced them to playing pool. And that example probably had many bad habits.

If you are serious about becoming a decent player, here is a list of bad habits that can slow down your learning curve:

  1. Grab the cue stick as close to the butt as possible, stretching your stick arm past your butt (yours—not the stick’s).

  2. While butt grabbing, raise the angle of the stick as close to 45 degrees as humanly possible.

  3. On the back stroke, wobble the stick side to side (or sometimes up and down), and then jab the stick forward “when it feels right.”

  4. Swinging the stick is a gentle sideways curve—usually because your hip is in the way!

  5. Angle your stick elbow away from your body while tucking the cue as close to your body as possible (aka chicken wing).

  6. After you put your bridge hand on the table, you lean forward to put your head directly over your hand. (Some people think this is aggressive).

  7. Put your stick hand as close to the half-way mark on the cue (on a jointed stick, this puts your stick hand right behind the joint).

  8. Grip the stick very firmly so that when you stroke, the stick rises into the air (looking for a balloon to puncture?).

  9. Alternate reason for firm stick grabbers—don’t want it to escape and fly across the room.

  10. Use a a long, long bridge—at least 18 inches from your bridge hand to the cue ball—because you think it looks cool.

  11. On every shot, you stand up during the shot—the famous “Jubilation” stroke.

  12. Shoot every shot as hard as you can because when you make it, people respect you.

  13. Move as many parts of your body as possible when making a shot.

  14. Shoot with the cue butt at least 20 inches above the table.

  15. Lift your head as far away from the cue as possible when you shoot.

  16. Close one eye when shooting (it’s just like firing a rifle, isn’t it?)

  17. Tilt your head to one side so that you look quizzical.

  18. Always hit the cue ball with side spin, it is much more fun to make the cue ball travel in unpredictable directions.

  19. Always forget to chalk.

  20. Don’t learn from doing something stupid.

  21. Don’t learn from doing something right.

  22. No matter how bad the setup—never play defense.

  23. Get very upset when someone plays a safety on you.

  24. Never, ever listen to someone’s advice.

  25. Always blame someone/something else for losing.

If you can identify one or more of these bad habits as part of your stroke, find someone who has a good reputation as an instructor and get help. There are a lot more but I’m getting tired of typing—so enjoy these.

One very important note to you Intelligent Shooters: when you see other players with bad habits, don’t waste time trying to educate them—instead, find ways to reduce their pocket change.

*blog originally posted on Billiard Gods

Allan Sand is a certified pocket billiards instructor, qualified by the PBIA (Professional Billiards Instructor Association) and ACS (American Cue Sports). His focus is on helping players become the “Intelligent Shooter” (thinking before shooting). He has played the Green Game for more than 50 years and now resides in Santa Clara, CA. He keeps his skills sharpen on a 5×10 Saunier & Wilhelm 1938 table with double-shimmed pockets. He has written 10 books on pocket billiards and produced five videos on how play better and smarter. He has one of the most popular billiards blogs on the planet with three posts every week.

Photo: {source} Editor: Dana Gornall
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