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The Eyes Have It
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More on The Eyes Have It
The Bounce/Hit of Pool

I originally wrote the first article in the summer of 2001. Since that time, many individuals have commented or provided feedback regarding the contents of the article. The purpose of this addendum is to pass along another observation.

The original article outlined a relaxed concentration drill to regain or improve your visualization, concentration, focus and rhythm. The drill basically is a two stroke pause and go drill. I indicated that this was a drill and that in game conditions you may take less or more that two warm up strokes before you loose the arrow.

I would like to share three styles I have observed in professional players.

  1. Loree Jon Jones - She takes several, sometimes 5-6, very rhythmic full length warm up strokes as she locks in on the target, takes a very slight pause and then executes her final stroke.
  2. Earl Strickland - When he gets in his rhythm he is a one (full length) and go or one, two (full length) warm up strokes and go player. To me, there is really no perceptible pause before he executes his final stroke. It is not hurried; his final stroke is just in the rhythm of his warm up strokes.
  3. Karen Corr - Karen generally takes one full length warm up stroke and then makes several very tiny (1" - 2") strokes as her eyes move between cue ball and object ball as she locks in on the target, takes a more deliberate pause and then executes her final stroke.

My point is this:

I frequently perform The Eyes Have It drill with the two warm up strokes with coordinated eye movements, pause, and then the final stroke. I use this as a drill to observe and train my eyes to be focusing properly on the tip placement on the cue ball and at the object ball, to sense the shot is on and then to make sure my eyes are properly focused and locked in on the target before I execute my final stroke. This drill has pulled me out of many a shooting slump.

My actual playing style falls into the Karen Corr category. I am a very deliberate individual and this approach fits my personality best. The tiny strokes with the coordinated eye movements really help me lock in on the target. Some of the sensations I experience before I take the final stroke are: I sense the entire line of the shot, I sense that the entire length of the cue is on line with the shot, even sensing where the butt of the cue is pointing and sensing that it is also on the line of the shot. I sense the feeling I will have when the tip is delivered through the cue ball and when I am playing well, I have absolutely no doubt that the ball is going in the pocket.

For many people the one, two and go method works very well in actual play. However, I think some people make the mistake of forcing that style into their game. For me, this style does not work in actual play as my eyes end up watching the cue tip move back and forth and they never really lock in on that final target. My stroke also tends to get real loopy when I use this method. While I agree my sense of rhythm feels better using this method the fact is I MISS way to many balls in actual play using this method. I just need that time to experience the sensations I described above before I execute my final stroke.

Recommendations:

You can observe a lot just by watching - Yogi Berra

Observe what you are doing when you are playing well. Which style do you fall into? Make a written record of that. Perhaps video tape yourself when you are playing well so you have something to come back to.

I agree that consistency is critical; however, I have just observed way too many players recently trying to force a pre-determined number of warm up strokes and then pull the trigger in their actual play. They never get their eyes locked back in on the target and miss by large margins.

An Al Stewart song lyric applies here:

Nothing thatís forced can ever be right
If it doesnít come naturally, leave it

If you are new to the game experiment with all three styles and find what works best for you.

Whatever style you use The Eyes Have It drill still applies. You need to have proper eye movements that are coordinated with the cue stick movements to get the cue stick on line and give yourself the best chance of delivering the cue tip accurately through the cue ball down the target line. I believe this drill helps accomplish that.

In actual play the number of warm up strokes, timing of your pause, and the execution of your actual stroke through the cue ball will vary by individual. The important point is that you learn what works for you and donít force something into your actual play that is not consistent with what you actually do when you are playing your best. You need to get to the point where you sense the shot is on before you loose the arrow. Loree Jon needs several warm up strokes to get that sensation, Earl Strickland one or two and Karen Corr locks in and obtains this sensation using small movements.

Observe what you are doing when you are playing your best. If you start missing balls you normally make come back to The Eyes Have It drill to get things coordinated again. Then, make sure you are locking in on the target and that you sense the shot is on in your actual play before you loose the arrow.

If you do not learn how to experience these sensations before your final stroke, the fact that you are taking the same number of warm up strokes is meaningless.

With proper observation you will find your natural playing style that will produce the most consistent results.

Good Luck.
Enjoy the Journey
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