Pool Practice Routine - So Good, It's Like Cheating!

stroke, pool, billiards, drill, practice
Pool stroke straighteners are always welcomed. Photo (c) Matt Sherman, licensed to About.com, Inc.

How do you know if your pool stroke is super straight or not? Your pool practice routine determines whether you are straight or crooked. I'll make practice super easy for you, so don't be put off by the words "practice routine".

I have many pocket billiards, cushion billiards, and snooker students who want that beautiful, pure stroke, and I work hard to help them get there. My reply to a student who asks a question starts off some hot tips for straighter strokes.

Here's your great chance to make a "game" correction. An avid pool player. "Captain BW" writes:

"On your article, Matt, about pool stroke this is how I practice. Please tell me what you think.

Before I play I go through my routine from stance to grip. I hit a ball from one end of the table to the other and stop after my follow through. I wait to see where the ball comes back and do not start to play until it regularly returns to the tip of the cue where have finished my stroke.

Sometimes I take a little while but it seems like good practice."

Pool Practice Routine Cheat

My answer starts your first tip, readers:

Captain, I love the discipline you exhibit. When you go through your stance routine, it's like cheating at pool - it makes you that much better a player!

My issue lies in the practice routine itself. What if your table's alignment is off? Then your straight stroke drill will not give you truth.

Why wobble a ball to test the stroke? Did you know most rails have little wobble spots in them and that "to the rail and back practice" is only perfect on perfect tables?

How to See a Straight Stroke

You can always practice a straight stroke along the diamonds inlaid on the rails of the table. Even better for you (by a magnitude of about 200) is to use the CueTrack Stroke Trainer as reviewed here on this site.

Gerda Hofstetter strokes 250 times a day through her CueTrack, and she was already a top pro before she got a unit.

Here are the fun "drills" I recommend to get your stroke warm before you play pool. It's like perfect practice and pool cheating!

Ball Moves - As Good As Cheating

For your hand, aim and eye, the real stroke test is pocketing a tough ball with a smooth as silk, gorgeous stroke. My Home Again Pool Shot does it for my players:

1. Stick one of your object balls somewhere near the foot spot, but not on it (the foot spot is the place where the head ball goes in the rack for breaking).

2. Stick your cue ball somewhere near the head spot (the head spot is where the cue ball would be directly opposite the foot spot symmetrically on the table, middle of the table between the middle diamonds on the short rails and first two diamonds along the long rails).

3. Next, you pocket the object ball in either far corner BUT your cue ball must come "home again" to the head of the table, rolling three or four rails.

If you try to over-aim the object ball, it might make the pocket but you'll fail to score the cue ball home again. Same for if you hit too hard, use spin except for center ball/no spin, etc.

This is my stroke test for champions. Two or three of those get me warmed up for any pool challenge!