>: I do have to admit, though, that discussions for improving one's game
>: are very limited. The usual advice is just "practice, practice,
>: practice." Well, that's true, but there are many different ways of
>: practicing. Who does what to keep there game up (or to bring it up
>: farther)? Anybody find that "great" exercise for a specific shot (i.e.,
>: rail shots, spot shots, etc.)? I'd love to hear it.
> My answer is drills, but they have to be interesting and fun or
>they'll get dull. Here's my latest idea.
kind of numerical value at the end. This lets you assess how you are
doing, and it also gives you a goal.
[some good drills...]
>place, use Avery Reinforcement labels.
and over. However, sometimes you don't want to shoot the _exact_ shot
over and over, but really a sequence of _similar_ shots. The first part
of any shot involves figuring out where the cue ball is supposed to hit
the object ball. This is mostly a mental exercise, adjusting for object
ball throw, judging the right cut angle to get the right contact, and so
on. When you shoot the exact shot over and over, you may get mentally
lazy since you can start to skip this first step after a few repetitions.
But if the shot is varied a bit, you are forced to honestly do this first
step. At least this is what happens to me, maybe I'm lazier than average.
[some more good drills...]
Bob Jewett had an article in BD on some simple progressive drills. The
idea with progressive drills is that every time you succeed, you make the
shot harder in some way (e.g. more distance, tougher angle, more cue ball
action), and every time you fail you make the shot easier. When you do
this, you spend most of your time right at the edge of your skill level,
oscillating back and forth around your 50% point. This does two good
things. It gives you immediate feedback about how well you are doing
(that "numerical value" thing again), and you are neither bored with easy
shots nor frustrated with too difficult shots.
This principle applies also to more complicated tasks instead of just
single shots. For example, there is the progressive 9-ball drill. You
start by throwing out the 9-ball, take ball in hand, and shoot it in.
Then you throw out the 8-ball and the 9-ball, take ball in hand, and run
both balls. Every time you succeed with the runout, add another ball, and
every time you fail, remove a ball. This same idea can be applied to
other games too, 8-ball, one-pocket, whatever you think you need to work
on that session.
$.02 -Ron Shepard