17 Deadly Mistakes That Keep You Losing At Billiards

Reg Hardy

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Chances are, this is where you live in Billiards. You are just beginning and have found you enjoy the game. There is more to it than that. This is a game you can come to love, but if you don't get out of these 17 deadly mistakes. . . well I wouldn't recommend you buy your own cue.

These 17 deadly mistakes show up in four major areas: Vision, Preparation, Execution and Bad Habits. That's right, pull the sheet away and let's take a look at them, better still, one by one, eliminate them from your game.


Deadly Mistake #1

Thinking like a player and not like a contender.

This is not just a game like Canasta or Monopoly.

The day of the social pool player is fading. It is being supplanted by the idea of becoming a steadily learning and improving contender. This is a concept many miss completely when starting out.

You can't be absorbed with the idea if you win, you will hurt your friend who you happen to be beating. Settle on one objective, I CAME TO WIN!! This will help you focus on a single goal.

Deadly Mistake #2

You have not made a commitment to mastering the Basics of Billiards.

Let's go back to Canasta a moment: We all know how to shuffle, (well most of us do) cards; we can deal the whole deck; and we can count a hand well enough to decide how we'll play the game. We don't have to re-learn these basic every time we sit down to play.

Billiards is and should be the same when it comes to building your foundational skills.

The rock solid basics are stance, grip, bridge, stroke and aiming-we'll get into the right way in another article, right now we are trying to slip free of deadly mistakes.

Deadly Mistake #3

You are not dedicated to lifelong learning—Billiards is not a game of instant success. You will find steady improvement only comes over a period of years and much practice.


Deadly Mistake #4

You don't have a game winning strategy and don't know where to find one. Strategy is your overall approach to the game whether you play in weekly matches, leagues or tournaments. A good strategy consists of several tactics such as Safety Play, Break and Run, and pattern play.

Deadly Mistake #5

You have not taken the time to find your unique game-Look at things not instrumental to your game, positioning of your grip hand, to cup or not cup the grip wrist, maybe a new twist to the bridge. Be an early adopter of new technology like specialized eyewear. How about the new cue extensions? Practice to perfect right or left hand cue use. In fact, all attempts at becoming unique will involve a lot of practice to make it a habit.

Deadly Mistake #6

You have no confidence in your skill set—You lack consistency and find it difficult to maintain a game plan for more than two or three shots.

Deadly Mistake #7

You focus on any pocket-hugging ball on the table as the target of choice without regard to its higher purpose.

Deadly Mistake #8

You don't prepare yourself by knowing your opponent's game. Study your opponent from the chair or from the sidelines, even when you are not playing him or her.

Deadly mistake #9

You don't persist in developing a pre-shot routine that employs all the basics. This is a must for your game. It is the starting point for every shot. If you don’t have one, eventually you will falter.

Deadly mistake #10

You fear rejection—The closer you get to a win, the greater your anxiety, you don’t want to cause disappointment in others. If you think this isn’t true, how come you have a hard time playing someone who isn’t even close to your skill level?

Deadly mistake #11

You do not make runs because you have no rhythm because you have no routine because you are too easily distracted. Watch a billiards pro. You can almost set a metronome to his or her game.


Deadly mistake #12

You shoot poorly because you are trying to remember a dozen different stroke shot techniques instead of one: sinking the ball in front of you.

Deadly mistake #13

You leave the table before the balls stop rolling and have no idea why you missed.

Deadly Mistake #14

You set up your bridge over a ball with wobbly fingers and then go through an aiming routine that has your cue swinging like a searchlight.

Deadly Mistake #15

You pass on a simple rail shot in favor of a table length cut shot.


Deadly Mistake #16

You resort to the mechanical bridge when a little stretching across the table would give you a more solid base for the shot.

Deadly Mistake #17

You exhibit a negative pessimistic attitude as opposed to a positive, optimistic outlook for your game.

Reg Hardy is chief cook and bottle washer at Billiards Crossing, the web's only exclusive members only site devoted to the fine art of billiards improvement. This site now featues over 120 articles, e-books and other resources specifically for casual pool players who want to better their game. Check out the trail membership, log onto the Headspot forum and book a session in the Cross Talk chat room. Stop by http://www.billiardscrossing.com , Where Good Players Get Better!


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