Some of the following tips are pool-playing specific and some are game-specific. First, lets look at the pool-playing specific ones.
Always keep your head down when shooting pool. Place your aiming eye directly over the pool cue so you can sight right down the shaft of the stick . This will allow you to sight right down the path of the shot and definitely help your aim.
Follow through on your shots when playing pool. Take a long smooth stroke and let the tip of the cue follow right through where the cue ball was. Don't take short choppy strokes. This will make your shoot straighter and will definitely make you more shots.
Always chalk your cue tip before every shot. Chalk on the stick provides a better grip on the cue ball and prevents miscues. You'll have much more control on the cue ball with the use of chalk.
Try to avoid all outside distractions. You must concentrate on the game at hand to play your best. Distractions will only cause you to miss shots and become aggravated.
Practice as much as you can. Practice is always time well spent. Practice in a thoughtful manner and don't just knock the balls around. Try shooting particular shots that you have missed in the past until you can make them regularly.
These tips are more game-specific to the game of 8-ball.
Develop a good hard break shot. It is a huge advantage to make balls on the break because you get to keep shooting and can possibly run the rack. Try hitting the cue ball from the side of the table and hit the second or third ball in the rack instead of the head ball. This may make you more balls on the break.
8-Ball is a game of position, so plan more than more than one shot ahead. Always be on the lookout for your next couple of shots. That way you won't get stuck without a shot as often. Try to visualize at least your next two shots after the one you are currently shooting at.
Always try to leave the cue ball in a good spot to make your next shot. The use of follow, draw, or english is ideal for this. This is called position play and is used by all the best players.
Don't be afraid to play defense. If you can't make a particular shot, place the cue ball at a spot where it is difficult for your opponent to make a shot. This is a perfectly legal way to play the game, even if your opponent may not appreciate it.
Try to avoid bank shots if you can. They are more difficult to make than most cut shots. The bank just adds another layer of difficulty to a shot. Pick a ball near the 8 ball that will be your key ball. Try to save this ball for last so that when you hit it in, you will have a good shot for the 8 ball.
Observe other good 8-ball players and see how they play. Watch how they break and how they choose their shots. Ask them how they decide which shots to take and how to leave the cue ball - of course, after the match is over.
Ernie Reynolds is a long-time pool and billiards player. His sites - http://www.pool-and-pocket-billiards-resource.com and http://www.pool-for-beginners.com , are evidence of his love for the game and his desire to share the wealth of knowledge he and others have acquired over the years. See these sites for game descriptions, equipment care and maintenance, playing tips, pool accessories, billiards history, links, how-to videos, and more.