I joined an 8 ball league in the APA. My team came in tied for first, but we ended up second because to break the tie they went back to the last time we played and who won the match. Could have gone either way if we had won. Fair is fair I guess.
The stroke...the Holy Grail of billiards and pool. I have been working on it for 6 months. It is a very delicate movement that can easily get side tracked by a variety of things... the main one being lack of focus at any given moment which will cause a fault in the application of the shot. The following is an excerpt from my blog:
Last Monday at the league night I did not play due to the match-ups. That in turn gave me time to analyse some of the strokes of the various players that played. It was like watching a movie. There were level cues, some slightly below level with the tip facing north of the equator, some with the butt raised various degrees, upright stances, side way stances, elbows flared out, wrist bent outward and inward,tight grips, forward grips and rear grips. And then there were a few miscues because some players forget what the chalk is for. The most entertaining was those who used body language. They are the ones you do not want to stand too close to less your eyeball becomes a cue ball.
In my quest for the perfect stroke I have become a student of the mechanics with more success than as a learner of the process. But, I am getting there. I even resorted to putting a piece of black electrical tape on the butt so that my grip hand is always in the same place. Except, if I have to move it for a reason. It is a matter of building a muscle memory that will become so automatic that I will not even thing about it. Thus far the improvement in my stroke has made a big difference in my game. It has also given me a more confident level during a match.
I've also been working on the nuances of the game like draw, position and english. In time, they too will fall into place because they are the result of an improved stroke. So what will be new for 2009? More of the same...
PRACTICE... PRACTICE... PRACTICE. If you do not have a good stroke your practice is a waste of time. As the cue ball goes... so goes the game.
Oh yeah... I'm going to work on my golf game also.