The 5 Most Common Mistakes ALL Pool Shooters Make

One of the nice things about teaching a lot of lessons is that I get to see a lot of students. Using a performance model rather than a commodity model, I expect to get better at what I do the more I do it, rather than wear out my skill set over time.

Alright everyone get in line, we’re all guilty of these 5 mistakes.

Hopefully I’m getting better at this pool thing! As my experience grows, I keep seeing the same recurring problems holding players back from being the best they can be. We have looked at some of these ideas before, but it is not a bad idea to revisit them at the beginning of the year.

1. Raising/Dropping Your Cue Stick

First is having a level stick. When you hit down on the cue ball even slightly, there is a force pushing the cue ball into the table, causing it to jump and curve, neither of which is good for accuracy. Here is a picture of me playing with a level stick.

Shooting Pool with a Level Cue Stick

Here is a picture of me playing with a level stick.

[READ: 3 Drills to Keep Your Cue Stick Level]

2. Staying on the Vertical Axis

Next is making sure you are hitting the cue ball on the vertical axis. This ensures that the cue ball will travel in the direction your cue stick is pointing. Any hit off the vertical axis causes the cue ball to squirt off the cue stick line, causing misses.

[READ: Keeping It Simple – Staying on the Vertical Axis]

3. Taking Your Eyes off the Object Ball

Excessive head movement caused by eyes darting around. Make sure that your eyes are focused on the object ball for at least one second before you pull the trigger and swing.

[READ: What to Look When You’re Playing Pool]

4. Jerking the Cue Stick

Jerking your stick back is another cause of a lot of misses. You want to pull your stick back slowly and slightly pause before you start your forward swing. This pause doesn’t have to be too long, but there has to be a transition between pulling your stick back and going forward.

[READ: Controlling Our Cue Stick]

5. Not Controlling Your Swing

The final part of the swing I want to look at today is the part where you swing your stick forward. There are two things here that are important. First is to make sure you start your swing slowly, and not jerk the stick forward in any way. Next is to swing all the way through the cue ball and not hit it and tighten up. I like to imagine my grip hand swinging all the way to the object ball.

[READ: The Basics – Hitting Softly]

Incorporate these ideas into your pool game and I think you will like the results!

Have a great pool year and see you on the road.

Continue Your Pool Odyssey with BCA Instructor Mark Finkelstein:

  1. Getting Better at Pool – A Pool Odyssey I
  2. The Basics – Hitting Softly I A Pool Odyssey II
  3. Keeping It Simple – Stay on the Vertical Axis I A Pool Odyssey III
  4. 3 Drills to Keep Your Cue Stick Level I A Pool Odyssey IV
  5. How to Stand at the Table: 5 Steps to the Perfect Pool Stance V
  6. What Do We Look At? – A Pool Odyssey with Mark Finkelstein VI
  7. Controlling Our Cue Stick I BCA Instructor Mark Finkelstein VII

About the Author
Mark Finkelstein is a professional pool player, a BCA Master instructor, an American Cue Sports (ACS) Level 4 instructor, and House Pro at Slate Billiards in New York. He is also a former UPA Touring Pro and has played on the Joss 9-Ball Tour. Mark is leading instructor and can be found at other sites like NYC Grind, Easy Pool Tutor, and Inside Pool Magazine. Mark has also authored a book with McNally Jackson aptly titled, “Pool Ramblings.”