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INTRODUCTION: The following submitted tips should give you a new perspective on some aspects of your game. If you would like to submit a tip to the 8 Knights website, please do so via our contact information.

AN AID TO CUE POWER: [Submitted by mark163] For people who may lack a little cue power, e.g.. Stopping the cue ball from long distance, try bridging 2 inches further back from the cue ball, makes it easier to stop it and work it from distance and less power is needed. There is obviously a limit to how far you can bridge from the cue ball but some people cue very close and have a problem with power , this should help.

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BEYOND THE BASICS, THROW, CURVE AND SQUIRT: [Submitted by Bob Moss] I'm not what you would consider an instructor but am advanced enough to get annoyed when looking for info on using advanced techniques for position play and shot making. It seems that most instructions and books are so directed to basic shot making.

The most valuable shots I have in my arsenal at this point beyond the basic shot making are being able to consistently judge and make throw shots, squirt and curve shots. They have gotten me out of more snookers than I care to count. Practice your throw and curves and you will leave your opponent wondering how you made that shot when he knew he had you snookered. It is something that is not commonly taught and many players unless very advanced ever even know. Learn these shots and you will add a whole new dimension to your game and skill level from getting out of tight spots to position play and leaves. I'll leave it to the instructors to tell how but Robert Byrne's goes into some detail in his book Advanced Techniques in Pool and Billiards.

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POOL PLAYERS ACADEMY: [Submitted by Lester Raymond Dulawan]

HOW SERIOUS IS YOUR GAME?
Would you like to take it to the next level? Pool Players Academy utilizes a scientific training system and training regimen designed to target all aspects of pool play far better than any textbook or video can offer.

HOW STRONG IS YOUR GAME?
Would you like to balance and eliminate any weak points? Students trained under the program learn how to gauge and exploit the weak points of their opponents thus winning percentage increases dramatically after each training level.

HOW FOCUSED IS YOUR MENTAL GAME?
Would you like to know how a pro thinks through his game? Choke syndrome, heavy tensions during the match, you are trained to automatically respond to this situations and turn this negative thoughts into beneficial ones. Scientific data and comprehensive skills training work in tandem to boost your confidence level and reduce panic and pressure built up during matches.

HOW EFFECTIVE ARE YOUR STRATEGIES DURING MATCHES?
Would you like to know what works best? Skill Level and strategic play compliments each other. Winning matches and dominating your opponent will come easy when the balance between skill and strategy is achieved.

WOULD YOU LIKE TO LEARN MORE?
After years of careful planning, the Pool Player's Academy would soon be open to poolplayers who wants to achieve the above. Ever wondered why world class players from other parts of the world come here to hone their skills before that all important match? Lessons carefully compiled and constructed into different levels that could be easily learned and absorbed by the students to exponentially improve their potential in pool in a shorter span of time. In line with Easypooltutor.com vision, the Pool Player's Academy would be providing lessons online to help poolplayers elevate their game to the next level.

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EIGHT-BALL TIPS; IT'S CHOICE NOT CHANCE THAT WINS: [Submitted by themonk] In the game of eight ball you will be exposed to many pitfalls. This is not an easy game. It is tough. You are required to make decisions while in the heat of battle. Unlike nine ball, where you go from one ball to the next, in the game of eight ball you have choices. To be successful, you must develop the ability to make your choice, and feel one hundred per cent certain. Here is the problem for most league players. They decide to play the twelve ball, and think about the fifteen ball. They make their decision, but still have reservations. This is not the way to stroke a shot. Remember, The stroke, minus the interference, equals the shot. Be sure you are fully committed to what you intend to do.

You'll face uncertainty

You will be faced with shots where you are not sure what is going to happen to the cue ball. The cue ball is going for a ride and you cannot control it. In this situation, you are “playing for a roll”. Make that commitment. I will pocket this ball. “I am playing for a roll”. I have “I am playing for a roll” T Shirts.

I have another saying about this type of shot. I am going to pocket this ball and “take my medicine”. How many times have you missed a shot because you were attempting difficult position on the next shot? Sometimes you need to put the ball in the pocket, and take the tough shot in front of you. This is “taking your medicine”. I have won many game by “taking my medicine”. I’m straight in. I can’t get down table. I can only stop the cue ball and take a chance on the bank shot. This is all I have. To pretend otherwise, is to fool myself. So I “Take my medicine” and go for the bank. With Dr. Cue’s banking system, The Monk 202 series, I am very good at banking balls. As a result of the “taking my medicine” mode, I win more games. Give yourself a chance for a win. Don’t take yourself out of the match by missing the shot in front of you. After every game of eight ball, ask yourself if; “I came to win” or “I play for a roll” and “I take my medicine.”

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GAME PLAN FOR SAFETY PLAYS: [Submitted by Buddy Lory] After deciding to play a safe, a lot of players have no idea of what to do next. Listed below are some of the criteria I use for executing a safety and hints for good safety play.

Criteria:

1. Snooker or hide opponent so he cannot shoot directly at the object ball.
2. Do not put the object ball near a pocket.
3. If the situation dictates that you cannot hide or snooker the opponent. Leave him a bank; preferably long one or a short bank with a bad angle.
4. On certain safeties leaving a long straight in shot will work.
5. Leave the cue ball on the rail or cushion, this will cut down the area on the cue ball he can hit.
6. Another good safety is to leave your opponent over a ball (jacked up), where he is forced to elevate the butt of the cue.

Hints:

1. Travel of the cue ball or the object ball should be kept to a minimum. If both balls are traveling long distances they are harder to control. I usually pick one or the other, if I choose a cue ball safety I will hit object ball thin (little movement) then try to place the cue ball in a safe position. If I choose an object ball safe I will stop or stun the cue ball (little movement) shooting the object ball to a safe position.

2. When shooting a soft safety where both balls are close together and will not travel far, use a very short stroke. Using a long stroke will make it difficult to stop the cue stick. Try this, using a long stroke hit the cue ball and make it travel around 1 or 2 inches, very hard if not impossible to do. Now try the same shot with a very short stroke.

I cannot count the number of times I witnessed games being won with a good safety. Defense is just as much a part of playing high level pool as is running out. Armed with these criteria and hints I hope your safety play will improve.

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PREDATOR BLUES: [Submitted by Joe D'Aguanno] So a few months ago after reading all the hype about radial consistency and 29% less deflection you sold your old favorite cue that you've used for a long time and bought a new Predator. At first everything was great but ever so slowly you game has gone downhill. You've lost that confidence that you once had in your hard earned abilities and sometimes you're frustrated enough that you even think about giving up the game. You still make most of the shots that you used to but not the more difficult shots or the ones that require finesse especially when using english. Worse yet you have to struggle to beat players that used to be no problem.

The good news is that you can get your game back and bring it to new heights if you understand the differences between your old stick and your new Predator.

First let us review some principals on deflection. Anytime the cue ball is struck to the left or right of its vertical center both the cue ball and cue stick veer away from each other away from the original point of aim. That is to say if you strike the cue ball to the right of center the tip end of the cue stick will veer to the right after contact and the cue ball will veer to the left. This of course will cause the cue ball to impact the object ball to the left of the point of aim requiring you to adjust you aim to the right. The harder you shoot the greater the deflection of both the stick and cue ball requiring you to aim further in the direction of the english that you are using. If you shoot hard enough you will have to aim well outside the object ball into thin air to make up for the deflection. To make matters worse when shooting soft or very soft the deflection is negligible on both the stick and the cue ball and you will need to compensate heavily for object ball throw. This requires you to compensate in the opposite direction than you would for deflection. If you are using right english and are shooting softly it will throw the object ball to the left and you will need to adjust your aim to the left.

At this point you should begin to see a pattern. When shooting softly with english compensate your point of aim on the object ball in the opposite direction of the applied english. As your speed increases to just above soft don't compensate at all (as deflection and throw cancel each other out) and as your stroke speed increases beyond that adjust your aim in the same direction of applied english.

Now that you understand how deflection works you can begin to make the right adjustments when using your Predator. Since the Predator deflects less you simply compensate less than with you did with your old stick when your cue ball speed is above a soft speed. If you have to compensate 1/2" to right of the object ball contact point with your old stick you would aim something close to 1/4" with the Predator. The Predator puts more spin on the cue ball when using english as the tip stays on the cue ball longer because of less deflection even when the deflection is negligible. Because of this when shooting at a soft or very soft speed you would compensate your aim more in the same direction that you did with your old stick as it will throw the object ball more. One last point is that the stroke speed where the throw and deflection cancel each other out is going to be a little higher with the Predator.

These same principals apply to any changes in your stick selection. There is a wide variety in stick deflection between the various makes and types of cues. You may use a stick that is much closer to the Predator in the amount of deflection that it has. In this case the compensation for the point of aim would be much smaller but would still apply. It should also be obvious that any change you make to your cue whether switching to a new cue, new shaft, vibration damper, new bolt or other changes will affect the amount of deflection that your brain has learned to compensate for. Understanding how these principles work will allow you to adjust to the changes you have made. My advice is that if you find a cue that you shoot well with don't ever change it. The longer you shoot with the same cue the more your brain will adjust to it and make changes down the road more difficult to adjust to. In a stressful moment your brain will revert to the muscle memory for the old stick and cause you to blow your shot.

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TIPS ON SAFETY PLAY: [Submitted by Joe D'Aguanno] Good safety play will win you more pool games than any other technique that you will learn. I make this statement with the assumption that you are capable of running at least 3 or 4 balls when you have ball in hand or an open shot. Good safeties frustrate your opponent and often results in ball in hand for you. Probably the most important tip I can give you on playing a good safety is to try to precisely control where either the cue ball or the object ball ends up but not both. You do need to be aware of general direction where the ball that you are not trying to control is going. It doesn't do any good to hide the cue ball and have the object ball roll around the table and end up where your opponent can easily hit it and play a better safety on you. About 90% of the safeties I play involve controlling where the cue ball ends up rather than the object ball.

When the object ball is on or close to the rail mostly centered between pockets with the cue ball at a steep acute angle (90 to 60 degrees) to the shot a thin soft cut with english usually works best. Inside english on the cue ball will keep the object ball from moving very far after it strikes the rail. Outside english will make the object ball roll farther. As the object ball is stationary in this type of shot it will not move very far as there is very little transfer of energy from the cue ball to the object ball. The cue ball on the other hand will travel quite a distance because it retains most of the energy gained from the impact of the cue. As you are shooting the shot soft you will have much greater control of the cue ball and where it ends up.

Thin cuts often work when the object ball is not close to the rail. Just shoot softly and use english if necessary to change the direction of the cue ball to bury it behind a cluster of balls or leave it on the other end of the table.

If you have a straight on shot where the object ball is close to another ball shoot a stop shot to keep the cue ball behind the second ball. Of course you don't want to shoot the stop shot hard because the object ball will probably roll around the table and make itself visible to the cue ball. In this case shoot soft draw just hard enough where the cue ball will quit spinning backwards when it strikes the object ball. The end result is the same as a stop shot using center ball with no english.

If you are playing a weaker player in a handicap match that where they are under rated and you have to give them a game or 2 on the wire there are 2 methods that will help you win. In this case we are talking about a 5 or 6 rated player that actually shoots 6 or 7 speed (Arizona ratings that goes from 4 to 10) and you are either a 7, 8 or 9. The first method is very simple. Play as many safeties as you have to until you get to a point where you can comfortably run out the table. The other method is to simply give this player a shot they can make early in the game. The huge majority of underrated 6 or even 7 rated players can't run out the table with either ball in hand or an open shot. After they make 3 or 4 balls you should have no problem finishing the rack.

Of course the best safety of all is to break and run the rack.

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TOURNAMENT PREPARATION; THE FIRST STEP TO WINNING: [Submitted by Tim Miller] Tournament preparation means being focused and ready to play and you will advance to the next level in tournament play. Winners are not accidents. They have a plan and stick to it with good results. Tournament preparation is just as important as tournament practice.

You must be ready to play when the director calls your name. Here are ten steps to moving to the next level.

Step 1. Visualize the break. See yourself smashing the rack with a strong accurate powerful break. The balls explode. You can hear the ball that drops in the pocket. You are left with a wide open table. When you visualize the break, you are building aggressive qualities that will win more games for you. . You cannot win a tournament if you are tentative. A powerful break will get you in the attack mode. Do this many times before a tournament and you will establish the style of play that will help you win.

Step 2. Expect good rolls. Almost all tournament winners come through the brackets with a good roll. It is part of the game. Say to yourself “I get good rolls” over and over. Burn this affirmation in your mind. Let it become “you”.

Step 3. Take advantage of your good rolls. Getting good rolls is one thing. You must be able to take advantage of them. Burn this affirmation in your mind. Let it become “you”.

Step 4. Take charge of each match. By following step one you set up this affirmation in your mind. Remember, “what the mind can conceive, it can achieve”. You will not win tournaments without this “take charge attitude”. Take charge.

Step 5. Play one match at a time. You are not here to win the tournament. Get those thoughts out of your mind. You can only play one match at a time. You need the freedom to perform. Thinking about winning can clutter your mind. If you focus on one match, you will find yourself in the final four more often. Do not project beyond this one match at a time plan.


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