Follow up to a previous article on Perfect Position Practice. Statistically most games are won with defensive play, even at the professional level. If you can master these 7 basic safeties and the do's and don'ts associated with them, you will be able to combine a solid defense with the prior lesson on offense and be a force to be reckoned with!
A 10 minute video describing and executing one of my favorite drills.
I learned this from Ralph Eckert, and while this drill is seemingly simple it is so effective at building a nice smooth and confident stroke when practiced correctly. There are also many different ways to practice the drill and track your progress to keep things interesting.
Ralph suggests going this 3000 - 5000 times for best results - pretty hardcore, at 15 balls per drill that's 200 - 300 executions, even at 10 times a week that's 4 - 6 months! But trust me, if you take the time to do this twice a week, 3 - 5 executions per session, you will definitely see the benefits.
Great for all skill levels from beginner to expert, I put my time in with it and still do it occasionally. As I mention in the video, I find it sort of centering and use it if things get out of whack or when working on stroke or preshot routine changes. I've even done it with my eyes closed - that will REALLY build trust and let you know if your fundamentals are as good as you think they are...
I've been working with a few students on kicking recently, and I also taught a clinic on kicking a month or so ago. Because of all of this increased kicking activity, I've spent some time examining and honing my own favorite systems for 1, 2, and 3 rail kicks on different tables, listening to my students and testing out their theories, and in some cases incorporating some new ideas into my arsenal as well.
One type of kick that I've had the opportunity to demonstrate several times is kicking to a spot on the end rail from the opposite end rail. It came up in class as well as in a recent game in competition, where I was able to show a group of people after the match how to calculate the kick. It's based on a simple system / principle I learned playing three cushion, I've also seen it referenced a few other times but very rarely. Which is why I thought I'd add it to my list of instructional articles on the topic!
In the diagram above you can see the basic starting shot for the system. If the cue ball starts from the middle diamond on the end rail (positioned at the nose of the cushion, NOT through the diamond), then shooting through the 4th diamond on the long rail (effectively the back of the side pocket, marked by ball A above) with a normal rolling cue ball and slow speed (no english) should bring the cue ball to the same spot on the opposite cushion, in this case hitting the 1 ball perfectly.
You'll need to test out your particular table, but for most tables this works pretty well. You may need to increase your speed slightly or even use just a hair of running (in this case right) english. If you want to kick at the ball with a firmer speed, you can do that as well by using normal running english (1/2 to 1 tip above center, 1/2 to 1 tip of english). This gives you two reference speeds to use as needed, slow to medium or firm, just be sure to use the appropriate english to match the speed you are using.
So this is great, but what if the balls aren't positioned like this? Well, it turns out that the cue ball will return to the same spot it started from on the opposite end rail if shot through the back of the side pocket. This means if the cue ball were 1 diamond down from pocket C, it will return to 1 diamond down from pocket A, and so on. This is even more useful, but what if you need to kick at a ball in a different position on the other end rail? Read on...
Here's the real power of the system. First, I determine the cue ball's starting position at the nose of the cushion. I draw a line from the cue ball through the back of the side pocket to determine its starting position on the end rail. In this case, the starting position is about 1 1/2 diamonds above the corner pocket F. That means if I hit the cue ball through the back of the side pocket, it will return to the opposite end rail about 1 1/2 diamonds above pocket D.
But since I want to hit the 8 ball, which is 1 1/2 diamonds farther up the rail, I adjust my aim point by that same amount, 1 1/2 diamonds closer as shown above by ball A on the rail. As mentioned above, I can aim at this spot and choose to use a slow to medium speed and no english or firm speed with running english, I should hit the 8 ball and quite possibly make it from this position, with also a good probability of getting shape on the final 9 ball.
This system works best when the cue ball is near the end rail, but the object ball can be anywhere as long as you can estimate the line off of the side rail. If the cue ball is more than just a few inches away from the end rail, and if you need to make an adjustment to hit a different spot on the opposite end rail, the calculations won't work correctly - try it and you'll see what I mean. In this case, you can still use the system but you have to combine it with the spot on the wall technique to adjust for the change in the cue ball origin. Perhaps I'll cover this in a future article. But these types of situations come up all the time from end rail to end rail, so by having this knowledge and with a little practice you can quickly add another weapon into your kicking arsenal.
In summary - test out your table, figure out what speed and english (if any) is needed to make the reference middle diamond to middle diamond shot by shooting at the back of the side pocket. Then when kicking at a ball, determine your starting position and subtract or add based on whether the object ball you are trying to hit is forward or behind the same position on the opposite end rail. Simple, no numbers to remember, no calculations to perform, and amazingly accurate.
Enjoy, and happy kicking!
I recently have been trying to practice and play a bit more - not a lot necessarily, and not like I used to, but more nonetheless. Maybe 8 - 10 hours a week instead of 3 - 5. While I've been shooting and feeling okay, especially in comfortable settings and situations, when under stress to perform I wasn't playing very well. I guess I spent so long just dabbling at the game while sick, or playing in Masters league which is pretty comfortable for me, that I forgot how to relax and perform while under pressure or in new situations. I second guessed my decisions, felt like I was trying to guide the cue ball into position, worried too much about missing the ball, and overall was just trying to be too precise and perfect.
I played a weekly tournament recently - my first of the year, and only 2nd tournament all year - and after my second loss I had a conversation with a very good player about my frustration. He said a few things that helped clear my head and refocus my efforts, and since it helped (along with a few other things) I thought I would share.
My main takeaway from our conversation - rhythm. Not stroke, aiming, hyper-focusing on fundamentals, doing drills, or even nerves - just rhythm. He mentioned several things during the conversation that I inherently knew, and teach to others, yet it's difficult to self-diagnose at times. Sort of like the crazy psychiatrist... :)
So what about rhythm is so important? I realized that I wasn't in any sort of rhythm at all, and that probably came from the lack of true competitive play. I thought I was, and had a nice preshot routine, yet my approach into my PSR was too varied. I would get down too quickly on simple shots, even get down too quickly on more difficult shots, and sometimes spend too much extra time during the routine before shooting on difficult shots as well. This was probably affecting me during my limited practice as well, yet there is no penalty for missing in practice, you set up the shot again, or worse just swipe it into the pocket thinking "I would normally make that shot". Another reason for practicing with a purpose or some sort of objective scoring, but that's a topic for another article.
I'm a very analytical person, just my nature, hardwired that way. Words like "feeling" and "visualization" don't compute. Yet I knew what he was talking about, so I watched some matches with my favorite players (lately the Ko brothers) and really watched how they moved around the table from shot to shot. I started standing behind the shot for a few extra seconds when needed, air stroking my cue and really trying to feel a connection to the shot, feeling the angle and speed needed, and then once down on the shot trusting in my pre-calculated alignment and just focusing solely on cue ball speed and spin and making a smooth stroke. I tried not to shoot until I felt truly ready for the shot, and tried as well to get up and go through my routine again if anything felt off once down.
I also did some other things along with this new focus on rhythm. A few drills to work on smoothness and straightness. 15 - 30 reps on a few specific types of shots that always come up to improve consistency. My favorite rail shot drill. Spent maybe 60 - 90 minutes total, not much, but enough to make a difference.
All of the sudden - I felt it. I was in rhythm, moving around the table effortlessly, confidence back. That night I won my match 7-0, and that weekend I won the US Amateur qualifier after losing my first match and staying focused after a 3 hour wait and 7 more matches, winning all of them while never giving up more than 3 games, and most were 0 or 1. I wasn't in dead stroke, at no point was I feeling the zone, but I focused on the shots and my cue ball speed and tried to "feel" the shots. I made good decisions, I missed very few balls, allowing me to play a solid safe (most of the time) if out of position, and maintained control of the table.
I found that I can't tackle every issue by analyzing a shot or trying to fix a technical flaw, sometimes you just need to relax and feel the rhythm and let your confidence build. If any of this resonates with you, I hope it helps you to refocus your efforts as well.
Been about a year since my last post. I guess I'm not a very good blogger... :) Below is a summary of the past year, just to catch up to the present.
Since my last post, unfortunately, health issues continued. Ended up having more tests, an intestinal infection, liver and kidney issues resulting from that, 2 rounds of antibiotics, continued issues, 2 hernias, adhesions, surgery, etc, etc. Been a fun 18 months... Some issues remain, but better than I was so I guess it's moving in the right direction.
On the plus side, through all of this I managed to win the second session of American Rotation, and this time I was able to make it to the national tournament at the Derby City Classic in Louisville, KY. I finished 11th out of 22, not too bad, amidst a field of top players from around the country including Johnny Archer, Mike Davis, and Kevin West. The latter two faced each other in the finals, you can watch the entire match here - tvmike.net/topic6907.html - scroll down toward the bottom to find the match. You should especially check out the last few racks, a truly epic finish and well played by both players.
I also played in the bank pool and 9 ball events at Derby. Surprisingly I cashed in the Bank Pool division, finishing 77th - 124th out of 400+ players. I say surprisingly because I never played bank pool before! I learned the rules and strategies of the game along the way and should have actually gone one round further, but finally lost to Shannon Daulton, a former champion at the event, that loss was NOT a surprise... :)
I did well in the 9 ball event, finishing one out of the money. I beat a few good players, and lost to Kevin West (same guy mentioned above) and then Keith Bennett, both very good and seasoned players. Really my only disappointment of the tournament was the last loss to Keith. I just wasn't completely focused in the match but was outplaying him for most of the match, and then just made several very silly mistakes after running out some tough racks or playing very good safes. I learned from the loss and he was a great competitor.
Following the Derby, our Masters team went on to win our league against a tough team, somewhat of an upset. I had the anchor spot and it felt good to run out the last rack to put it away.
Finally, recently I attended the qualifier for the US Amateur Championships. I've tried to qualify two times before, making it to the finals the first year and last year just playing mediocre. Well, this year I finally made it and am heading to the national finals! I lost my first match, but came through the rest of the field with some very convincing scores - 7-0, 7-0, 7-2, 7-3, 7-2, and 11-1. Since I rarely play tournaments, I was quite happy that I stayed focused through a very long day and came back after the first loss. The national finals are held in the beginning of November, I will cover that tournament in a few weeks.
That's about it, back to the present and all caught up... My next article will discuss some of the things I focused on during the week leading up to the qualifier, hopefully some of those same concepts will help you in your next league match or tournament as well.
I haven't posted here in a while - life just getting in the way, and I tend to focus on work and family and sprinkle in a little pool here and there. Although I'm still very active with playing and giving lessons and enjoying it quite a bit. But I read an article by Phil Capelle this morning and felt compelled to write down my thoughts on the subject as well. So I'll make up for my absence with a nice long post... :)
I've had some health issues recently - really for the past 6 months or so - and spent way too much time sitting at home and in bed. Through all of this I still managed to go undefeated and win my American Rotation league (great game by the way!), earning me a spot in Vegas for the national finals. Only 25 or so people were invited, and a number of professional players were included. Would have been a great experience, unfortunately I had to miss it. I couldn't really put in the required practice time, and I didn't want to get out there and end up feeling bad and not play my best or worse not be able to play at all. Hopefully I'll feel better soon and be able to pull out a victory in one of the next sessions and make it to the national finals again and can report on that.
But on to the point of this post. I played in a regional tournament a month or so ago, only the second for me this year. They typically draw many of the top players in Florida and surrounding areas, and I was actually feeling pretty good that day so no excuses. I played horrible! I warmed up okay and had been playing well leading up to it. My first match was against a tough seasoned top player, but I was winning in the early part of the match. Then I made a mistake, and another, and it's like my concentration just left me. After losing and not playing to my potential at all, I was toast the next match as well and out of the tourney. Very rare for me to go two and out, but of course it has to happen to a quarter of the field and with a tough board sometimes you play two very good players back to back.
I don't mind losing, especially to a better player, just prefer to not give them so much help through my own poor play and excessive mistakes. I left thinking I just "played bad". I didn't feel nervous, I wasn't tired, I wasn't hungry, I wasn't distracted. Yet I didn't feel like I was fully present.
This past month, I happened upon some recorded streams from previous larger events here in Florida. I've heard the names before, and see them on top of the charts often, but because I don't play in a lot of regional events I hadn't seen many of these players play in person. While watching the matches, I noticed something, and sort of had a "ah-hah" moment. What was it? The answer below...
As I watched, I saw that most of these top amateur players had flaws in their game. Especially as an instructor, I tend to notice these things. Sure there are some notable pros that also have some very unique strokes, but a majority of the pros have great fundamentals. I saw crooked alignments, pumping arms, twisting, swerving, jumping up, excessive use of spin or speed, and the list goes on. Many things that I have tried to eliminate from my own game. Yet I also saw that they were intensely focused on putting the ball in the hole and gaining position for the next shot. I know this sounds simple, yet there was something intriguing about it to me.
I've been playing 25+ years, and I am still "tinkering" with my stroke. I belong in TA - Tinkerers Anonymous. I've done it with bowling, tennis, golf, and definitely pool. Just 2 years ago I revamped my game - different grip, changed my stance, changed to mostly using an open bridge, altered my preshot routine, fixed a slight swerve I had in my stroke, etc. All in the name of improvement, trying to hit that next level of consistency. And while my fundamentals and knowledge are better, and everything looks pretty decent on camera, I haven't been able to go deep in one of these larger events. Sure I win local tournaments when I play, even in consecutive weeks when I've been able to do that. But stepping into the regional or national events increases the level of competition, and your game has to be on for long periods of time against guys (and gals) that will really make you pay for your mistakes. Part of this is lack of playing time - I might play 10 hours a week and attend 10 tournaments a year, many of these guys are in constant action and play 10 or more tournaments in a month. Yet many people have told me that I play as well as these guys, enough now to where I actually might start to believe it myself.
The difference that I think I discovered, aside from the obvious experience in big tournaments - is this. I'm still "practicing" while I'm competing, and they are just competing. I'm thinking about some change I recently made, making sure my stroke is straight, transitions are smooth, etc. - they are 100% focused on putting the ball in the hole. I'm mechanical and studious in my approach - they are free flowing, confident in their approach, and intent on running out. I actually start to feel bad and let up a little if beating someone badly - they crush their opponents. I start to get worn out and tired as the night drags on - they grind it out and keep going.
I think some of this is mental toughness or experience for sure, but I think a big component for me is the practice vs. play idea. I just haven't taken the time to finally be happy with my fundamentals and just focus on the table when competing, to be able to switch from practice to play. Probably due in part to my ratio of practice to play, which is 95/5 right now, probably the complete opposite of my fellow competitors.
So.... When is enough enough? When should you be satisfied with your fundamentals and just get out there and play? When should you take a good honest look at your game, or invest in your game by seeing an instructor, and make those necessary changes that could mean weeks or months of struggle, yet emerge on the other side a better player? It's easy for me to see this in my students, harder to see it in myself. For me, I think enough may be enough, I just need to get out and play as life permits and learn to switch gears from practice to play. For many players though, the answer is to make some changes and increase their knowledge in order to hit the next level. For my students, I only try to radically change what they are doing if their fundamentals really need changing to improve, and if they have the time to devote to the change. Usually I'm able to make small tweaks that offer the biggest improvement quickly, and then focus on other critical areas such as stroke speed consistency, shot selection and position play. But many players are in denial about their own shortcomings, and try to improve their game by buying new equipment or just playing more, which only reinforces the bad habits that are holding them back.
Hopefully I feel better soon and am able to hit the practice table and work on letting loose a bit more, then hit some upcoming tournaments and prove my theory about my own game. I'll post my findings good or bad so you can learn from my experience. As always, feel free to comment on this or any other article, and call or email with any questions you may have with your own game or to set up lessons.
I thought I would summarize my thoughts on the core fundamentals of the game – stance, bridge, grip, alignment, preshot routine, and stroke. This also coincides with a free monthly clinic that I teach, which this month will be on this very same topic.
This sums up everything I’ve read or learned about these concepts over 20+ years of playing, studying, and teaching the game. I try to follow these tenets as closely as possible myself, and when I teach I try to convey these same principles, allowing for personalization and fine tuning for each person’s physical makeup and skill level. I don’t believe in a cookie cutter approach, although certainly many of the key concepts discussed and the “keep it simple” approach do apply pretty universally.
This is probably the area where I tend to be very lenient, but also one where a few simple tweaks can sometimes result in drastic improvements for a player. In general, you should form a solid, balanced base and be positioned the correct distance from the cue ball so there is no excessive lean one way or the other. I don’t subscribe that your feet have to be in a certain position, or favor a closed or open stance, etc. Balance is the key, the stance should allow you to position your eyes correctly over the shot, allow freedom of movement for your shooting arm, and overall just help tie everything together.
I’ve shot well with both an “American”-style closed stance as well as a more snooker-style open stance. I’ve experimented with having my back foot at a 90 degree angle to the shot, 45, or somewhere in between. I’ve had my front foot pointing at a 45, down the line of the shot, or in between. I’ve had both legs bent or a straightened back leg and bent front leg. Point is, any of these can be acceptable, it’s all based on your physical makeup and shooting style. Often tweaking a foot or leg position or changing how someone “hinges” into their stance can make a world of difference. If you feel uncomfortable or cramped when shooting, seek out some advice to see if a simple change in this area is the key.
This is another area that allows for varying degrees of personalization and where there may not be one conclusive answer. Most players go through an evolution, starting with an open bridge, then a sloppy closed bridge, then a decent closed bridge, then back to using an open bridge on 50% or more of their shots. I find that transition very interesting…
Many pros shoot quite a lot of their shots with an open bridge, and snooker players use an open bridge almost exclusively. It allows for more of a sight line down the cue and keeps everything very relaxed. It also requires better technique, or put another way, it will expose flawed technique in your stroke, since any tightening or jabbing of your grip hand will be very evident when your cue comes flying off of your bridge hand! To form this bridge, simply lay your hand flat on the table, squeeze it together a bit almost like there is something under your hand, and then just bring your thumb up toward the base of your forefinger to form a “V”. Most players will also have their fingers spread comfortably and their hand turned in somewhat, and it’s important to keep the base of your hand on the table whenever possible. Players vary whether their arm is bent or straight, just try to maintain consistency. An open bridge can be difficult to form comfortably when close to the rail because of having to place your hand directly over the rail, so a closed bridge may be more advisable in those situations.
Speaking of, most American pool players tend to focus more heavily on the closed bridge anyway. Here it’s just important to form a nice snug bridge, without being too snug, as that can actually have an adverse effect on the stroke. The cue really rides on a V formed by your middle finger and thumb, while the forefinger is wrapped around the cue and can either touch the tip of your thumb, outside of your thumb, or even overlap the top of your middle finger. The important thing is to spread your fingers out to form a solid base and try to keep a consistent connection between all three fingers. If you are just learning the closed bridge, put in some time practicing at home on a dining room table or even while sitting on the couch, maybe even in front of a mirror, it will save a lot of frustration at the table trying to force your fingers into the proper positions.
With either bridge, try to keep the length between 8” and 10”. Any shorter and you will have trouble accelerating through the shot, any longer and inconsistency can creep in. Many good players and pros have long bridges, 11” – 12” or even longer. But if you notice, many of those same players do not pull the cue all the way back to their bridge hand, but rather pull back just a few inches on most shots and smoothly punch through the ball. That’s actually the approach I take, and one I find effective, as I can simply pull back farther on shots requiring more power. Just guard against a bridge that’s too long, especially if you are a beginner or intermediate player.
Of course the more you play the more variation in bridges you will experience. You will need to learn to raise your bridge slightly when shooting a follow shot and lower it slightly when shooting a draw shot. You will need various types of rail bridges, elevated bridges, and other odd ball bridges when in awkward positions on the table, they are all part of the game. Watch a pro when they have an awkward bridge and they will spend extra time to make sure they get it into a stable position, since it’s so critical for the bridge to be formed properly to support the stroke. Again, if you are unfamiliar with these bridges I would recommend checking out information on YouTube or in print, there are a ton of resources with pictures or video to help you out.
3) Grip and Alignment
As with stance and bridges, there are all sorts of effective grips. I mostly advocate a neutral, relaxed hand position that allows you to stroke the cue straight back and forward. Try not to cock your wrist forward, backward, or sideways too much, as trying to keep your grip in that position day in and day out will prove difficult. It’s usually pretty effective to lay the cue along the middle knuckles of the hand and gently wrap your thumb around the cue. When looking from the front your hand will form a sort of “V” at the top where the webbing of your hand is.
Hold the cue with anywhere from 2 – 5 fingers, really just personal preference. Anything that feels good and allows for a natural hinging of the hand during the stroke will work just fine. You can also vary your grip pressure somewhat, just guard against too tight or too loose, with too tight being the bigger mistake. Holding the cue too tight restricts wrist movement which in turn restricts the speed at which you can move the cue forward, making power shots, draws, etc. difficult to execute. Holding it too loose in a “teacup” type grip, where the cue would fall to the ground without some small amount of pressure on the cue, is also a mistake. Think of forming a cradle for the cue and allowing the cue to do the work – if everything is neutral and relaxed that’s exactly what will happen.
In addition to the grip, you ideally want your upper arm directly in line over the cue and should be holding the cue so when you make contact with the cue ball your lower arm is roughly at a 90 degree angle to the cue. If you upper arm is not in line it can make it very difficult to stroke in a straight line, causing swerving, chicken winging, etc. If the lower arm is not at 90 degrees it will be difficult to return the cue to the cue ball in a consistent manner and can also cause a lot of up and down arm movement, premature elbow drop, or lack of power. You will find good players and even pros who deviate from these guidelines somewhat, but many of them just have raw natural talent, some physical variation, or perhaps learned the game at a young age and those “flaws” just stuck with them. As long as everything is repeatable then there is no overriding reason to change.
4) PSR (Preshot Routine)
This can be an often overlooked area for intermediate and even better players. You need to develop a solid PSR that you can rely on over and over again, and especially under pressure. Again, watch most good players and pros and you will see a consistent rhythm, routine, and number and type of strokes being used on all but the easiest or most difficult of shots. You need to develop a cadence around the table, a “flow”, something that you can sink yourself into and just let your subconscious take over. Do all of your thinking while upright and looking at the shot, once you get down just let your training take over and execute the shot.
Two other important areas of the PSR are eye patterns and pauses. You have to coordinate your eye movements with your routine so that you can draw that imaginary line between the cue ball and object ball, or stare at your contact point on the object ball, whatever it is that you do to make sure you are locked on to the shot. It’s best to have some quiet time for your eyes as well, if they are constantly moving it’s hard to get optimal feedback. So staring at one spot for ½ second, 1 second, or even 2 full seconds can make a big difference. Most people look at the object ball last, while others look at the cue ball last and then typically bounce their eyes up to the object ball during the final stroke.
Which brings me to the pauses, very important. I think most people benefit from having a defined pause when finished with their aiming, warm up, or practice strokes and before the final stroke. It gives you a chance to integrate a ready signal, where you tell yourself whether you are ready to pull the trigger or not. If you aren’t feeling it, take another stroke or two and pause again. If you still aren’t feeling it, then you should get up and go through your routine from the beginning. The second pause is between the backswing and forward swing. You don’t have to have a definitive pause like Buddy Hall or Allison Fisher, but some sort of slight pause will enable you to stop one movement (the backswing) and smoothly transition into the forward swing.
I spent years trying to find my ideal routine, always thinking that if I took an extra stroke, moved my eyes differently, sped up, slowed down, paused longer, etc. that I would hit that next level. I tried to emulate players who moved and shot in a rhythm that seemed comfortable to me. What I found was that while the routine was important, it wasn’t so much which routine I was using as it was the fact that I used a consistent routine. I will try to help other players find their own routine and rhythm, as I know how important it is to your feel and confidence as a player. I now found one that works for me, and while I may tweak it here and there, I can definitely rely on it and it supports my rhythm around the table.
Finally we come to the stroke, that elusive concept that so many people struggle with. There’s really nothing overly mystical about it – if the above fundamentals are reasonably solid, then during the forward swing everything should just release and flow naturally. Don’t try to force any sort of wrist snap or release, just keep a relaxed grip and feel that you are letting the cue do the work. If you keep your backswing slow and your transition smooth, then you should be able to accelerate very smoothly and effectively and develop an excellent sense of speed control with all of the power you need. Many of the shots in the game require more finesse or precision than raw power, and you should be hitting your average shots with a controlled speed that allows the object ball to roll into the pocket rather than sliding all the way, it just makes for a larger effective pocket.
When you see those trick shot artists, or you hear someone say “They’ve got a great stroke”, again there is nothing magical about this. By keeping everything smooth, you can give the impression that you are generating effortless power, so you look like you are exerting less effort or force than the next person. For students having issues drawing the ball, I will demonstrate a table length draw shot from a foot or two away by holding my cue loosely resting on my open hand, no thumb involved at all, it actually slides after impact. But all you need from that distance is a smooth acceleration of the cue and hitting the cue ball a full tip below center, letting the cue do all the work. (Most don’t actually hit where they think they are aiming, but that’s another discussion…)
The cue ball reacts purely from a physics standpoint, so executing an extreme draw stroke or some other sort of power stroke is nothing more than hitting the proper spot on the cue ball (sometimes at the extreme limits of a miscue) while accelerating the cue up to a certain speed before impact. Most of us are not as accurate when shooting at faster speeds, flaws tend to come out in our strokes which either limit the speed we are trying to use or cause us to hit somewhere other than where we are aiming. When trying to develop your stroke, above all just think smooth and pay attention to your fundamentals and it will all fall into place.