Pre Shot Routine
One of the most underrated things about a player’s technique is what that player does before getting down on a shot.
If you watch any of the top pros, they all share the same consistency when preparing to take a shot. While they may not all be identical, you will notice that each player will have the same pre-shot routine when getting ready to take a shot.
Step 1 : Shot Selection
Assessing the situation on the table is the first thing you must do before getting down to take a shot. While there are some basic things that all players do with this step, this procedure is also partially subjective and is based on your personal preference.
For example, what is the current score in the frame? What is the current score in the match? How is your confidence level at this particular moment? These are some of the things to consider before making your choice.
Step 2 : Chalk up, if necessary
There are no straight forward rules as to how often one should chalk their cue before shooting. This is also a personal preference. In fact, you will find that chalking the cue actually helps many players mentally in order to “prepare” for a shot. This is sort of like a basketball player dribbling a ball at the free throw line, or a baseball hitter taking practice swings before the pitch. The best advice for this is to do what works for you naturally, this game is hard enough without any extra things to remember.
Step 3 : Commit to your shot
Once you have chosen what shot you would like to take, you must commit to this choice. One of the worst things you can do is to allow doubt to creep into your mind while you are down on the shot. No matter what level you are, this will affect the performance of that shot. If you are down on the shot, and you feel that inner voice is getting louder and louder, the best thing to do at that point is to stop feathering, get up and reassess the situation. This can never be a bad choice.
Developing a pre-shot routine is something that takes time to establish, but once you have it, it will be something that will happen automatically, and it will guide you into playing with a much better flow.