Preparing for a break from playing billiards
A few weeks back I realized that coronavirus would likely impact many places in the world and around a week after that I realized that it was going to be a major disruption in my home town too with lockdowns and venue closures likely. Unlike other times where injury or work schedule has got in the way of me playing pool this time I actually had some notice. Since at the time there were very few cases reported locally I went to the club late at night (such that I'd avoid crowds) to go get my pool and snooker cues as I knew that I wouldn't be playing for quite some time (Unfortunately I don't have a table at home, but maybe I could make a "quarantine pool table" like this...) While I was there I noticed that one of the worst things about taking a break from billiards/pool/snooker/etc is that returning to playing is tough (though honestly when the time comes that people can go back to playing at pool halls I'm sure nobody will actually care if they play a bit bad, your perspective when you have a long time where were weren't able to play from circumstances not under your control tends to be different, you are often just happy to play at all)
Perhaps one of the toughest thing about playing after a long hiatus is trying to get back the rhythm of your previous game, when you play regularly you get a number of things right and some good habits stick without you having to actively think about it. When you play regularly you remember the things that you are currently working on and it's far easier to avoid making certain types of mistakes because they are all much more front of mind. So to make it easier to get back to that state I'd highly recommend taking some notes about what you were working on with your game when you took.
Here's what I was working on at the time of my last session:
- Working on lining up shots with a more consistent stance. In particular this meant:
- Discipline with lining up behind the shot, I'd tended to be way too sloppy with how I was lining up behind the line of the shot. This would translate directly into missing balls that I really shouldn't have been missing.
- Alignment of the position of my shooting hand with my foot, specifically I was trying to get my center of balance a bit further back (instead of falling into the table so heavily). This was making it easier to keep muscles relaxed and hence move freely through the stroke (which led to #4 on this list)
- Staying still on the delivery of shots. Especially more powerful shots.
- Focusing on the point of aim on the object ball throughout the shot.
- Getting better control over the pace of my shots, since my timing improved substantially I was having a lot of issues with accidentally imparting too much pace or spin on the ball and hence overshooting the positional aspects of the shots.
- Judging the throw of the newer cue I was using. This one is probably the one thing that will get easier with time away from the table, since this is a matter of removing the old memory from my older cue which tended to throw in a completely different manner.
I'd highly recommend you make a list of the things you are currently working on since if (or when) your club closes, you'll really appreciate the reminder you gave to yourself when you return.