| by Jim Meador
I read a lot of discussions regarding shooting technique, and while many believe proven shooting techniques are optional, I belive they are oprional only if the prefered fundamentals are not possible for physical or anatomical reasons.
I doubt that there is a player alive who is the picture of perfection with regard to posture, stroke, aim, and all of the subtle nuances that are taught and emphasised by instructors. And even among instructors there are differences of opinion. But, when one attends professional tournaments it is obvious that the pros have many things in common. It is not coincidence.
Losing is not an option to the pros. So every thing they can do to improve their chances of winning they will do. Since losing is not an option, it is only reasonable to assume that the techniques they use are not optional. So, if you want to improve your chances of winning, do what the pros do.
Notice the five pros pictured above. From top left they are: Bustamanti, Rempe, Reyes, Archer and Wecht. Notice their head position above the cue stick. In every case their chin is only a couple of inches above the cue. With the exception of older or heavier pros who might find it difficult to bend over as much, virtually every pro assumes the same head position to aim. There may be differences in their warm-up strokes or in any number of other nuances that make each player unique, but all seem to agree and utilize the same basic aiming posture. Why should you, a beginner or even advanced player, think you know a better way?
Yes, there are many good players who stand very erect. A high degree of skill can be achieved with any technique, if it is practiced and done the same way every time. But why develop techniques that might "allow you" to become a good pool player, when you can learn those that could "make you" a great player, unless losing is an option.? It is possible to overcome just about any handicap, even self-imposed handicaps. But what's the point? Start off learning the best way, not just a good way.
Bustamanti's is the most colorful pro on the tour when it comes to his warm-up stroke. He hardly "grips" the stick at all: it simply rests lightly in his fingers, and his wrist is extremely lose. It appears he uses a "slip" stoke, but I believe his grip tightens when he pulls the trigger. But again, notice his head position compared to the others shown. It is classical pro.
This is off the subject, but I believe Bustamanti is one of the finest all around players in the game. Yet when his name is mentioned, people say, "who?" If you ever attend a pro tournament, be sure to catch a Bustamante match. I have become a great fan of Fransisco.
Getting back to the subject, how many pros wear glasses. But while some pros may wear contacts, you do not see the top players wearing glasses. It is not a coincidence. Of course wearing specs will not prevent you from becoming a highly skilled pool player, it is a handicap that will show up when a certain level is reached.
The point here is that every small handicap we allow (or must endure) in pool, even those things that may not seem important, can have an affect on our win/loss records. If proper technique is important to the pros, make it important to you. Losing isn't an option for the pros. Why let it be an option for you?