Friday, February 19, 2010

Gift Packages Keep Getting Better - Awesome deals!!!

Here is the official press release for my gift packages:

An Adventurous Liz Ford Explores Asia – Share in her Experience!

World domination ain't cheap! Liz Ford, WPBA pro and writer on the game, is one of five players chosen to represent the U.S. at the prestigious Amway Cup in Taipei, Taiwan.
She wants you to share in her Asian experience – connect to her on a personal level and adopt a player to root for in international competition by becoming part of her team.

For a contribution of $60 dollars or more, receive:

- a postcard from Liz while she is in Taiwan
- a signed picture of Liz
- a DVD of stroke-training exercises featuring Liz
- a $10 Gift Certificate from PoolDawg
- Free video of your choice from Accustats (priced at $20 or less)

Liz is known for her accessibility to fans, smart wit and insights into the game. She will be giving daily updates and pictures from her adventure on her blog, Sticks and Balls and Holes. Her contribution to the game depends on help from people like you!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Help me get to Taiwan!

2010 Contributor Thank You Gift Packages are now available! For a minimum contribution of $60 you get a signed glossy, a stroke-training DVD made by me and a $10 PoolDawg gift certificate!


Make sure to include any personal message you would like on the photo.

If you are a fan of this blog and would like to see more instructional information, tournament updates and cheeky, home-spun wisdom - please purchase a Gift Package today!

Packages will start shipping on March 1st for those of you who already contributed.

Yee Haw!

Dynamic Shots

Things get a little more sophisticated... just a little, though.

Objectives: Strengthen the basics of cue ball control by performing many similar, but not identical, shots that emphasize the same principal (e.g. speed control, stun angle control, correctly assessing the natural line, etc.) Mental focus is increased in this section but is still pretty low, as you already have a general plan and are learning by repetition.

I will be throwing in a draw speed control drill for myself and probably a couple of others that fit into this category from Phil Capelle's "Practicing Pool."

Here are some of Johan's drills:

Endless Drill
- Each object ball position represents a different variation of this exercise.
- Start with ball in hand behind the center line, pocket the one and bring the cue ball back past the center line. Re-spot the object ball and shoot until you miss or fail to bring the cue ball across to the upper half of the table.
- Move on to the same exercise with the different object ball positions.

Natural Line
- Object is to pocket the 10 in any pocket with ball in hand and using a rolling cue ball (natural line) to carom into balls 1-9.

The Center Line
- Choose any of the "cue balls" (balls 1-7) and pocket the object ball (15) in either corner.
- The "cue ball" must come to rest in the position zone known as the center line (the rectangular area defined by balls 8-11.)
- The "cue ball" then becomes the object ball and you choose any of the remaining "cue balls" to pocket it with the same positional requirement. Repeat with the remaining "cue balls."
- This drill can be played endlessly by resetting the "cue balls" when you have successfully used them all.

Next up, Dynamic Drills...

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Single Shots

This is where the adventure begins - Single Shots.

Objectives:  Strengthen aim, alignment and follow-through by building muscles necessary for stroke consistency, reinforcing hand-eye coordination and creating mental pictures of successful shots. This phase is just about pocketing, with the exception of the cue ball requirements of The Mighty X.

My current plan (Johan's suggestions are in red, my additions are in black) -

One-Arm Drill:
- Place object ball two ball-widths from the end rail
- Walk into the shot as you would normally
- Let cue rest on the rail, dropping your bridge hand and placing it on your leg to support yourself
- Make sure that cue is level
- Using a slow back swing and smooth cue delivery, pocket the object ball in the corner pocket

Bert Kinister's The Mighty X with no practice strokes (Volume 12... available here)

The standard shots from PAT1:

Cushion Scare:
- Pocket the frozen ball (9-ball) from each of the cue ball positions (1-ball through 4-ball.)
- The cue ball is frozen to the rail in all positions
- Johan has a thick accent so when he said "cushion scare" I thought he said "cushions care" meaning take care with shots off the rail.  When I mentioned this, he said "No Liz, the cushions don't give a sh*t."

The Cutting Edge:
- Cut each ball in from the center of the table
- Balls are half a ball-width off the rail

Next up... Dynamic Shots

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Setting up a Training Program Dutch Style - Introduction

Over the next few weeks I will be going into each category in depth, but here is the basic recipe for a pre-season training regimen as defined by Johan Ruysink.  It is pretty brutal when Johan conducts a training bootcamp with his country's top players (Niels Feijen, Nick van den Berg, et al.) The schedule is for two weeks or more, five days on, two days off - for ten hours per day (broken down into multiple sessions.)  The idea behind it is similar to weight-lifting - no pain, no gain. Push yourself hard, and your body and brain will have to work to repair themselves, making you a stronger player in the end. 

The system is broken down into five areas of training and each is completed before moving on to the next. These are Johan's terms and then my take on what they mean

1. Single Shots:  Rote training focusing on alignment, stroke and aim with very little attention paid to fine cue ball control.
2. Dynamic Shots: Practicing types of shots and cue-ball reactions (stun, natural roll, draw) in situations that are a little different every time.
3. Dynamic Exercises:  It's heavy-duty drill time! Evil things, like Bert Kinister's "The Ladder."
4. Playing Formats:  Practice games that are played with a partner that make you focus on different objectives.
5. Disciplines and Sparring:  Practicing the actual games (playing the ghost, practicing straight-pool, etc.)  and then on to playing those games with others.

At the end of each session, 20 minutes of training is thrown in on shots that require a unique body movement or position, like the break, shooting jacked-up or jump shots.  The idea is that once you practice these types of shots for 20 minutes your arm and body will be pretty much useless :)

A concept that is essential to this training is that your physical energy should start high and be consumed, but your mental energy should start low and build.  In the beginning you are all arm - hitting shots repetitively and at a quick pace without the laser focus that you would use in a match.  As you progress through the system, your focus and thinking become deeper.  I think there is a nice and logical flow to this kind of program.  You make sure that the basics are there and start layering upon them one step at a time.

Next installment... Single Shots