Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Shooting Naked

I shot naked last night, for the first time in over a year... and I did it at a Mini-Mania tourney at the APA Team Nationals amongst thousands of other pool players. And no, I didn't get arrested. I'm talking about shooting without a glove, of course.

I started shooting with a glove a little over a year ago. I was shooting with a fairly inexpensive Cuetec cue at the time... not one of their high-end models or anything, just a standard run-of-the-mill mass-produced one. While I don't recall the details of the shaft construction on that one, it's obvious that the shaft is sheathed with something... a fiberglass-like material, I believe. They advertise the design as reducing warpage and so-on and I will say it's a decent cue (it took me to APA Singles Nationals, so it can't be all bad). I never really liked the feel of the stroke against my skin though... I had to use quite a bit of powder, and then found it all getting gummy on me in fairly short order.

I noticed several teammates and others in the league were using gloves, so I decided to give it a try. I liked it for the most part... it certainly solved the smooth stroke / powder / gummy situations. I used a glove for quite awhile, even after I got my new Tiger cue a few months ago.

Recently, however, I've been doing some drills intended to work on my stroking... trying to get a nice smooth stroke in general, and also trying to improve my fine speed control. It was during those exercises that I realized I was giving up something wearing the glove... I didn't have the full 'feel' of the shaft sliding across my fingers, and I believe it makes a difference! Taking the glove off made me much more sensitive to minute changes in the speed and direction of my stroke, allowing me to fine tune things to the point that I was performing the drills better without question!

So, if you're using a glove "just because" - put some thought into why... if you're shooting with some sort of composite shaft like I was, maybe it is the best overall solution for you... but if you have a silky-smooth maple shaft, try taking the condom off and experience the feel of the shaft sliding between your bare fingers - you might like it! Try some fine speed control drills with and without the glove and see if you notice a difference like I did. To me, it really was pretty dramatic.

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