The Pause – Learning to Transition

That brief moment when the whole world
seems to stand still – that temporary inaction while we focus on the future and
prepare to commit our next move – is called a pause. Why do we need this when playing billiards?

Simply because, when we pause, we allow our
energy and thoughts to collect and then to gracefully unwind into fruition.
When we pause we create a moment of freedom in the mind, so that what comes
next is pure poetry, and as natural as possible.
After every pause comes something
anticipated and hoped for. We see this happen during a championship match when
all of a sudden there is a tipping point—a change in the landscape when we all
instinctively sense that something special is about to happen. It is the
pivotal moment in a game when the crowd holds its breath and becomes silent,
waiting. The atmosphere thickens with expectation as the next chapter of the
event unfolds. What will happen? No one knows, but you can be sure that it was
a pause that introduced that special
Like the calm before the storm, the pause
introduces the next event in our quest for victory. So embrace it, and use it
to your advantage.
According to the dictionary, a pause is a
point in time where there is inaction. I prefer to say that a pause represents
a smooth transition between two points in time. For when we pause in our stroke,
there is never a point of inaction but rather a slowing down of time as we move
through our stroke.
I like to imagine a natural loop as the arm
slows down until it appears to have stopped, but actually continues to loop
gradually back in the tiniest of increments. There is no actual stop in the
action but rather a continual, albeit very, very slow, smooth transition from
backswing to forward stroke.
When we make a conscious effort to slow
this part of our game down so that there is a pause on the final backswing, we
allow the muscles to relax so that they can spring gracefully into action with
the most natural and purest motion possible.
The art of pure motion is the science of
transition from one position to the next, just as we see in the ballet dancer,
the Jujitsu practitioner, or the professional racecar driver; all are working
at every moment to achieve smooth transitions from one situation to the next.
The untrained eye may see erratic
disconnections, but the expert will see the beauty and logic of each move. The
same can be said of a smooth and graceful pool player, like Allison Fisher. Her
technique is flawless and as smooth and flowing as a dancer. Moving from one
shot to the next, she demonstrates cool, calm knowingness as she flows in and
out of the table between each shot, pausing for exactly the same amount of time
on every visit to the table. It is poetry in motion, and one cannot do better
than to model this example of technique, attitude, and mindset.
In pool, the action of hitting a cue ball
couldn’t be simpler, and yet we tend to complicate things and allow our
emotions and nerves to get in the way. If they do, you need to slow down, learn
to relax and flow more. As I explained in the Rhythm of Success, you want to develop a rhythm around the table as
you play. Good rhythm requires good transitions, and good transitions require a
pause. It may be subtle, it may be brief, but it is absolutely essential.
Slow down, breath, flow, and pause before
every major transition in your routine, of which the transition between the
back swing and the final stroke is paramount.
Allison Fisher’s pause before her final
stroke certainly hasn’t hurt her game!
A good way to gradually introduce a pause
into your stroke is to practice pausing throughout your day. Before you eat,
drink, or begin any completely new activity, you should briefly pause to
reflect on the moment. Stop all mental chatter and just pause and exclusively
focus on what you are about to do before you take action. By doing this you
will train your mind to be more contemplative and less erratic. When you play
billiards, this same habit should easily transfer over and you will find
yourself feeling a greater sense of control at the table. In effect, the pause
will help to remind yourself that you are in control; you are the driver of
this vehicle we call the human body. By pausing, you are literally “resetting”
your mental “operating system” and starting afresh.
Now that we have covered the fundamentals
of a good technique, it’s time to address attitude and how it is a critical
component of a great player’s arsenal. 

Excerpt from The YOGA of POOL – Secrets to Becoming a Champion in Billiards and in Life
(by Paul Turner)

BUY NOW AT (ebooks)

Softcover $19.95 (+ shipping)

  • World’s Best Aiming System (eBook)
  • The YOGA of POOL (eBook)
  • BONUS: 20 Inspiration Cards (print or carry on your phone)

Leave A Response