Shot Dots (ok, binder hole reinforcement stickers)
Yet another of my favorite products that is not actually a billiard product. These things are awesome and I use them ALL the time in my practice sessions. You use these to setup ball positions on the pool table so that you can practice your shots consistently and efficiently. They are thin enough such that they do not effect ball movement and they are just adhesive enough to stick to the table without damaging the felt, and they are easy to remove. They are extremely inexpensive, so you can put them down for a practice session, pull them up and set new ones down next time. Although, they do adhere enough to leave them on the table if that is what you desire to do as well. Using these gives you a very precise way to practice the same shot over again and they are very easy to setup. Here are a couple of examples of uses:
Long straight in shots: Lay your cue stick on the length of the table, lined up corner pocket to corner pocket. Lift the but of your cue and stick a dot on the table under it. Then lift the tip and stick a dot on the table under it. Then place the object ball on one dot and the cue ball on the other. Now you can shoot your straight in shots and set them up simply, over and over again.
Cut shots: Setup an angle that you wish to practice over & over again. You can certainly do this by sticking the dots on the table by eye, but my recommendation is to use something that is a bit more precise. You can use a protractor to establish specific angles (such as 30 degrees) and set the dots down so you know specifically what angle you are practicing. For this, my recommendation is to use these in conjunction with the True Angle Protractor. You can read my review of the true angle protractor here, and it also contains instructions on how to use it. Set the protractor for the angle you want to practice, then set a dot down at the object ball location and another dot where you want to set the cueball, following the angle of the protractor. Now you can practice this specific cut shot over and over.
Pattern Play: These are really useful for practicing pattern play because setting up the same pattern over & over again by eye is very time consuming, and frankly, just a pain in the butt. You can setup your own patterns by sticking the dots to the table wherever you want them, but my recommendation is to use these in conjunction with instructional material, such as a book or DVD specific to pattern play. This way, you know that you are practicing getting out on the pattern the proper way. An excellent book, which I reviewed here is Zero-X P.K.E Improve Your Game by Tor Lowry. There is a section in this book dedicated to patterns. The best way to align your patterns with the book is to use the diamonds on the rails of the pool table. When you look at a diagram in the book, look at the ball position and count the diamonds up the long rail to get the length position, then count the diamonds along the short rail to get the width position, then set the dot on that intersection (for example, three diamonds up, one diamond over). Set all the dots in position and then set the object balls and cue ball on them. Now you can practice getting out in this pattern over & over by resetting all the balls on the dots. The initial setup may take a bit of time, but after that, it really pays off as setup time going forward is super easy.
Progressive Drills: These are really useful for progressive drills where you start by setting up an easy short shot, making it, then setting up the same shot slightly longer, making it, then setting up the same shot even longer, etc. For this, you just set the dots on the table in this progression, so you make the shot, then just set the balls on the next position in your progression. this guarantees consistency as you move the balls to the longer distances.
This product is excellent as consistency in your practice sessions is critical. Having an approach to being able to quickly setup your shots efficiently and effortlessly means you spend less time setting up shots and more time practicing them. There is no better value for your money in terms of a product that costs next to nothing that can really help you improve your game.
Use this product with the Zero-X P.K.E Improve Your Game book for pattern play:
Use this product in conjunction with the True Angle Protractor: