BBR003 – The Billiards Biohacker Report: Cue Calibration & Bulletproof Coffee

Cue Calibration and Bulletproof Coffee are the focus of episode 3.  Cue calibration is a process that I use to fine-tune my stroke and to help calibrate my stroke to changing equipment conditions.  Bulletproof Coffee is a fuel that I have used to lose weight, increase cognitive function and maintain an even energy level for extended periods of time.  Also, check out the last segment that I call “The Billiards Biohacking Lab”, where I introduce you to a couple of cool, futuristic, brain monitoring devices that can be used to monitor performance in billiards.

Segment 1:  Cue Calibration

I already have an article on my concept of cue calibration, give it a read to learn more about it.  Be sure to listen to this podcast episode to get more details about putting it into practice.  I’m including the diagrams from that article, here, to help you follow along during the podcast.  I’m also, including some notes about the process, but the article has more details.

Diagram 1 shows a typical layout in 9-ball.  The angle off the rail needs to be lengthened to get position on the 5 ball.  We use low-right to lengthen angle off the rail.

Improve your pool game with cue calibration

Diagram 1: Typical 9-Ball shot. Hit with low-right english to get position for the 5 ball.

Diagram 2 shows the basic setup of the shots that you will perform with different types of english, speed, bridges and equipment conditions.

Training for stroke calibration

Diagram 2: This is an illustration of the straight-in shots that will be used to execute shots with varying degrees of english, speed, bridges and equipment conditions.

Step 1

This first step is a prerequisite for the next 2 steps.  This step is used to calibrate your stroke and body alignment (stance).  It takes away most of the need for aiming and removes that variable from the brain-training process.

  1. Setup a shot as shown in diagram 2, above.
  2. In this step, only shoot the shots with center cue ball.  No english.  No high or low on the cue ball.
  3. Shot multiple repetitions of the shot, practicing your pre-shot routine and visualization techniques.
  4. Try this drill from different lengths, such as cueball positions A and B.
  5. Practice those different shot lengths with different speeds from slow-rolling to a hard stroke.
  6. IMPORTANT:  Teach your mind and body to stay down on every stroke until the cue ball collides with the object ball.
  7. Develop your vision to watch and see as many details about the cue ball path to the object ball and details about the collision with the object ball.
  8. The cue ball should stop or drift forward, depending on the speed of your stroke.
  9. If you see the cue slide to the left or right, with no spin or a tiny amount of spin, you should look at your stance, alignment and eye alignment.  You aren’t hitting the spot you are aiming at.
  10. If you see that the cue ball is spinning, look for flaws in your stroke that are creating unwanted english.
  11. Don’t focus as much on misses and makes during this drill.  Really focus on the reaction of the cue ball and object ball.  Use it to feedback to your brain and make adjustments to fine-tune your alignment, stroke and sighting.

Step 2

This step is similar to step 1, but in this step you will be hitting the cue ball with varying degrees of low and high.  Do not use any left or right english during this step.  Use the same basic steps that are outlined in step 1, with the following extra points.

  1. Watch to see if the cue ball follows or draws in a straight line.  Producing unwanted english will throw the cueball off-line after making contact with the object ball.
  2. Work on your follow-thru to get more draw or follow with the same amount of stroke-speed.  This extra follow-through may produce some unwanted english if your stroke veers left or right during the follow-thru.
  3. This will help you to identify what types of strokes that you perform with high accuracy and which ones you need to improve.

Step 3

This step is much more advance, so don’t focus on this step, until you show some good proficiency in steps 1 and 2.  You will be shooting the same type of drills as in step 1 and 2, but this time you will be trying different amounts of left and right english.

  1. The goal is to make the object ball with the cue ball showing the appropriate amount of spin, based on the amount of english applied to the cue ball.
  2. Remember, through steps 1 and 2, you have already fine-tuned your stroke, stance and eye-alignment.  Therefore, during step 3, your mind will be purely focusing on adjusting for equipment conditions, such as cue deflection, cloth, cue ball weight, etc.
  3. Regardless of whether you miss or make the object ball, look for signs of the cue ball sliding off the line of the shot.  This could be a sign that you didn’t compensate correctly for your cue deflection or the throw of the object ball.
  4. Keep in mind, you may need to adjust your point-of-aim on the object ball to adjust for throw caused by the spin on the cue ball.  This will vary based on the cleanliness of the balls and cloth.  One more reason to use this exercise.
  5. Train your vision to see if the cue ball swerves on it’s path to the object ball.  STAY DOWN ON YOUR SHOT THROUGH THIS OBSERVATION.
  6. Train your vision to see what happens at the point of collision of the cue and object ball. STAY DOWN ON YOUR SHOT THROUGH THIS OBSERVATION.
  7. Just as in steps 1 and 2, hit shots from different lengths and speeds.  Notice differences in how the cue ball reacts.
  8. Start to develop a working knowledge of your “odds” of executing different shots.  This will help you later, when you are using the same amount of speed/english on a cut shot.  You will better be able to determine if you were likely to have mis-aimed or if you were more likely to miss the point of aim.
  9. Look for bias in your stroke.  That is to say, are you more accurate with right english vs. left english?  Are you getting less english on one side of the cue ball versus the other side?

Step 4

In this step, you can try the same drills as you performed in steps 1,2 and 3.  In this step, you will practice those drills with different types of bridging situations that come up during match play.  There are lots of scenarios that could benefit from this type of analysis and practice if you are willing to put in the time and effort. You could practice the following situations, based on what you think your weakest areas are…

  1. Cue ball frozen to rail.
  2. Cue ball slightly off rail, but bridging from the rail.
  3. Bridging when jacked-up over a ball.
  4. Cue ball deep in a pocket, bridging on the pocket.
  5. With the mechanical bridge.
  6. With your jump cue.
  7. Opposite handed

So that is the basic process for cue calibration.  Let me know what you think.  Could this help your game?  I’d love to hear, if it does.  Leave e a comment, below.

Segment 2:  Bulletproof Coffee

Image of Skippy's Bulletproof Coffee mug

Ghee-Powered Bulletproof Coffee

Bulletproof coffee is something that I started drinking in Oct. 2011.  It helped me to lose 21 lbs. in 21 days (I made a lot of other diet changes, too), then over the next 10 months, I lost another 20 lbs.  My energy level throughout the day is much more level and my cognitive function greatly improves when I drink it.

The inventor of “Bulletproof Coffee” is Dave Asprey.  He has great information on his site about the health benefits of Bulletproof coffee and it’s ingredients.

Here is his exact formula for Bulletproof Coffee.

  • Start with 500 ml (2 mugs) of black coffee brewed with mold-free beans (important)
  • Add 2 Tbs (or more, I prefer 80 grams, about 2/3 of a standard stick of butter) of Kerry Gold or other UNSALTED grass-fed butter
  • Add 30 grams of MCT oil for max energy, weight loss and brain function (optional if you have none)
  • Blend with a pre-heated hand blender, Magic Bullet, or (best) counter top blender until there is a creamy head of foam

It’s really fast and easy to prepare.  Allow me to stat that salted coffee is a crime. Do not do this with salted butter. Bleah.

I use about 50 grams of grass-fed butter and about 20 grams of MCT oil.  Go with what makes you feel good.  Try different ratios and see if it make you feel better or not.

Dave has a great article on why it is important to find a source of coffee beans without mycotoxins and how mycotoxins can be detrimental to your health and performance.

Other useful links to information about grass-fed butter and MCT oil.

Health benefits of grass-fed butter

The important role of CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid) in your health

The important role of MCT (Medium Chain Triglycerides) in brain function and brain health

MCTs – The fat that makes you lose fat, improve mental clarity and enhance athletic performance

The Billiards Biohacking Lab

I listened to a great interview with Chris Berka, the CEO of a company called Advanced Brain Monitoring.

Image of B-Alert X4 from Advanced Brain MonitoringThis is an image of the eeg device, B-Alert X4, that they use to do experiments to track peoples’ performance under many different situations.  This is a cool device that can be used by people that aren’t experts in running medical equipment (like me).  A great future biohacking tool for my billiards biohacking lab.

This thing is pretty expensive…in the thousands of $$$.  However, they are coming out with a really cool device that I mentioned in the podcast.  I WILL be watching for the launch of this device.

It is called the “Adaptive Peak Performance Trainer”. It isn’t available to buy, yet, but check out the following bullet points that describe how it is used….

The Adaptive Peak Performance Trainer by Advanced Brain Monitoring

  • Easy to use physiological trainer for achieving peak level concentration
  • Proven to double marksmanship skill acquisition during one training session
  • Clinically validated transfer of benefits into archery and golf putting performance enhancement
  • Additional sports applications include basketball, karate, gymnastics, yoga, soccer etc
  • Real time haptic feedback provides an intuitive and non-intrusive indicator of user’s state

I’d love to have this to run some trials to monitor pool player performance.



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