Thursday, November 17, 2016

The Numbers Hustler

It's in the way that you analyze it:
David Alciatore, a professor of mechanical engineering at Colorado State University, has written extensively on the sport—zeroing in on the science of trick shots—and even incorporates pocket billiards into his lectures on energy, friction, and rotation. Speak with him about pool for five minutes and you’ll find yourself neck-deep in mathematical formulas. You’ll hear how a cue ball “throws” the ball it strikes, how it transfers spin, how equilibrium controls a jump ball, and how different forces are at play during a massé (curve) shot.

This analytical understanding, he says, comes intuitively to most trick-shot masters. They can instantly visualize complex shots that typical players would never dream of attempting—and then practice, practice, practice to perfect them. “Think about that massé shot, or the jump shot,” Alciatore says, referring to Kohler’s sexy curve and Segal’s quadruple jump. “Someone that hasn’t practiced these a lot can’t do them. If you don’t have the technique and the experience, it’s almost impossible. You can understand all the physics in the world and that’s still not going to help you.”
Rack 'em up...

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