After a long day, a little recreation is just what the doctor ordered.

There’s nothing like a little friendly competition for relaxation, and at Sky, the billiards room can be your refuge. Not a pool shark? Not a problem. Follow our 5 tips below to improve your billiards game so that you can take your skills to the next level and impress your neighbors.

1. Posture Makes Perfect

As with any other sport, success starts with maintaining the proper form and posture. Proper pool form involves spreading your legs slightly to create a 45-degree angle, and bending your knees to get down to the table’s level. Keep your head low so that you’re looking at your target as if it were a rifle’s line of sight. Your cue should always align with the cue ball’s intended trajectory.

Getting the right stance can feel awkward at first, but it will make a big difference to the accuracy of your game.

2. The Importance of Alone Time

It doesn’t matter if you’re a novice or a complete beginner, unless you’re a pool prodigy, you need to practice. So, head down to the Sky billiards room to build up your muscle memory and confidence.

Start with a straight shot, hitting the cue ball slowly and softly in the center. Aim for the object ball you’re shooting the cue ball at, as if you were allowed to hit it directly. Take the time to familiarize yourself with how much force is needed to move the cue ball to where you want it to go. Move your object balls around the table and try to hit them into different pockets as you build up confidence. Being alone means you can experiment without embarrassment.

3. Getting to Know the Ups and Downs

Once you’ve mastered the straight shot, you can work your way up to firmer, sharper taps, and more challenging shots.

A follow shot allows the ball to continue rolling after it’s made contact with the target, so hit the cue ball slightly above center and follow through after you shoot. A draw shot brings the cue ball back towards you after you’ve tapped it, so hit the cue ball slightly below center and draw your cue back immediately after making contact. These shots give you more control over where the cue ball winds up, setting you up nicely for your next shot – but they’ll need to be practiced before a big game.

4. Making a Clean Break

When you’re ready to challenge your friends or neighbours to a round, set yourself up for a solid start with a great break.

Before you break, make sure your rack is frozen. In other words, all the balls should be touching, otherwise they won’t break properly. Spot your ball wherever you feel most confident. If you choose a spot you’ve practiced, you’ll be ready to take that first shot in style. When you take the shot, use more force than for a regular shot. Drive forward with your hand and your hips, but keep your grip nice and loose. With a well executed break, you’ll be off to a flying start.

5. Putting Your Spin on It

Pool is ultimately a game of skill, not chance, and you can learn anything with enough practice. That means the more complex shots are well within your reach given enough time and effort. Putting spin, or English, on a ball is a particularly skillful and effective move for any pool game.

Start by using the straight shots you’ve already practiced, but aim to hit the ball slightly to the left or right of center. When you’re ready to start the spin, have your second shot in mind, and add enough English to send your cue ball to a spot where you can easily hit the second target.

Adding spin to the ball is a challenge, but it’s a surefire way to impress your friends.

The Guaranteed Win

At the end of the day, you can crush your opponents with enough practice and spin, but if you aren’t having fun, have you won? Take the time to enjoy the game and relax. This is recreation after all, not the world championships. With enough time, practice, and good sportsmanship, you’ll be the ultimate pool shark that everyone wants to challenge at Sky Condos.