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Gadgets digicue

Published on March 19th, 2017 | by Max Kelly

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OB Cues DigiCue: Perfect Your Stroke

Two years ago, I was out for a drink with a coworker and wound up playing a few friendly games of pool. That night, I went home and watched pool tutorials on Youtube into the wee hours of the morning. I had caught the billiards bug. Since then, I’ve played regularly and improved measurably. But eventually the learning curve hit a plateau, and I realized that if I wanted to play better consistently, I’d have to revisit the fundamentals.

Enter the DigiCue from OB Cues, a small sensor housed in a rubber sleeve that slides onto the butt of your cue.  If it detects an issue with your stroke, the cue will vibrate after you’ve made contact with the cue ball. And you’ll probably want to get used to that vibration, as you’ll be feeling it quite a bit as you slowly but surely make your way through the three modes. I recently took it out to the local pool hall for a test drive, and was surprised to learn how much work I have to do on my stroke. I figured I’d surely sail through the beginner mode, the first of three, but the Digicue takes no prisoners!

By the end of the evening, I was able to pocket several balls in a row without eliciting a reaction from the Digicue. This is in stark contrast to my usual practice routine of aimlessly knocking balls around while getting progressively more bored and sloppy. Perhaps the best thing about the Digicue is that you can use it while playing a regular game- others won’t even notice you using it. Most training aids are only practical for use during solo play, and it’s very easy to go back to old habits when money or pride is at stake. The Digicue will be that little angel on your shoulder reminding you, “Hey dummy, slow down and focus!”

One thing to be aware of: the Digicue will let you know if there’s something wrong with your stroke- but it does not tell you what the specific error was. The possibilities include accelerating too quickly, steering the cue, not following through adequately, and a few other common mistakes. Sometimes the issue will be obvious, but I occasionally found myself wondering what I had done wrong. Put simply: it will let you know if there’s a problem with your stroke but it does not diagnose the problem. It’s not a coaching tool, really, and might be best utilized in conjunction with lessons or guidance from a more experienced player.  That way, there’s someone to watch your stroke and point out specific weaknesses so you’ll know where to focus your energy. An app would definitely help, and we’ve seen similar sensor-based systems use apps in some great ways. It’s also important to note that it only provides feedback after making contact with the cue ball, which ensures that it doesn’t vibrate mid-shot, or while you’re walking around the table. This does also mean that you’ll need a pool table and a ball to hit in order to use it.

Easy to setup and install on your cue, it detaches just as easily, and two differently-sized sleeves are included to fit most any cue style. And you’ll find you miss it after a few sessions- it brings some much needed structure and accountability to practice. No tool will turn you into a pool shark overnight, but the Digicue will definitely help! Available now, primarily online, expect to spend around $80.

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