The game itself is a zen thing with me. I believe that it is a mix of experience, geometry, and instinct. Play time is important as you learn what works and doesn't, but also it factors into muscle memory. I was on the top of my game back in high school, when I was playing 5 times a week. Now, I know the plays, but execution is off.
Regardless, I find the game a nice diversion once a week in the CPA league (whether 8 or 9 ball). Interesting point with league play is the style of play. Most people avoid bank shots like the plague. Often they will take the most difficult cut instead. I have found that bank shots can be used strategically to line up shape. Some of my more unorthodox thinking involves careens where you strike another ball to deflect the cueball to your object ball. In my "good old days" it didn't matter as much where the ball was - I could generally get to it. I use some of the tricks still to surprise my opponent.
I currently am team captain in one of the divisions in Mississauga. [Geez, even on my time off, the leadership gene keeps pulling me back in...] The intent is to have fun, but competition creeps in when comes time for playoffs and the opportunity to progress and compete in Las Vegas.