Page 1






table of contents



ORIGINS OF THE GAME..................................................................3

INTO THE STORM........................................................................58

THE GAMES EVOLUTION................................................................7

ACCEPT YOUR EMOTIONS...........................................................62

BILLIARD TIMELINE.........................................................................9

THE ID..........................................................................................65

DIFFERENT GAMES........................................................................11

THE “SIESTERS”............................................................................68


“PIN PULLERS”.............................................................................70

NO SHORTCUTS...........................................................................15

GOALS AND EXPECTATIONS.........................................................80

GETTING STARTED........................................................................17 FANS OF GEOMETRY.....................................................................19



FOLLOW AND DRAW....................................................................21

IMPOSSIBLE BECOMES POSSIBLE...................................................83


THE RUNNING ENGLISH POSITION SHOT......................................84

NINE DEFENSIVE STRATEGIES........................................................26


CHEATING THE POCKET................................................................28

THE SHOOT THROUGH SHOT.......................................................88

ACCURACY VS. SLOP....................................................................30

THE SIDE POCKET CHEAT-THE-POCKET SHOT...............................90

SPEED CONTROL 1......................................................................32

THE INLINE FROZEN BANK SHOT...................................................92

SPEED CONTROL 2......................................................................34

THE FROZEN CUSHION SHOT 1....................................................94

GETTING THE ANGLE....................................................................36

THE FROZEN CUSHION SHOT 2....................................................96

GOOD HABITS & BALANCE...........................................................38

THE CUSHION FIRST SHOT............................................................98

STANCE BUILDER..........................................................................40

THE DRAW CROSS TABLE SHOT..................................................100

THE “V” BRIDGE...........................................................................43

THE CURVED BALL SHOT.............................................................102

THE OPEN BRIDGE........................................................................44

THE JUMP SHOT..........................................................................104

THE RAIL BRIDGE..........................................................................47

THE HOOK SHOT........................................................................106

FEELING OF CONTROL.................................................................49


THE CUE SHOT..............................................................................51 DEVELOPING YOUR SENSES..........................................................52 PRACTICE SESSION.......................................................................55 GRACE UNDER PRESSURE..............................................................56

A – D...................................................................................110–111 E – O..................................................................................112–113 O – S...................................................................................114–115 S – W...................................................................................116–117

INDEX A – H..........................................................................................118 I – V............................................................................................119



the history of billiards

origins of the game


The game of billiards has long been played by kings and commoners, ladies, gentlemen, and hustlers alike. Evolving from a game played on lawns similar to the croquet played during the 15th century in France and Northern Europe. Soon play moved indoors onto a wooden table where green cloth was used to simulate grass, and a small border was placed around the edges. Balls were shoved, rather than struck, with wooden sticks called “maces.” “Billiard” is a term derived from French, from the word “billart”, one of the wooden sticks, or “bille”, a ball. Most of our information about early billiards comes from accounts of playing by royalty and other nobles. It has been known as the “Noble Game of Billiards” since the 1800’s, although there’s also evidence that people from all walks of life also played the game since its inception. In 1600, the game was familiar enough to the public that Shakespeare mentioned it in Antony and Cleopatra. Seventy-five years later, the first book of billiards rules remarked of England that there were few “few Tones of note there in which hath not a publi-ck Billiard-Table.” In the late 1600’s players developed the cue stick. When the ball lay near a rail, players found it inconvenient to use the mace because of its large head. In these cases players found that if they turned the mace around, it was easier to use its handle to strike the ball. The handle of mace was called a “queue” meaning “tail” from which we get the word “cue.” For a period time, only men were allowed to use the cue while women were forced to use the mace, becuase men felt they would be more likely to rip the table cloth with the shaper cue.



the history of billiards


origins of the game




the history of billiards


the games evolution


EARLY TERMINOLOGY Tables originally had flat walls for rails and their only function was to keep

Visitors from england taught Americans how called “banks”. Players discovered balls could bounce off the rails and began to use spin, explaining deliberately aiming at them. Thus a “bank shot”is one in which a ball is made why it is reffered to as to rebound from a cushion as part of the shot. Billiard equipment improved “english” in the us but rapidly in England after1800, largely because of the Industrial Revolution. nowhere else. Chalk was used to increase friction between the ball and the cue stick even

the balls from falling off. They resembled river banks and even used to be

before cues had tips. The leather cue tip, that a player is able to apply side-spin to the ball, was perfected by 1823. Visitors from England showed Americans how use spin, which explains why it is called “English” in the United States but nowhere else. (British refer to it as “side”.) The two-piece soon followed arriving in 1829. Slate became the popular choice for table beds around 1835. Goodyear discovered the vulcanization of rubber in 1839 and by 1845 it was being used to make billiard cushions. A two-to-one ratio of length to width became the standard table dimensions in the18th century. The billiard table had essentially evolved into its current form by 1850. The dominant billiard game in Britain from about 1770 until the1920’s was English Billiards, was played with three balls and six pockets on a rectangular table. British billiard tradition is carried on today through snooker, a complex and colorful game combining offensive and defensive aspects and played on the same equipment as English Billiards but with twenty-two balls instead of three. The British appetite for snooker is approached only by the American passion for the national pastime baseball. The dominant American billiard game until 1870 was American Four-Ball Billiards, usually played on a large (eleven or twelve foot), four-pocket table with four balls. The game was a direct extension of English Billiards. Points were scored by pocketing balls, scratching the cue ball, or by making caroms on two or three balls. A “carom” is the act of hitting two object balls with the cue ball in a single stroke.



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billiard timeline

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the history of billiards

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the history of billiards


different games

DIFFERENT GAMES A “carom” is when two object balls are hit with the cue ball in a single stroke. With many balls, there were many different ways of scoring and it was possible to make up to 13 pints on a single shot. American FourBall produced two offspring, both of which surpassed it in popularity by 1870. One, simple caroms played with three balls on a pocketless table, known as “Straight rail”, the forerunner of carom games. Other popular games were American Fifteen-Ball Pool, the predecessor of modern pocket billiards. The word “pool” means a collective bet, or ante. There are many nonbilliard games, such as poker, involve a pool but it was pocket billiards the name became attached to. The term “poolroom” today refers to a place where pool is played, however in the 19th century a poolroom intially referred to a betting parlor for horse racing.

Pool tables were initially installed so that patrons could pass time in between races. The two became connected in the public mind, although the unsavory connotation of “poolroom” came from the betting that took place there.

“Fifteen-Ball Pool was the predecessor of modern day pocket billiards.”



the history of billiards


different games

The term “poolroom” today now refers to a place where pool is played,

From 1878 until 1956, pool and billiard championship tournaments

however in the 19th century a poolroom intially referred to a betting

were held almost annually, with one-on-one challenge matches filling

parlor for horse racing. Pool tables were installed so that patrons could

the remaining months. There were times, including during the Civil

pass time between races. The two became connected in the minds of

War, billiard results received wider coverage than war news. Some of

the public, but the unsavory connotation of “poolroom” came from

the players were so renowned that cigarette cards were issued featuring

the betting that took place there, not from billiards.

them. Pool went to war several times as a popular recreation for the

Fifteen-Ball Pool was played with 15 object balls, that were numbered one through fifteen. For sinking a ball, the player received a number of points equal to the value of the ball. The sum of the ball values in a rack is 120, so the first player who received more than half the total, or 61, was the winner. This game, also called “61-Pool” was used in the first American championship pool tournament held in 1878 and won by Cyrille Dion, a Canadian. In 1888, it was thought to be more fair to count the number of balls pocketed by a player instead of each balls numerical value. Thus, Continuous Pool replaced Fifteen-Ball Pool as the championship game. The player who sank the last ball of the rack would break the following rack, and the point totals would be scored “continuously” from one rack to the next. The game of Eight-Ball was invented shortly after 1900, and Straight Pool followed in just ten years later in 1910. Nine-Ball was the last game to be developed, emerging another ten years later sometime in the early to mid 1920’s.

troops. Professional players toured military posts giving exhibitions; some even worked in the defense Industry. The game had more trouble emerging from World War II than it had getting in. Returning soldiers were in a mood to buy houses and build careers, and the charm of an afternoon spent at the pool table was a thing of the past. Room after room closed quietly and by the end of the 1950’s it looked as though the game might silently pass into oblivion. The poolroom in the 1920’s was an environment in which men gathered to loiter, smoke, fight, bet, and play. The rooms of today however bear no resemblance to those of the earlier times. Until very recently, billiards was dominated by men. The atmosphere of the poolroom was very forbidding and women had trouble being accepted. Nonetheless, women have been enthusiastic players since the game was brought up from the ground in the 15th century. For well over 200 hundred years now, women of fashion have played the game.

Through the early 1930’s, both pool and billiards, particularly threecushion billiards, shared the spotlight. While the term “billiards” refers to all games played on a billiard table, with or without pockets, some people take billiards to mean carom games only, using the term “pool” for pocket games. Through the early 1930’s, both pool and billiards, particularly three-cushion billiards, shared the spotlight.

While the term “billiards” refers to all games that are played on a billiard table, with or without pockets, some people take billiards to mean carom games only and use pool for pocket games.



fundamentals of the game


no shortcuts

The fundamentals of pocket billiards will surley take you further than all the knowledge and skills you may acquire. There are no shortcuts to the top. Most top ten shooters are succesful due to being fundamentally astandard. Those who would take a shortcut, usually only reach mediocrity at best. This type of player cannot go beyond average pool. The importance of building a solid foundation of the fundamentals cannot be stressed enough. Once you have the fundamentals, you can go on from there with very few limitations. This way, you can learn to enjoy this wonderful game. It’s our good performance which brings us the most pleasure when playing the game. Good performance comes from sound fundamentals. When I started out I had a poor stance, over tight grip and inadequate sighting techniques. After one year of practice I still could not form a solid bridge. I was inconsistent. I missed simple shots and got beat by lesser players, and experienced every type of loss possible. Sometimes when I had the game in hand, I would somehow find a way to lose. It was pathetic. However, after learning the basics and acquiring a sound understanding of the fundamentals I was able to win with consistency. During those inevitable long grueling matches, you’ll need command of the basics. When fatigue sets in, going back to the basics will carry you through and lead you to victory.



fundamentals of the game


getting started

GETTING STARTED An Important Tip  The most important tip is at the end of your cue.

Follow straight through  The tip is only in contact with the cue ball

If it flattens out or mushrooms, trim it with a razor blade and sand it

for one millisecond. What you do with your cue after that can’t affect

off so that it’s flush with the sides of the ferrule (the plastic collar onto

the cue ball, but you should develop the habit of following straight

which the tip is glued). Make sure you are very careful not to scratch

through. If your cue normally rises after contact or swerves toward the

or sand the ferrule or the wood of the shaft.

side of the English, then you’ll have a harder time hitting the cue ball

Hold it  Hold the cue as level as possible unless you are deliberately trying to make the ball curve or jump. When the tip is halfway from the cue ball to your bridge hand, your right forearm (assuming you are right-handed) should be aimed straight down at the floor. Hold the cue firmly but not tightly. Chalk up  Applying chalk to the tip before every shot is not too often, but it’s not necessary to chalk up so frequently when hitting the cue ball in the center. If the tip won’t hold chalk, rough it up with a piece of sandpaper or one of the many scuffers designed for the job. Don’t spin the cue into the chalk; instead, rock the chalk back and forth on the tip or brush the flat surface of the chalk across the tip. Crouch  Some top players bend down so low when aiming that their chins touch the cue. Most have their chins no more than a foot above the cue. If you are having trouble pocketing balls, it may be that you aren’t bending over far enough to aim the cue like a rifle. Aim  Really aim, do not just go through the motions. One way is to imagine where the cue ball must be at the moment of contact with the object ball, then aim precisely through the center of the imagined cue ball. Another way is to keep refining your aim until the hit looks just right, neither too thick nor too thin.

exactly where you want to and will increase your chances of a miscue. To develop a straight stroke, try picking a spot on the cloth six inches or so beyond the end of the cue and making the cue tip stop directly on it or above it after hitting the cue ball. Stay down  During your warm-up strokes and when hitting the cue ball, don’t bob yow head or move anything except your forearm. Let the cue follow straight through, then freeze until the cue ball is well on its way. Extraneous body movement during the stroke can make precision pool impossible. Your elbow should remain frozen in space until the end of the follow-through. Watch your eyes  When aiming, your eyes will move back and forth a few times between the cue ball and the object ball. Almost all top players have their eyes on the object ball–or a point of aim on a one of cushion–when they pull the trigger. One exception might be on a very easy shot where the critical factor is the amount of spin on the cue ball; then you might focus on the cue ball to make sure you hit it where you want to.


fundamentals of the game


fans of geometry

tangent line







THE GEOMETRY OF AIMING imaginary ghost ball angle

Fans of geometry and precision will like the method explained in this cu t

diagram. If you have trouble aiming cut shots, resorting to geometry

le ang

might help. Find point Y on the object ball directly opposite the target, A. Imagine the line BYA. Imagine line DXC, parallel to the first line, passing through the center of the cue ball. X, is the point where the line intersects the left edge of the cue ball. To make the shot, point X on the cue ball must hit point Y on the object ball. Aim the cue ball

impact line

GHOST-BALL AIMING When the cue ball hits an object ball, the ball will move in the direction of the impact line, which is the line between the ball centers at impact. The line of action should point towards your desired target. Aim the cue ball at the ghost ball center, not the contact point. cue ball object ball

On every shot that’s not straight in, an allowance for throw must be made. “Throw” is the term used to describe how a shot is thrown slightly off line by the frictional forces during the collision.



fundamentals of the game


follow and draw

center (stun) top-left

follow (top)



vertical plane



draw (bottom)

horizonatal plane


Follow and draw are essential elements in cue ball control. Both of them depend on striking the cue ball above or below its center on the vertical axis, although sidespin can be applied as well. You’ll learn the technique faster if you understand a bit of the underlying physics.

Follow  If a cue ball rolling naturally down the table strikes an object

Scientist and pool buff George Onoda noticed a very interesting fact

ball full in the face, the cue ball will stop dead in its tracks just for an

about striped pool balls: ordinarily the width of the stripe is exactly

instant, then its continuing rotation, which is reduced, although not

half the diameter. (Note, however, that some balls on the market today

eliminated by the impact, will cause the cue ball to continue to move

have wider stripes.) This permits an easy method of learning how to

forward, “following” the object ball.

apply maximum spin. Use a striped ball as a cue ball. Orient the stripe

When the cue tip strikes the cue ball halfway from the center to the top (to be precise, 70 percent of the diameter up from the bottom) on the vertical axis, the cue ball will start with natural roll immediately. Natural roll means that there is no slippage between the ball and the cloth. While it is possible to hit the cue ball slightly higher than 70 percent


of its diameter without miscuing, it is impossible to demonstrate in practice that doing so will create additional topspin. In other words, for practical purposes it is impossible to strike a cue ball so high that it begins its movement with much more rotation than natural roll. The distance the cue ball rolls after it hits an object ball, then, (provided


the added spin is in the rolling direction


the spin is against the rolling direction

the 70 percent point is where the tip hit the cue ball) depends only on how hard the cue ball is struck.

so that it’s exactly horizontal. The upper edge of the stripe is exactly halfway from the center of the ball to the top. Clean the ball, chalk your cue, and practice hitting the top edge of the stripe on the ball. After each try, examine the ball and see if the chalk mark left by the tip is on the edge of the stripe was on target.



fundamentals of the game

If the bottom edge of the cue tip should happen to hit the cloth first, for example, a miscue is almost a certainty. The best way to find out what a maximum low hit looks and feels like is to use a striped ball as the cue ball with the stripe horizontal. During your warm-up strokes, try to direct the upper edge of the cue tip toward the low edge of the



SIDESPIN Sides spin, or English, has little effect on the angle the cue ball takes off the ball it hits. That angle is influenced by topspin and backspin. What sidespin mainly does is change the way the cue ball bounces off

stripe, and after hitting the cue ball, see where the chalk smudge is.

a rail. Being able to judge the altered rebound angle accurately is so

To further reduce your chances of miscuing on maximum draw shots

much harder to pocket a ball when English is used than with a center

make sure that your tip is properly shaped and groomed and is well chalked; your bridge should be snug and hold your cue close to level. Players who have trouble getting adequate draw action almost always are not hitting the cue ball low enough. Another frequent flaw that prevents lively draw action is not hitting the cue ball strong enough when the cue ball is more than a couple of feet away. Most beginners should practice short straight-in shots, with the cue ball only six or

essential for position play. Because of squirt, throw, and swerve, it is ball hit. Top players, however, have an uncanny ability to accommodate and exploit these three variables. Players differ in their estimates of how often cue ball spin must be used, but it is probably less than 20 percent of the time. For the great majority of shots in pool, the cue ball can be controlled adequately by using center ball hits and varying


cw spin

eight inches from the object ball. At that distance, it is easy to learn how to draw the ball back several feet without hitting it hard. Stop  On straight-in shots, a cue ball that slides into the object ball with neither topspin nor backspin will stop dead. It takes practice and

ccw spin


a certain touch to shoot stop shots at all distances. On long, straight shots, considerable backspin must be applied, otherwise the friction of the cloth will reduce the backspin to zero and allow the cue ball to


begin rolling before it reaches the object ball.

“Throw” is used to describe the way the cue ball can push an object ball off line because of the friction between the balls at impact.



fundamentals of the game



Rebounds  One way to learn how to judge the effect of sidespin on

To see how much harder it is to make a shot when sidespin is used, set

cushion rebound angles is to practice simply using the cue ball. For

up a long diagonal straight-in shot with the object ball in the center

example, shoot the cue ball down the centerline and by using various

of the table and the cue ball four feet away. Try to make it with heavy

amounts of sidespin try to make it bank into any desired point on the

left or right English. If you can make a long, straight shot half of the

side rails, which can be marked with coins or balls. Drills like this get

time, with no English, you will be fortunate if you make it one time

boring fast, so it’s best to do them as competitive games with a friend.

in five with English.

English throw  It’s not quite accurate to say that the cue ball should

Squirt  Another factor that making English dangerous is deflection,

hit the object ball at a point directly opposite the pocket. That’s only

now usually called “squirt.” As mentioned already, when you hit a cue

correct advice if throw is ignored. “Throw” is the term used to describe

ball right or left of center, it will not travel in a direction that is exactly

the way the cue ball can push an object ball off line because of the fric-

parallel to the cue, it will diverge slightly in a direction opposite of the

tion between the balls at the moment of impact. Right English throws

English. Pool cues which have small diameter tips (between 11 and 12

the object ball slightly to the left, you must allow for it. The reason is

millimeters) cause less squirt than those that are fatter (between I2 and

that the leading edge of the cue ball is moving to the left, and when

13 millimeters) because there is less weight near the end of the shaft to

that moving surface hits the object ball, it grabs and throws it off line

push the cue ball off line.

to the left. The same explanation applies to the way a frozen two-ball combination is thrown off line if the first ball is hit on the side.

Swerve  A third factor which can make it harder to pocket balls when English is used is swerve. Unless the cue is exactly level, English will

Cut-shot throw  Throw occurs on cut shots, but it is difficult to see.

make the cue ball’s path bend slightly. The more you elevate the back

If you are cutting an object ball to the left, left-hand sidespin requires

of the cue, the more the cue ball will curve, or swerve. Because the cue

a slightly thinner hit than you would need if no sidespin were used.

is elevated at least slightly on the great majority of shots, swerve must

Right-hand spin will throw the object ball to the left, so it requires a

be considered when English is applied. There are, of course, situations

slightly thicker hit. Throw occurs on cut shots even if no English is

when swerve (technically masse) is needed in order to bend the cue ball

used because the surface of the cue ball rubs against the object ball,

around an interfering ball.

creating a frictional force. No throw occurs if the spin on the cue ball is such that it rolls off the object ball instead of rubbing against it.



fundamental s of the game










9   “SAFTEY”


nine defensive strategies

HERE’S A CONDENSED NINE POINT CHECKLIST OF DEFENISVE STRATEGIES TO KEEP IN MIND 1.  When coming to the table with the freedom to place the cue ball

7.  In eight-ball, say one of your opponent’s balls is jawed, thus making

anywhere, you naturally think offense. Think defense also, because the

a run out for you almost impossible. You might consider making his

same freedom can enable you to completely bury the cue ball.

ball by softly driving one of yours into it, thus replacing his ball with

2.  With ball in hand and a cluster that needs to be broken, consider playing safe in a way that breaks up the cluster. It may be possible to also drive the ball into the cluster and at the same time snooker your opponent. Such a double duty safety immediately turns the game in your favor. This is often referred to as “aggressive defense”. 3.  Practice what snooker players call the “stun run-through.” Hit the object ball full in the face while striking the cue ball just slightly above center. The result is that the object ball travels a long way and the cue ball creeps forward only a few inches ... very useful in safety play. 4.  In a game of nine-ball, if you are snookered and have little chance of hitting the lowest-numbered ball, you might consider taking a foul by bumping one ball against another to create a cluster and make it harder for your opponent to run out. 5.  In rune-ball, when the nine is in the jaws of the pocket, strategy changes completely. Search for ways to make the 9 with a combo or a carom. Don’t forget the option of pocketing the 9 directly if you have no decent shot. Better to make your opponent run out than to give him an easy combo or carom. 6.  In eight-ball don’t try to run out unless you are pretty sure you can, because if you are left with one or two balls while your opponent has five or six, you are at a great disadvantage. The table is cluttered with balls that are interference to you and opportunities for your opponent. Instead of making a ball, it can be better to block a pocket, reducing options for your opponent and leaving you an easy position shot later.

yours. Your inning is over, although, depending on the position of the other balls, you may have improved your position. Even caroming the cue ball off one of your balls into his jawed ball can be a strong play. The cue ball is left in the jaws, often a terrible leave for your opponent. 8.  In eight-ball, it’s sometimes worth making one of your opponent’s balls directly, even though your opponent gets ball in hand. Make the move when he or she has only one or two balls left and they are tied up. If you still have a lot of balls on the table, there may be no way for your opponent to run out, play safe, or avoid a sellout. 9.  Under most rules of eight-ball, you can pocket one of your balls and end your inning announcing “safety” before you shoot. It is rare that you would want to do that, but there are situations when it is the best play. Let’s say you have only one ball you can make, but no way to get position on the next ball. It’s easy to think of a few layouts where calling safe and making a ball will leave your opponent nothing.



fundamentals of the game


cheating the pocket

A player who tries to send the cue ball to f in the center of the table and ends up at g instead might say, “I shot too hard.” Its just as accurate to say, “I hit the 2 too thin.”



Shoot this shot three times with exactly the same English and speed




and the cue ball will land on three different spots, depending on the hit. A full hit that sends the 2-ball to the left side of the pocket will stop at fin the center of the table. If the 2-ball enters the middle of the pocket, the cue ball will roll a farther and stop at h. The thinnest possible hit on the 2-ball that still puts it in the pocket sends the cue




ball to g. The three hits carom the cue ball off the 2-ball along three



different lines; because of interfering balls, only one might be usable


in playing position.









fundamentals of the game


accuracy vs slop

Your mechanics have to be very good to make such a shot consistently.

ACCURACY VERSUS SLOP A long, straight shot with the object ball halfway from the cue ball to the pocket presents the smallest margin for error and is therefore

t angle

large cu


a good one to practice. Your mechanics have to be very good to make such a shot consistently.


At the left, the 8-ball is in the way of the 5-ball. Shoot firmly and the ball will rattle in the jaws and not go in. The best chance to make it is to shoot so softly that the 5-ball just barely reaches the pocket. Unless the pocket is very tight, the ball will drop after bouncing lightly off one or both faces of the jaws.

SIDE VIEW (looking along the aiming line)

30° ¼ ¼ ball hit

½ ½ ball hit

¾ ¾ ball hit


30° small cut angle










fundamentals of the game


speed control I

The idea is to bank the cue ball off six rails and make it come to rest on a dollar bill. With half an hour of secret practice, you’ll be able to impress your friends.

SPEED CONTROL I One place where speed control is the only thing that counts is the lag for break, but it is important on almost every shot. One interesting game that will improve your touch is to place a sheet of typing paper anywhere on the table and try to land the cue ball on it after a bank of three or more rails. Shoot until you fail, always starting from wherever the cue ball stops. The same sequence of rails can’t be used twice in a row. When you fail, your opponent shoots. Who ever can reach ten successes first wins. When used as a solo test, keep track of how many shots it takes you to land on the paper ten times.

follow (topspin)

decreasing topspin

normal topspin

FOLLOW SHOT ball center height

normal roll impact height


rail impact height



fundamentals of the game


speed control II

SPEED CONTROL II In nine-ball, you frequently will have to make a ball and send the cue ball off several rails for position. Here’s a shot you should try a few times. Cut the 7-ball in and, depending on your level of skill, put the cue ball on a sheet of typing paper, a half a sheet, a quarter of a sheet, or a dollar bill.

target line

object ball angle error

e th all n ee t b tw jec be b e do nc an sta ll di ba e cu

cue ball angle error

In nine-ball, you frequently will have to make a ball and send the cue ball off several rails for position.

aiming line




fundamentals of the game


getting an angle

One of the keys to running balls is getting an angle.

GETTING AN ANGLE One of the keys to running balls is getting an angle. Not only must you make the first ball, you must get an angle on the next ball that permits you to get to the third one. In other words, you must plan three shots ahead. If there is a cluster that has to be broken up, the task becomes getting an angle on a ball that can be used as a break ball. Balls 6-7 must be separated, as seen in the diagram right. To do this, you must follow forward softly on the 4-ball, leaving the cue ball in a position to carom into the cluster while cutting the S-ball into the corner. A good nine-ball player would spot the possibility at a glance even with five other balls on the table and might make the 1-,2-, and 3-balls in a way that leaves the diagrammed position.

30° deflected angle

aiming line

fast medium slow the cue ball’s path is deflected by 30º



fundamentals of the game


First you must find your balance point and then work on improving

On the other side of the coin, bad habits are hard to break.

it. Balance begins in the pit of your stomach, extending down through

Once you start out wrong, you very rarely succeed. This book will help you contruct a solid foundation for your game and then you can increase your skills so that you can play with anybody. Bad habits must be replaced. They cannot be broken. There are exceptions to any rule. Willie Hoppe for example had an awkward stance. He delivered his stroke across his chest. Pete Rose is hunched over at the plate. Lee Trevino has a sloppy golf swing. Yet these athletes were the best in the world. Once you understand the fundamentals of the game, you will naturally adapt them to your own personality. You are unique. There is no one like you. You must learn grow and develop your skills according to your personal capabilities singing the song, “I Did It My Way” as you improve. You cannot be a champion by copying someone else. There are many stages in pocket billiards. You must be fundamentally sound in all of them. You need to master each level before going on to the next. If you do this, you will make the top ten in your league with ease. This can be achieved with just a minimum amount of practice. You begin with desire to win and an ability to pay attention.


good habits & balance

your legs. Judo and Karate experts are among those who realized this some eons ago. Proper body balance is critical for building a good stance, cue stroke and a consistent sighting technique. You can practice balance twenty-four hours a day. When leaving your car, do this without hesitating or losing a single step. When you walk up the stairs, do a three sixty - without a stagger. Walk on the yellow line in the parking lot. If you find yourself in a crowded place, see how fast you are able to walk without knocking someone over. Children often use these exercises to build confidence in themselves. They never go from point A to point B without detours. During their developmental years, they do all sorts of things to learn good body posture. Practice balance in everything you do. Soon, it will be a natural as breathing. You’ll find that as you practice balance you will become aware of a certain pace at which you do things. This is important because it is uniquely your own. Once you tap into your pace, you can then go on to high levels in all sports. One exercise we did in our religious training was to stand in the “Tree” posture. While this exercise was not designed for pool players, I’ve found it a great aid to building balance. Stance is the beginning of each shot. If you set up properly, you will increase your chances of making the shot. If you are out or line, you will miss many shots. As you approach the table, assume your natural position. Do not emulate others. Once you have decided upon a shot, set yourself according to your stance. For instance, I draw a line from the object ball to the inner part of my right thigh and plant my feet. Then I move my left leg forward to where I’m balanced and comfortable. At this point, I bend over to address the cue ball, and recheck my lines. One, the line to my right thigh and two, is my left foot aimed at the object ball? If this is done correctly, I find that my chances of missing are slim. My confidence is high and I am ready to make the ball. Sometimes I will need to make an adjustment. I will move my right foot forward or backward to obtain better vision. If you are not lined up, do not sway to align yourself. You have to completely reset




fundamentals of the game


stance builder

STANCE BULDER The following is an exercise to check your stance.

Shoot the numbered balls, one through six, into the corner pockets on the bottom rail. Readjust your stance each time you play a ball. This way you will become accustomed to the procedure each time you take a shot. Remember to draw a line from the sight on the cue ball, or object ball to the inner right thigh. Lay the cue down and then step into the shot. This way, you are building a good solid foundation for your game.

fast medium slow

If the number one ball strikes the right rail, simply readjust your stance to the right. And should it strike the top rail, you readjust to


the left. These minor adjustments will soon come to you automatically. This proves why practice is so important. However you must

direction A has the largest effective size of any direction to the pocket due to possible interaction with the rail


practice the right thing. Remember, a good stance takes time to develop, be patient.



direction B has an effective target size much smaller than direction A



fundamentals of the game


the “vee”bridge

THE “VEE” BRIDGE Inevitably you’ll run into a situation during a game where you cannot

Sometimes a good bridge is impossible to make. These are the times

get into a good solid stance. Certain shots will not permit this. Such

when the “Vee” bridge comes in. Again you are unable to form a solid

as a rail shot or a frozen ball shot. When the cue ball is centered in a

stance. The Vee bridge forces you to stand up on your toes and take a

cluster, you will not be able to approach the shot with a fundamental

shorter stroke. In order to master the Vee bridge, you must practice.

stance. When confronted with this type of situation, you must first

When two balls are frozen together, it’s often easy to touch one when

acknowledge it. You’ll then need to focus all your attention on hitting

attempting the shot. If this happens, you have fouled, and as a result

the cue ball in the just right place. When you are up against the rail

you give your opponent ball in hand. Which could result in loss of

and need to make a cut shot into the corner pocket, you must make

game. Let’s get to work on this one. Begin by placing your fingers in

a good hit on the cue ball. After you line up the shot, focus all of your

an upright position and extend your thumb outward in order to form

energy on a clean hit on the cue ball. In this case, don’t look at the spot

a Vee. There are two things you must remember and learn. First, your

on the object ball. Achieving a solid hit is much more important than

stroke must be smooth and free of poking, jabbing, and english. Move

fundamentals in this type of situation.

your grip forward two to three inches ahead of the cues balance point.

Sometimes a good bridge is impossible to make. These are the times when the “Vee” bridge comes in. When you raise your stick up, which you must do, you tend to be out of balance. This can be corrected when you bring your grip forward. Do an exercise with several frozen balls around the table and begin by target line angle to the pocket pocket centerline

simply shooting them into the pocket. After you gain confidence, set up shots. It takes time to master these shots, so be patient. If this shot is in your arsenal, you will make the top ten in your league.



fundamentals of the game


the open bridge



Do an exercise with several frozen balls around the table and begin by

The basic bridge is a versatile one. For follow shots, just adjust your

simply shooting them into the pocket. After you gain confidence, set

bridge by simply drawing your fingers toward yourself and raising the

up shots. It takes time to master these shots, so be patient. If this shot

bridge. For draw shots, just extend them outward until your bridge is

is in your arsenal, you will make the top ten in your league.

lowered. You may draw your middle finger in behind your thumb to

The basic bridge will be used most of time during your playing days, especially on a small bar table. So you should spend a good amount

offer more stability to your shot if your hand is smaller than average.

of time learning this bridge. To form this bridge, lay your hand flat on

Try both of them and choose which one works best for you. In the road

the table with your fingers apart. As in all bridges, this one must be

to enlightenment, we choose what works best for us. All roads lead to

solid. Raise your index finger and then move your thumb and middle

perfection. Some of us take the long way around. Control, or a feel-

finger towards each other until they are parallel. Do not move your

ing of control, is what you look for on these shots. On rail shots, try

pinky and forefinger. Make sure to keep these fingers pressed firmly

to keep your eyes on the cue ball as you shoot, after all hitting the cue

on the table. These two fingers are the key to a solid bridge. You may

ball is what a rail shot is all about.

have to develop muscles to keep them firm. Now you must place the cue shaft over your thumb and middle ringer. Then pull your index finger over the shaft. At this point your thumb will be above the table approximately 1/2-inch to an inch. Thus forming a basic bridge.

fast medium slow

I use this type of bridge because the basic one is too loose for me.

the cue ball deflects while the object ball compresses the rail

the object ball clears the cue ball

I realize that this material is boring and repetitive, but this is where it all begins. We must face these fundamentals if we are to get to the exciting part of beating people, and learning the art of billiard play.

As in the road to enlightenment, we choose what works best for us. All roads lead to perfection. Some of us take the long way around. minimum cut angle (about 25ยบ) smaller rebound angle



fundamentals of the game


the rail bridge


the object ball is initially frozen to the rail, and barely clears the cue ball to prevent a double kiss

the cue ball stuns in place

The rail bridge is the most difficult to describe and teach. The reason

You will win or lose games by how well you use the mechanical bridge.

for this is that this bridge is best learned when it comes naturally to

Some people call it the “ladies’ aid” or “crutch.” What ever you want

you. You discover the rail bridge. I, however, place my cue on the rail

to call it, you had better be able to use it. There are many occasions we

and surround the shaft with my middle and forefingers to maintain

have missed critical shots because we stretched too far? This is espe-

stability. Then, I simply shoot between them with as much control as

cially true in our position. So the mechanical bridge will be a must on

is possible. Sometimes you will use the complete open bridge or the

our “we better master” list. The arm of the bridge is to be placed flat

basic bridge. There is no clear cut rule for using the rail bridge. You’ll

on the bed of the table whenever possible and held firmly. Place your

find what works for you. Control, or a feeling of control, is what you

cue on the rack and hold it in front of your chin. Sight down the shaft.

look for on these shots. On rail shots, try to keep your eye on the cue

Your head must be directly in front or the shot. Do not over stroke.

ball as you shoot, hitting the cue ball is what a rail shot is all about.

Treat this shot as you would a short shot and play to make it. Don’t

Find what works for you. Control, or a feeling of control, is what you look for on these shots. On rail shots, try to keep your eye on the cue

draw or follow or use any english when using the mechanical bridge. Just make the shot and go on from there.

ball as you shoot, hitting the cue ball is what a rail shot is all about.




There is no specific rule for using the rail bridge. Simply use what works for you.



fundamentals of the game

the rail bridge




fundamentals of the game


the cue shot

THE CUE SHOT From time to time, as you develop and become a good pool player, you will run into shots you cannot see. For one reason or another, you will be unable to see the mark on the object ball. You just plain don’t see the angle. This is where your practice of the fundamentals pays off. You’ll need to rely on your stroke and experience for these blind shot. Feel and instinct play a big part in these shots. At times, especially in a slump, you must push yourself to feel your way around the table. We all have our “dreaded” shot. For some people, it is the cut shot in the side pocket. Others hate the long shot, and still others will not shoot rail shots. For me, it is the long cut shot into the corner pocket.

For some reason, I can’t see this type of a cut shot. Hours upon hours of practice has not helped me to see the angle for full table cut shots. If you cannot see a shot, then you will have to trust your stroke. I make this shot 85% of the time, and in the league, this is good enough. My method gives me the best chance to succeed when I can not see the angle. First I walk around the table to my object ball and line it up. While I am standing near the ball, I can readily see the mark. Then I place my chalk in a direct line with the cue ball. Now I return to the cue ball and assume my stance. I aim at the chalk. Next I bring my sightback to the cue ball. Now I look at the tip of my cue to see if it’s lined up with the chalk. Since I cannot see the angle on the object ball, I simply focus in on the chalk and stroke with my best stroke. I succeed over 80% of the time. What I have done is bring my target closer to me. The spot on the object ball is far away. The chalk is bigger. When I sight the cue ball, my target then becomes an easy mark. Here I have the target directly in front of me. It’s as if I’m standing just three feet away from a huge dart board. Your instincts and your sense of feel will have a lot to do with your making the top ten in the league. You can measure your ability to feel a shot by practicing a simple procedure. When you use english, you must be able to sense where the cue ball is will end up after it makes contact with a rail. I will discuss english in another chapter. But for now, I would like you to absorb this information in your computer banks. The use of it will be developed in time.



fundamentals of the game



developing your senses

vertical plane

Let me give you an example. Strike the cue ball using left english and send it to the rail as illustrated. See diagram page 53. Hit the number seven diamond. If you can predict whether the cue ball will rebound towards the number one or two diamond on the long rail, you have


developed a sense about what you are doing. You have to be able to horizonatal plane

determine this information before the cue ball strikes the rail. Sounds difficult, but it’s not. We all have this type of instinct. Once when I was, on the golf course, I hit an errant drive into the rough. I then had a shot of one hundred eighty yards to the fairway, so I used my three wood and hit the ball well. I didn’t see the ball leave my club, yet I was able to sense that I had hit it two hundred and thirty yards, a little to the right. When I reached this spot, I was amazed to find my ball. My

Sometimes I use phrases to create a sense of peace and relaxation. In a dificult match, I may say to myself, “With a gentle undulating swell, the spring sea rose and fell, rose and fell, rose and fell.” instincts are fully developed. I can tell whether I have missed a shot just by the sound of my cue tip hitting the cue ball. The center fielder leaves at the crack of the bat, races to the spot where the ball will land,


and makes a one handed running catch. How does he know where the ball will land so soon after it was hit? There is a lot of information available to us through our senses. I will show you how to locate this feedback information, and your shooting will improve dramatically. That will come later. For now, we are working on the fundamentals.

sideways rail force opposing spin

rolling direction along rail

And, in order to master these fundamentals, we must practice them until they become a natural piece of our game. There is no class of people more bullheaded and stubborn than pool players. Most want to take short cuts. After two years of practice, I went back to the basics in order to improve my game. I was stuck in a rut and could not get

deflected motion

any better. If you decide to take the short cut and do it on your own, keep this book, you will definitely come back to it when you really want to master the game.

Strike the cue ball using right english and hit the number seven diamond at the opposite end of the table. Will the cue ball rebound towards the number one diamond or the number two diamond?



fundamentals of the game


practice session


PRACTICE SESSION While you have read about the fundamentals of pocket billiards. It is now necessary to practice them. During the practice session, make it a conscious effort to go through a checklist before each shot you take. An airline pilot won’t take off until he checks his plane, so you should

left English

not take your shot until you’re ready. Once you shoot, it is too late to correct any errors. A Buddhist Monk once told me that, “You cannot retrieve an arrow once it’s in fight.” The first thing to check is your balance and stance. Be sure that you are comfortable. Then check your bridge. Pay close attention to your grip. Make sure it’s not too Light. One more thing you must do is pay close attention to your legs and left English deflects the rebound to the left

buttock muscles. Are they tense and tight? Let go and relax. You can not deliver a smooth stroke with tense and tight muscles. In addition, you will tire out in long matches if you are uptight. You must practice these fundamental elements until they become as natural as breathing. Sometimes I use phrases to create a sense of peace and relaxation. In a difficult match, I may say to myself, “With a gentle undulating swell, the spring sea rose and fell, rose and fell, rose and fell.”

A Buddhist Monk once told me that, “You cannot retrieve an arrow once it’s in fight.”

right English

no English

At this point, you are practicing the basics. You will not necessarily make a lot of shots if you are concentrating on your stance and bridge. right English deflects the rebound to the right

Although if you succeed in standing well balanced, and with a solid bridge, holding your cue loosely and relaxing at the table, you’re successful at this practice session. If you make the shots after all of this, then you are really on your way. It doesn’t take long to command the basics to your system. If you will work on them first, you can develop great potential in just matter of months. Gaining the ability to make shots is what takes time. Many beginners make the mistake of thinking they must make a shot to be a good player. Stick to the basics first, and the shot making will follow. The wayside is strewn with more than a few frustrated pool players who never practiced the basics.

no English deflects the rebound straight off the rail



fundamentals of the game


grace under pressure

GRACE UNDER PRESSURE As you progress, you’ll enter matches and be inclined to choke under pressure. I once went to a psychologist to see if he could help me overcome my tendency to choke in pressure situations. This problem had become serious. I’d make a great run only to miss an easy hot on the money ball. He told me that some people have it and some do not. “The ability to perform under pressure is a gift,” he said. I really feel I should have gotten my money back. He was truly dead wrong. We can learn to overcome choking by exercising the basics and believing in ourselves. This method will work well when you reach the money ball or the key ball in a run. Decide on your shot and assume the proper stance. Say to yourself “ready” and determine if you are, then say “set, go.” On the word set, draw your cue back. and on go, stroke it forward



through the cue ball. “Set” (back). “Go” (forward through the ball). Time this to your stroke. As a child, I’m sure you were familiar with this phrase. “Ready, set. go!” You learned to react to it and to trust it. When you use these words on a shot, you will find your self relaxing


and getting ready to shoot.

Now for the game it self. The first thing you do when you approach

You are on the never-ending road to perfection. You must not over-

the table is to decide on a shot. Then you must sight it. At this point,

look anything. Always strive to be better, yet accept yourself as you are

you will get into position to shoot. Visualize the shot as already being

right now. You are doing your best and there is nothing more you can

made, creating a mental picture of the ball smoothly sailing into the

ask of yourself. If you are unable to run the table and lose, be kind and

pocket. Imagine the pockets as wide as barn doors and then send it on

believe that you did your best. Sure you could have made that shot,

its way. This is really the fundamental game of pocket billiards. If you

but you didn’t. Don’t be your worst enemy. When I became friends

master these and still do not make balls, at least you will look nice at

with myself and stopped beating my own brains out, I really started

the table. Perhaps you can scare your opponent to death. They’ll say,

to perform. Shoot only the shots you can make. Build your game one

“He must be good. Look how smooth he is.” If you master the funda-

step at a time. No one can stay in the top ten in his league without a

mentals and go no further, then perhaps you should consider selling

good foundation in this game. You will need this solid foundation to

your cue. There’s more to this game than basics. You’re just beginning.

survive your season.



the game within

The game of pocket billiards embraces the inner soul and brings you face to face with yourself. It is a miror which reflects both your fears and insecurities, and your courageous spirit. If you pursue this game, you will see very clearly how your feelings can affect your performance. This is a chapter on that inner person who is your real self where we will begin to examine those traits which help you win the games, or cause you to lose. This section is reserved for those fearless ones who want to go far beyond the boundaries of mediocrity and into a world elevated by challenging performances. The pleasures of the harbor can destroy you and leave you defenseless. When the storm’s about, you’ve got to ride it out if you are ever to sail again. And into the storm you go. Especially when you face the “man in the mirror.” Certain shots at certain times cause us great concern. We tense up and become timid and unsure. Sometimes it isn’t even the critical ball in a run. We come to a situation where we simply cannot perform. We cannot rely upon our performance. The game has rendered us helpless. Like a man stands helpless before the firing squad, we await the final blow. For us however there is no relief in death. We must live to see our failure to make an easy shot. What baffles us most is that after we miss, we know that we could then make the shot ten times in a row. Here is where we leave the fundamentals of shot making and take up the fundamentals of shot maker and the game within. When you enter that pool room and pick up that pool cue, you have become a warrior in the field of battle. There are many weapons in this war, although the most important tool is the one centered around the human emotions. If you are to succeed, you must get these emotions under control. Here is where the road thins out. It is not too heavily travelled. With just a few warriors here and there trading a sparsely travelled path. A pool is a mirror of the individual, those who go on are not afraid of what they see.

into the storm




the game within

into the storm





the game within

The game weeds the weak from among its field. The most common

Who are you? What is your game? As you improve in pocket billiards,

thread that holds pool players together is the knowledge that we are

a unique style will emerge. Once you have reached this level, you will

willing to recognize ourselves as we truly are. The bond is our ability

then have something to rely on. Irving Crane was a defensive genius.

to accept ourselves and function within those limits. When one player

He was known for his safety play. He won world titles with consistent

knows another, they recognize each other instantly. Friendships that

runs of thirty and forty balls. Willie Mosconie, on the other hand, was

last a lifetime are formed within minutes, fostered by the knowledge

an offensive great. His high run titles still stand today, and his many

that we’re on the same road together. You do not need to be a master

accomplishments are legendary. Yet when Willie Mosconie and Irving

pool player to tread these paths. We are all on the same road. I once

Crane played for world titles, the bet was even money. Both players

marvelled at a player who seemed to be in complete control of himself

had perfected their styles. If your style has worked for you in the past,

and remarked on how I would like to be at his level. He then told me,

stick with it. This will give you a sense of stability in tough matches.

“We are all on the road. I’m just another straggler.”

Some players get caught up in a search for a magic formula. There are


none. You are a performer who is uniquely different. Find your style and perfect it to your best ability.

Once you understand and accept your emotions, you are on the road

Subtle factors often cause us to miss. When we do, our self-defeating

to “pooldom come.” You then become, JUST another traveller .... And

personalities are magnified. Everything looks worse than it actually is.

where does this road lead? As Harry Chapin once said, “It’s got to be

We are liable to “overdrown.” I once had a friend pound his head and

the going, not the getting there, that’s good.” Because all good Pool

ask, “How can one human being be so bad?” The subtleties of our own

Players are always “going.”

human nature pick and scratch away at the pool game, until we find

The principle of emotional control is prevalent in every competitive sport. Your performance will always suffer when you are intimidated.


accept your emotions

ourselves not even coming close to our potential. We’re far worse than when we started out. When this happens, we are in trouble.

In baseball, for instance, some relief pitchers employ antics to upset

My team is famous for second guessing. They always know the right

a hitter’ timing. When this works, a three hundred hitter becomes a

shot after I’ve missed. Even when I run the table, one of them will say.

meek two hundred hitter. Anytime you allow your opponent to intim-

“Gee, I didn’t see it the way you saw it. “This would unsettle me. There

idate you your performance will suffer. In order for your opponent to

were times when I wasn’t sure I was shooting the right shot. I would

talk however, you must listen. One does not carry on a conversation

miss shots I ordinarily made. Every time I made a mistake, one of my

with oneself. Those who can keep their emotions under control are

teammates would ask me, “Why did you take that ball?” How can you

generally free. They do not listen to their opponent.

argue with them? They are right and you are wrong.





the game within


the id

Perhaps they are not so right after all. I would not miss as often if they


didn’t second guess me. If I could reduce the effects of their second guessing, I could make more balls. So I worked on this aspect. Once I did this, the results were much better. Still, there was another subtle voice whispering in my ear. Not only did the team second guess me,

cue ball motion slowing sliding force

I began to second guess myself. This was not so bad, except I second guessed myself before I took the shot! I was worse than the team. As I prepared to shoot, I would say things like ,”remember to hit this one

draw (bottom spin)

hard. You know you missed this shot before because your hit was too soft, and make sure you shoot it with follow. Don’t forget, follow is when you allow your wrist to go limp just as you hit the ball, so pay attention to your wrist to see if it goes limp. On second thought, why take this shot at all? You’re better at draw than follow anyway. Make sure you don’t miss this draw shot. The team will think you’re show boating. And you don’t want to be called a show-off, so better take the

no sliding force

follow shot even though it’s the wrong shot after all.” How would you like to have all that running through your head when you are trying to

nornal roll

win a game? I thought the entire team was having an argument in the corner of my mind. The game is difficult enough. We do not have to make it harder than it already is.

When we lose, the Id calls us “dummies and lame brains” and blames us for choking. It is a very vicious cycle that seems to go on and on. Freud called these little voices in our head the Id. The Id is the child within who wants control of our every move. This crafty little devil will be with us for the rest of our lives, but those who rise above the Id will be the ones who win the most games. You must learn to control the Id. You must stroke freely. Letting go and shooting is giving up the control the Id has. This is definitely not an easy task. You must learn

accelerating sliding force

to recognize the whispering voice from the Id and face it squarely until you have gained your freedom. In all honesty, I don’t know if the Id wants us to win or not. But I do know this - when the Id gets control, we are likely to lose. And when we lose, the Id calls us “dummies and lame brains” and blames us for choking. It is a very vicious cycle that seems to go on and on.

follow (topspin)



the game within


the id

I’ve heard players cry and complain that they were better player, two years ago than they are now. They can’t help but scratch their heads and wonder what happened to their game. Why has it deteriorated? I once knew a man who shot par on the golf course simply because he expected to. He thought everyone did. He worked nights and played his golf during the daytime. He played alone and figured that he was supposed to make a four when on a par four. The sign said four so he made a four. His friends found out about his remarkable ability and urged him to quit his job and join the pro tour. “Make a career out of golf,” they said. “Take lessons.” Unfortunatley when he began to think about his game and ways to improve it, he lost his natural ability to make par. His game went downhill from there on. When we evaluate

They cause us to become discouraged. When we evaluate our performance and begin to compare, we open the door for the Id. Once we listen to that other self, we are in deep trouble, and for many these troubles are permanent. We eventually quit competition altogether as a result. The wayside is strewn with frustrated pool players who mutter evaluations and comparison. Instead or seeing things as they really are, we begin to blame the elements such as poor lighting, uneven tables, family problems, financial pressures, and even the dampness in the air. We start to make up all kinds of excuses. Tragically, we start to make excuses for losing even before we play the game.

I own a vintage 1909 Brunswick, Balke, Collender pool table. It is a

You’re leaning into your stance and getting ready to run the eight ball

magnificent piece of furniture. I paid four hundred dollars for it. It is

down the rail. This is a must game for your team, and it would be your

worth thousands and thousands of dollars. The previous owner had

third win in a row. Your average is going to soar. Then into your ear

lost all drive and enthusiasm. He was one of the many waysiders who

comes this unmistakable whisper. “Be careful buddy. If you hit the ball

wonders what has happened. At the time, I couldn’t understand how

before the rail, it will come out and give your opponent a shot. And

someone who was that good could quit. “I’ll never get better,” he told

remember, you missed this very same shot against the Log Jam when

me. “All I do is get worse.” Now I understand what has happened to

you hit the rail first. Do not hit the ball first either. That would be a

him. His Id is in complete control. I made a great purchase, however

disaster. Be careful. Don’t screw this up!” It all sounds like harmless

the league lost a good player. If you want to improve and continue to

advice. Sounds like a concerned friend who is trying to help you win a

enjoy the game of pocket billiards, you will have to face the man in the

game. But it is not. It is the other self trying to take complete control

mirror. When you do this, you will make the top ten and even go on

of you. If you miss, he’ll whisper, “See, I told you to watch out.” And

to some tournaments as well. One of the reasons why the comraderie

if you make the shot he’ll say. “It’s a good thing you have me because

is so strong at pool tournaments is because all the players understand

you would have blown this game on your own.” The Id takes the credit

what you have been through to get where you are. It’s without a doubt

when you win and blames you when you lose. This disruptive person-

worth the pain and sacrifice.

ality will cost you more games than you will win.



the game within


the “siesters”


control, 1 know I am going to blow a shot. Any time Herman rises up

Sometimes when you stand at the table facing a very makeable shot,

that. If your Herman literally rose up and you shined a bright light on

you’re suddenly seized with the uncomfortable reality that you cannot

it. would it stay up? My ld, like most trouble makers, does not like to

make this shot. You are going to miss. You’ve made dozens before, but

operate in the light. In many cases, he would leave me alone. If you’re

now you are certain that you will not succeed. You will lose this game.

going to miss a shot, at least do it out in the open. Shine the light on

Even when you miss the shot, you just cannot understand why. You

the troublemaker and let him demonstrate his devious methods out in

are powerless. Few players survive this experience. This is the dreaded

the open for all to see. You may be surprised by the sudden return of

“siesters.” Once this happens, you are just about finished. Or worse still, you will be relegated to playing inferior competition. If you are infested with the “siesters” you’ll choke on the key ball almost every time. Under pressure in a match, you’ll play below your capability. The “siesters” are caused by that other sell’. It is the ld. You can get the “siester” in other experiences in life. Once a beautiful girl shook me up so bad that when she said good-bye at the store, I said “you too,” I do not care for Sigmund Freud. His theories are nothing more than theories. Socrates and some of the great Buddhist master pounded on those ideas long before Freud came along. Jesus was aware of our dual personalities as well. And I don’t even like the word Id. So I named my

to offer advice, I turn this bright imaginary light on him. Think about

Don’t think you will ever get rid of your other self. You will deal with your ld the rest of your life. Don’t think you will ever get rid of your other self. You will deal with your ld the rest of your life. This inner battle has been going on since the beggining of time. The Christians have their God and Devil. The Greeks have a variety of good gods and bad gods, and the Indian are caught up in many good spirits and bad spirits. This form of dualism has plagued mankind forever.

other self Herman. My Herman likes to get into very tight places and

There is no God on one side and another power on the other playing

usually when he does, trouble follows. Especially with the emotions.

tug of war with your emotions. This is all happening inside of you. It

Herman does contribute some good at times, however. Still, once the

is within ourselves where we deal with the turmoil of two selves. If we

other self gets control, we are helpless.

can become our real self, we’ll perform better on the pool table. When

The other self is like a child. Do you remember when an adult told you to do a certain job and you did not want him around while you performed the task? This way you could take a short cut and do it your way. Well. the only treatment I have found for the other self is to turn the big bright light of reality on his every move. When Herman is in

you truly come into your own, the light will be to bright for the other self to operate effectively. A champion does not have the other self rattling around in his head when he is running the table. He is free, and gaining this freedom is what we’re working for. We get there by never giving up and continuing to practice, practice, practice, practice.



the game within

“pin pullers”



“PIN PULLERS” Sometimes, there are those who enjoy the other self controlling them.

It’s not the player who sees the flaws, such as poor lighting, tables that

They have been acclimated to this destruction and actually are quite

are not level, weighted cue balls, worn felt, tough pockets, etc., etc. It’s

comfortable with this role. Winning is contrary to their nature. They

the Id. He looks for reasons to lose even before he gets to the match.

are not comfortable with winning, often make up excuses for making great shots. I enjoy playing these types of players because I always win. If you want to win money from one of these “pin pullers”, all you have to do is pretend to be just like him and play a little bit better. When they run the table, they claim to be just lucky. If they put together a modest winning streak, they will tell everyone they are playing over their heads. These “pin pullers” are actually quite talented. Their poor self image is ingrained so deeply within themselves that they simply will not allow themselves to perform up to their potential. How many times have you seen a player make a fantastic shot, only to blow the next one? There is always a joker in the crowd who says, “the same guy shot that one?” Overcoming the negative attitudes caused by our other self takes hard work. Herman had me convinced that I belonged in a barn shoveling shit, and even then I might not be qualified. You can overcome this tumbling block. You must understand your goals. If you want to make the top ten in your league, you must shed the other self and gain your freedom. To accomplish this feet, you have to practice gaining your freedom.

In order to gain this freedom you’ll need to understand and control your emotions. Here’s where the so-called fun is stripped out of your game. Do you think Irving Crane was having fun when he won those world titles? Some people call him the Undertaker. Willie Mosconie shows almost no expression when he is running rack after rack. Even the modern-day players are intense competitors with no time for emotion. The emotion is saved for after the rack. Not during the game. You cannot rely on emotion during a long contest. Pool is quite different from any other sport. Every shot is a pressure shot. You can’t retrieve an arrow once it is in flight, nor can you correct an errant pool shot. How you feel about yourself is critical. In the game of pocket billiards, every shot is a four-foot par putt or a two strike, ninety-miles-per-hour fast ball. Make a just a few mistakes in game of pool, and you will be emptying your pockets.




the game within


Then there’s the player who wants everything to be perfect. Here you make subtle remarks about the poor lighting. How it is hard to see the edges of the shiny black eight ball. The table is not quite level and the cue ball does not draw right. “It’s one of those cheap weighted ones” you say. One rail is dead and you have forgotten which one it is. These are the players who look for reasons to lose before they’ve begun the match. You wonder why anyone like this would play for money. But they do. This reminds me of the Buddhist story, where the frog asked the centipede, “Hey fellow, which leg follows which leg?” When the centipede stopped to think about it and couldn’t walk any more. I would like to point out something of great importance here. We’re talking about psyching league shooters. You won’t get away with it if you try it on a pro. In fact, a pro can turn the tide on you. When some-

SHARKING I have several favorite sharking techniques, and one of them is the I’ll not appreciate the King routine. There are pool players who prance around the table pointing to where the ball will end up and generally

one tries to psyche me, it actually makes me perform better. As in all good psyching techniques, you must appeal to the other persons Id. One who is experienced in the heat of the battle will not respond to your approach. If you are unable to create doubt or confusion, then you should back off immediately.

Another one of my favorite techniques is to brag up my opponent in

Sometimes I use the you poor guy you approach. I act as if the player does not belong in my league. He has stepped out of his boundary and has gotten in over his head. If he accepts this concept, there’s no way he’ll be able to beat you.

front of his friends. This puts pressure on him to perform up to that

The last resort to psyching involves a more physical approach. This is

level. Then when he misses, ask him if something is wrong. Pretend

for the dirty pool players. For this approach you focus on upsetting

that you are concerned. ‘’I have never seen you miss that double bank

your opponent’s rhythm. An experienced shooter will not respond to

shot. Are you having trouble at home? Is something wrong?” Soon he

subtle remarks. He will be mildly amused. Since you cannot upset his

will believe there is trouble at home and you’ll have the game in hand.

psyche, you must upset his timing. When it is his turn to shoot, take

I once asked my opponent if his shoes were level and if he had trouble

your time getting out of his way. Apologize for various things. Humans

getting a solid stance? Once he became concerned with his stance, I

always respond to apologies. If you’re sure of a particular shot, stroke

knew he was in trouble. He had all my sympathy, believe me.

it a number of times before you shoot. You can imagine what is going

making a big deal out of a simple shot. The only thing they achieve is to make an ass out of themselves. These players actually think you are privileged to play them, and if you want to get the most out of your special moment, you had better pay close attention to just how they do the great things they do! When my opponent attempts a difficult shot, such as an easy combination or bank, I purposely turn my back to him and listen for the miss. It works every time.




the game within



through his mind. First he’s tense because you are about to shoot, then

They have water and sand traps and blind greens on the golf course.

he relaxes because you draw back. His system is first tensed up, then

Out on the pistol range they have moving targets. The obstacles are

relaxed, tensed, relaxed, tensed, relaxed and on and on and on. By the

specifically designed to intimidate you. If we’re to achieve any measure

time you do shoot, hi heartbeat is out of order and he is half bald from

of success in this game, we need to avoid these distractions and rise

scratching his forehead. Another method for this type of player is to

above the obstacles. The greatest distraction in any sport is fear. And

miss shots you can make when you know he won’t have a shot. React

many obstacles are designed to strike fear in your heart. A sand trap

philosophically to your miss. These players hate sloppiness, and they

does this to me. Water on the golf course spells doom for a friend of

actually get sick watching bad pool players perform. I was once able to

mine. Fear has an effect on your swing or stroke. Any type of distrac-

beat a great player in Wisconsin because I used the first two games to

tion will affect your performance. Try playing someone shortly after

drive him crazy. I missed easy shot after easy shot and every time he

your spouse has asked for a divorce. The really good players know how

came to the table he had nothing to shoot at. Of course, I made the

to play within themselves. They don’t allow outside influences to affect

sincerest apologies and sympathized that it just wasn’t his day. When

their efforts. They keep the same composure during all matches. The

he missed the impossible kick shot I gave him, I would say something

player who gains his freedom makes the least mistakes. So you must

like “off your game today, eh?” One of his fans came over to the table

learn to play within yourself. Obstacles have no power on you unless

and asked him how he was doing. He was almost beside himself. “The

you give them power.

fucker gets lucky every time he misses. I don’t get a shot! I haven’t had a shot all match!” I ruined this poor guy for the day.

There are two elements which cause a person to get knocked out of a tournament or dropped from the top ten. Any time you are close to

If you are going to use sharking techniques, you must recognize the

reaching your goals, these two elements crop up. They are desire and

type your opponent will respond to. Be careful not to appeal to his

fear. Desire puts your mind in the future. You cannot perform in the

competitive nature. In other words, don’t wake him up. Sharking is as

present when you are thinking about the future. If you desire to win

much a part of the game as a draw shot or bank shot. In bar leagues

this game, you are, in fact, shooting all the shots at once. If you desire

the subtle techniques will add wins to your average. You are not play-

to win this tournament, you are playing all the matches at once. You

ing seasoned professionals. You’re playing Tuesday night warriors. Use

can only shoot one ball at a time. Fear inhibits your stroke. You can’t

all your weapons. Pull it off. Beat those players who are better than

make a commitment if you are fearful. Commitment breeds a good

you are. If you can get the Id’ s attention, you will gain the advantage.

stroke. Eliminate desire and fear and you will more than pay for this

Your opponent didn’t come all the way to your bar to be nice to you.

book. If this is the only thing you learn from me, I have done my job

He wants to beat your brains out. Take the game any way you can.

well. Shoot without emotion. Save it for after the game.



the game within



The most important skill in becoming a champion level pool player

So stay in the shot at hand procedure. You’ll find that you are doing

is concentration. This will help you overcome the many distractions

what you want without really thinking about it. It is only when you

and obstacles. Practice concentration until it becomes natural. Before

allow your mind to think during the shot that you begin to miss. This

you take a shot, ask yourself, “can I make this shot?” Then answer, “Yes

is not an easy task. If it was, every pool player would be a world-class

I can.” As you utter the word “can.” go ahead and shoot. Do the same

shooter. Shooting without thinking is for the pros. However, we less-

thing on the next shot and the next until you run out of shots. Use the

than-greats can, and should, practice this wonderful method. And by

“back-hit” routine or the “ready-set-go” method. Continue to do this

practicing this non-thinking shooting, we will certainly reach the top

until it becomes natural and automatic. Soon, you will be getting the

ten and then some.

feel of the game, and the obstacles will lose their power. And when this happens, you will begin to dominate your opponent. Remember, that every match is a practice session where you work on ways to improve yourself. The ability to make shots is no mystery. It is the ability to make them in game situations which calls for the greatest skills. We have often seen players bang their heads and complain when they miss an easy shot. Why they do this is no mystery. They’ve completely lost their ability to concentrate.

At the core of the stroke in pool is our sensitivity towards awarenessbeing aware of the shot at hand. So there can be no outside obstacles. There is no such thing as an “intimidator.” Anything that disturbs us does so because we allow it. True awareness for the bar shooter is most often realized when there is little at stake. Did you ever notice how anxious you become as you get closer to the money ball. As each shot falls into the pocket, you lose a little more awareness with each ball. Your feel and sensitivity begins to decrease. In the game of nine ball

You can increase your awareness and sensitivity if you name some of

I was awesome in the one, two and three balls. But when I got to the

your shots. I use the pop stroke on all cut shots. I line up the shot and

even, eight, and nine, my position began to suffer. I think I hold the

then listen for the pop of the cue tip on the ball. When I get a good

record for how many times a player has ended up with a bank shot on

“pop,” I make the shot. Because I am intently listening for the sound,

the nine or eight ball.

my concentration is sharp. I find this automatically gives me a better chance to make the cut shot.

You’ll find that the closer you get to the win, the greater the anxiety. This anxiety can decrease your awareness and touch. How do you play

On long shots I use the flick stroke. Here, instead of worrying about

good position without good touch? When it counts the most, we’ve

the outcome of the shot, I concentrate on the little flick of my wrist

lost our sensitive stroke. It’s our personal awareness which determines

during the rhythm or my swing. I flick it forward at the last instance.

how sensitive we are. Acute awareness comes to those who can see the

As you perform, you will find techniques which will help you relax.

“shot at hand.” They don’t add all kinds of elements to it. It is a shot

After you have looked over the table following the break, you must make a decision on how you are going to run the table. Then forget about the layout and shoot the shot at hand. Stay in the one shot at a time mode. Remember, you’ve already looked at the necessary things you will need to do. This picture is in your mind. It is not going to go anywhere. You are now programmed for the run.

and nothing more, and the objective is to simply deliver a good stroke and put the ball into the pocket. When we use the same stroke on the one, two and three as we do on the seven, eight and nine, we are then using the “awareness stroke”.



the game within



Awareness is a gift for all of us. We must be willing to train ourselves. Those who are not willing can forget it. The same applies to Buddhist enlightenment. It is for all, but not all pursue it. Stroke a few balls with awareness as your only goal. Once you have mastered what really feels good, add a little more pressure and wait until this sense of relaxation returns. As you acquire the awareness of the “shot-at-hand,” you will then be ready to tackle more difficult shots. When you feel the same sense of relaxation on the money ball that you do on the first ball in your run, you are then ready to go on the road and beat most shooters. This sense of awareness is what we strive for.

How you handle yourself at the table can add quality to your game. If you are timid and unsure of yourself, your game will reflect that uncertainty. It’s the other self who takes away our awareness. When we’re in a situation where we know in our heart of hearts that we are going to miss a makeable shot, our awareness is gone. We are unable to feel the stroke necessary to make the shot. One time when I turned the spotlight on

Your attitude at the table is vitally important. How you see things very

We only have room for one form of concentration at a time. Once I

often accounts for the amount of adrenaline in your body. And your

was studying the table to determine if I should go for the run or make

adrenaline determines the purity of your stroke. You must view things

a few balls and play safe. This was a critical game of eight ball. One of

as they are. There is never a time when you come to the table with no

my teammates exclaimed, “Look how good his balls look. The majority

shot. It is your turn. You have to shoot something. How you label it

of them are sitting ducks. Don’t you wish you had them?” In the first

does not change it. All you do by labeling a shot is make it much more

consideration, I don’t have them. Secondly, it makes no difference to

difficult. You don’t need to do this to yourself. It gives an edge to your

me what his balls look like, especially if I run the table. And thirdly, I

opponent. Understand your motives. You are at the table to shoot one

am studying my layout. Unfortunately I listened to my teammate and

shot and only one shot. See to it that you are centered and balanced.

I allowed all that “irrelevant” information to clutter my brain. Which

Give each shot your total attention and sight it into the center of the

made me become uncertain as to what I wanted to do. I had no clear

How you handle yourself at the table can add quality to your game. If

pocket. Make up your mind that you will have no wobblers. All balls

motive. I had no clear plan. I ended up with three clear makeable runs

you are timid and unsure of yourself, your game will reflect that uncer-

will be pocketed cleanly. Work on this attitude until it comes naturally

in front of me, but I blew them all. Give me just three chances to win

tainty. If you are cocky and confident, your game will reflect that also.

to you. Play the shot at hand. When you do this, go on to the next one.

today, and you’ll go broke.

If you glide to the table like Willie Mosconie, you may be surprised at

If for some reason you have to change your mind during a run, such as

how smooth your stoke is. The manner that you approach the game is

when you get out of shape, make sure you take the time to allow the

within your control. In one ultimate moment of desperation I ran the

former play to disappear and the new one to enter into your mind. It

table to avoid a painful loss. My opponent later told me that I walked

is important that you are clear about what you want to do and focus-

around the table like I was walking on eggs.

ing only on the shot at hand.

Herman I uncovered some interesting things. Every time I was into a long run, his jabbering voice would cause me to miss. I knew when it was coming. “You never run this many balls,” he would whisper. “Give the other guy a turn at the table. They think you are showing off.” A virtual war was going on in my head. It took me well over a year to win this battle. Finally I could run the table until I ran out of shots. I did not choke anymore. Once I admitted my tendency to choke and talked about it freely, I was on the road to winning. I shined the bright light on Herman and saw him for what he really was.

And now, I want you to understand that while there is that other self lurking in the darkness, ever ready to do his dirty work, there is also the real self which is what you are all about. This is the self that will amaze you at times, and will allow you to make shots consistently.



the game within


goals & expectations


tions. If you set a goal to win, then you play shooters you know you

Have you ever made a great run only to end up with a difficult bank

This will not help your game. Also, we tend to lower our expectations

shot on the money ball? You shrug your shoulders and say “to hell with

so they will be easier to reach. This is another way we limit ourselves.

it,” shoot the shot and it splits the pocket like you’ve been doing that

And, in addition, when we do better than our goals, we laugh it off as

all your pool career. Has that ever happened to you? Well, this is what

luck and claim to be shooting over our head. I find I would sabotage

letting go is all about. You have let go of the Id which thinks you can’t

my game if I was doing better than I expected. This was done subcon-

make the shot if your life depended upon it. Somehow you’ve gained

sciously so I did not have to live up to my performance. When we do

your freedom from your Id’s doubt and fear.

great, we feel pressure to repeat it. We do not like to disturb the image

The reason the Id does not bother you on a shot like this is because he

we have of ourselves. Good or bad, we are comfortable with it.

thinks you have no chance to make it anyway. Why bother you? After

Improving is a good way to disturb the image. In order to overcome

you have made it, however, he comes scurrying from his dark corner

this problem, we must learn to stay in the “one shot at a time” mode.

and all during the next game he is buzzing in your ear. You are lucky

Do not set goals. Reduce the game to its simplest form. One constant

if you can make a shot.

reality exists – you only have the one shot in front of you. Make it and

How many times have you made a fantastic shot only to turn around

go on to the one shot in front of you.

and miss the routine one? And, of course, that guy comes back from

You do not need the classic smooth stroke of the pros to make the top

the audience to say, “Gee, the same guy shot that one.” If you are able

ten. You do not need to be a great shot maker. If you could take back

to operate in the real self, you will not make these mistakes. True, you

half of the games you blew in the past year, you would be in the top

may run out of shots as all pool players do, but you will not be killing

ten. You need to get the most out of yourself and try to see things in

yourself with foolish mistakes and you’ll make the top ten with ease.

the proper perspective. Free yourself from the Id’s influence. Face the

When you set goals and expectations, you are simply playing into the

man in the mirror and learn to play the game within.

Id’s hands. It doesn’t do any good to set goals because you then only end up playing only those opponents who will not upset your expecta-

can beat. Here you’re playing those who are less talented than yourself.



critical shots


impossible becomes possible


SHOTS In every person who engages in a manual art or skill there is an "eye, arm and brain computer". As one practices, that data is then fed into a their own memory bank; and suddenly, the artless becomes artful; the impossible becomes possible; and suddenly the most incredible shots are accomplished with unconscious ease. So it is with pool. And if you know the theory before you practice, your skill will grow with many times the speed. Not one player in a hundred can sink five, six, or seven balls without a miss–and yet it is easily within his power. He simply hasn't learned to "cut" balls, "throw" balls, use right and left English, draw balls, bank balls, set up key balls and break balls, get frozen balls off a cushion, use kiss shots, reverse draw, jump shots, "ghost ball" shots, or curved shots. He doesn't understand the Double Kiss, Semi-MassÊ Shots, Off-theCushion Shots, Cushion-First Shots, Cheat-the-Pocket Shots, or how speed affects English, or affects the very angle of his shots. Yet a high percentage of these shots are very simple to learn. The reason these shots were selected as critical is because underlying them is the entire theory of the game. What is more, theory aside, you must make nearly all of these particular shots, in one way or another, within the next hundred games-or you won't be playing a good game. Please note that if the balls were shown in actual size, in relation to the size of the table, they would be too small. The diagrams in this section are using enormously enlarged balls to more clearly illustrate the key shots discussed. However, if you will measure from the diamonds on the rail you will get an exact enough measurement.



critical shots


running english shot


Here we have a simple cut of the object ball into the corner pocket.


However, we want our cue ball to come down the full length of the table

object ball

in order to take up position for that second object ball. We cut the first object ball using right English.* This is “running English,” so that our

cue ball

cue ball “runs with the cushion.” To do this we strike the cue ball at



1:30 o’clock, and have the pleasure seeing the cue ball roll down the next object ball

table into approximately position “X”. The angle “a” is an open angle. It turns out not to have been a difficult shot at all! * When cutting a ball, and at the same time using English, the point of contact is slightly different on the ball. In this case the yawning pocket is so close that this may be ignored.



FOLLOW the added spin is in the rolling direction



critical shots


running reverse english shot

SHOT NO. 2 THE RUNNING–REVERSE ENGLISH POSITION SHOT Is there a basic pattern for underlying this use of running and reverse English for position? The answer is “Yes”! Let us set up two more balls,


this time in a different position, and try all the running English shots

Re ver

(1;30, 3:00, and 4:30 o’clock) and all the reverse English shots (10:30,


object ball

En gli sh,


alm ost

cue ball










9:00, and 7:30 o’clock). nn








Eng sh



: 3 :0



Notice! All of the reverse English shots, thanks to that closed angle, : 4 :30


come back to within inches of the same diamond! All of the running English shots, because of their open angles, fan out over the table! No one who practices this experiment should ever be at a loss, when

70º cut angle

playing position, on whether to use running or reverse English. Set up the position. Use a medium stroke, then a soft stroke, then a hard stroke. Speed, you will discover, changes the angles, however the basic pattern remains the same. Remember, too, that you can tum this pattern on it’s side. These are the same identical lines, except that you are now shooting to the head of the table. In a textbook we always see the table from one side only. It pays to turn all of these shots in your mind’s eye, or in practice, for you will be shooting from all sides of the table.


top-left left bottom-left

top-right right bottom-right



critical shots


shoot through shot



When a players “shoots through” a ball, they shoot the cue ball so that it rolls through where the object ball used to be. It is often an essential technique for getting position. To understand



it precisely, put the object ball 1/2 inch off the diamond. Put the cue ball 2 inches off the next diamond. Now sink the object ball by applying 1:30 follow. The cue ball rolls through the position of the object ball, comes off of the two cushions, 0 12:0

and stops at “X”, ready to sink ball “A”. If you were to shoot a center


ball shot, you would never achieve this position.



If you try the same shot, using 12:00 o’clock follow, the cue ball will 66.5°

cue ball

stop at “Y”, ready to sink ball “A” or “B”.

object ball


ccw spin




critical shots


side pocket cheat-the-pocket shot

SHOT NO. 4 THE SIDE POCKET CHEAT–THE–POCKET SHOT Since the pockets are wider than the ball *(approximately 2 1/2 times


wider), don't shoot the object ball straight in. Hit it at a slight angle,


in order to get position on the cue ball for the next shot. object ball

For this shot cut the object ball slightly to the left, using 6:00 o'clock draw, 12:00 follow, and center ball. Use a medium speed. cue ball

Our cue ball goes to "A", "B", or "C"­— and, depending on our speed, can be at any position on any of these lines, or even beyond! You can reverse the shot above, of course, by cheating the pocket on the opposite side. Notice the curve put on by the draw!


follow (top)

* The side pocket is actually wider that a corner pocket –5 3/8 minimum to 5 5/8 maximum, whereas the corner pocket is only 4 7/8 minimum to 5 1/8 maximum. The ball is only 2 1/4 inches in diameter, so we have ample room for cheating. Keep in mind in these diagrams we are using an enormously enlarged ball.

center (stun) draw (bottom)

slowing sliding force draw (bottom spin)

no sliding force normal roll

accelerating sliding force follow (topspin)



critical shots


in line frozen bank shot


Can a ball frozen against the cushion be banked across the table, when the cue ball is directly in front of the obect ball? The answer is "Yes." In this scenario, shoot to cut the cue ball exactly in half. The simplest


way to do this is to aim your cue stick through the center of the cue ball, at the left edge of the object ball. Make sure you shoot firmly enough to deflect the cue ball out of the way. If you shoot too softly, you are in peril of a double kiss, i.e, the object ball will spring back off the cushion resulting in hitting the cue cue ball

ball a second time.

impact height

Pause now, consider carefully what we are going to say:

normal roll impact height

1. In the exact position above, if you move your cue ball to "X", the shot looks easier, but-it's impossible! When you hit that point of


contact, you get a double kiss. 2. If you move your cue ball to "Y", you can still make the shot! For you can still reach that point of contact, and with less chance of a double kiss! 3. If you move cue ball and object ball to the left (but still in line), each time you move them you will hit less and less of the object ball, to widen the angle. And obviously, if too far to the left the shot becomes impossible.


center (stun)

ball center height



critical shots


frozen cushion shot 1

SHOT NO. 6 THE FROZEN CUSHION SHOT 1 Here is a shot that comes up with amazing frequency. The object ball

object ball

is frozen against the cushion, and the cue ball faces it at a steep angle. Most players try to "feather" the object ball, i,e" hit with the slimmest possible cut. This is tremendously difficult. However, it is quite easy to sink the shot–by missing it! cue ball

Shoot into the cushion as close as possible to the object ball, without touching it. Strike the cue ball using right English at 4:30 o'clock. The cue ball will rebound from the cushion, hitting the object ball in the center, and roll it into the pocket. Make sure to shoot slowly enough


to get good English. With a little practice, you can make this shot when the object ball is


as far away as diamond No. 11 and 12!

direction of English–induced throw


cue ball compresses the rail before rebounding toward the object ball

natural (running) English

rebound cut angle

direction of rebound cut–induced throw



critical shots


frozen cushion shot 2

SHOT NO. 7 THE FROZEN CUSHION SHOT 2 Here again we find the cue ball frozen against a cushion along with the object ball, but the problem is a different one: object ball

If you try to shoot the object ball straight in, the cue ball will stay on the rail. How do you get the cue ball off the rail in this scenario, to get position on some other ball?

cue ball


There are three ways to do it:

cw spin

1. Shooting slightly inward (notice the angle of the cue!) strike the cue ball at 7:30 o'clock. By using this draw force the cue ball will


advance to position "A". 2. Shooting slightly inward, stike the cue ball at 9:00 o'clock. The cue ball will come straight out to position "B". 3. Shooting slightly inward once again, strike the cue ball at 10:30 o'clock. The cue ball will come off two cushions to position "C".*


The draw shot, which is the easiest, is the one most used. However, since this shot comes up in game after game, it is a "must" on your


list of secret weapons. This is a positional shot which is known to


very few players. * On the opposite cushion, of course, all these shots would be reversed.




critical shots


cushion first shot

SHOT NO. 8 THE CUSHION FIRST SHOT Here we have a straight shot into the corner pocket, as shown by the

object ball

dotted line. We wish to play position, however, and have our cue ball stop at "X". However, there are two things against us: First, the cue


ball is frozen against the cushion, as a result we have to strike the cue

accelerating sliding force

ball at 12:00 o'clock, which is a follow shot, and the cue ball might

follow (topspin)

follow the object ball into the pocket; Second, after sinking the object ball, there is no way of getting to "X". The solution? Make a Cushion First Shot! cue ball

To practice this scenario, place the object ball off diamond No.1 as shown. Freeze the cue ball against diamond No.7, and hit the cushion


object ball 25°


first, as shown. The cue ball will carom off diamond No. 18, and then


roll over to "X".


There are thousands of possible variations of this shot. Move the cue ball straight down line "a" to get a wide number, and then try varying the angle of line "a" slightly. The shot shown in the diagram is an easy shot. You should succeed in your first three or four tries. In fact, there are many fine players find it easier than sinking the object ball with a straight shot.


follow (top)



critical shots


draw cross table shot

SHOT NO. 9 THE DRAW CROSS TABLE SHOT Since a pool player should have every weapon in his arsenal, let's now cross the table with draw. Stroke the cue ball at 6:00 o'clock. Cheat the pocket slightly so that you cut the shot just enough to throw the cue ball into the cushion. Sink the object ball The cue ball will then move across the table to "X". This "deflect into the cushion with draw" is a technique that you will CUE POINT OF CONTACT

use again and again and again!

cue ball

Note: It is very difficult, in diagrams using enlarged balls, to show subtleties in position. Keep in mind the object ball needs to be placed within a 1/2 inch from diamond No.1, so what seems to be a straight-in shot in the diagram is actually not straight in. Hence the deflection of the cue ball into the cushion.

draw (bottom)



a fast medium slow

fast medium slow

b c fast medium slow

fast medium slow



critical shots


curved ball shot

SHOT NO. 10 THE CURVED BALL SHOT If you tried to sink the object ball here, the cue ball would carom off the first ball, because the first ball intrudes on the path of the cue ball about 1/8 inch, You can see it peeping over the line of shot. cue ball

An impossible shot? No! It can be mastered in about thirty minutes, and it's a valuable secret weapon for your arsenal; for most players do not know it, and you run into it thousands of times! Begin by elevating the butt of the cue to a 45째 angle. Then hoot the cue ball downwards at 9:00 o'clock. The cue ball will swerve first to the left, just enough to miss the gray ball, and then swerve to the right to


sink the object ball! Keep in mind that you must have a very finn control over the cue. You object ball

must shoot downward with authority, but also softly enough so that



the English will have maximum "take".

right English elevated cue fast medium slow

curved cue ball path

left English



critical shots


jump shot

SHOT NO. 11 THE JUMP SHOT object ball

Is it legal to make the cue ball take to the air to clear another ball? The answer is "Yes!"窶電epending on how you do it. If you dig under the cue ball with the tip of your cue to jump, it is a foul. But if you strike the cue ball in the center or above center, the jump is legal.* Elevate the butt of your cue at a 45ツコ angle, and strike hard downward on the cue ball. Hit one cue tip above center. The ball will take to the air with the greatest of ease. The dotted line shows where the cue hall leaves the table. The cue ball comes up just high enough to clear the horizontal axis of the two interfering balls, which are spaced too close together to shoot through.


cue ball * The Billiard Congress of America's rule on Jump shots reads as follows: "If a player causes a ball to jump. . deliberately, by elevating the butt end of the cue and striking the cue ball in the center or above, the jump is legal. If, however, a player digs under the cue ball with the tip of his cue, causing the ball to jump, the stroke is foul. Penalty: loss of one point."

follow (top) top-left left

the cue ball compresse the cloth and rebounds off the slate

top-right right center (stun)

the cue ball jumps over the obstacle ball


the cue stick line of action is through the cue ball center




critical shots


hook shot

SHOT NO. 12 THE HOOK SHOT object ball

While many players have seen this shot performed before by others, suprisingly it's unknown to 9 out of 10 players, despite its great power in position play. Put the cue ball on the spot, The object ball is 1/2 inch off the point of the side pocket, and 1/4 of it overhangs the pocket. It's simple to sink

cue ball

the first object ball in front of the side pocket, however how do you get your cue ball down the table for position? Belt the cue ball at exactly 12:00 o'clock, with only one object in mind, which is to sink the black ball. The cue ball deflects to the right of its


follow (top)

line of flight, but, since it has angular momentum, "hooks out" and runs down the table to "X". Watch your opponent blink!


the cue ball topspin keeps it close to the rail


the cue ball has enough speed to rebound from the rail









30° rule: the principle stating that a rolling

avoidance shot: is a shot where the cue ball

cue ball's path deflects by approximately 30º

path is controlled, in order to avoid hitting

after impacting an object ball (provided the

surrounding balls.

ball hit fraction is close to 1/2). 8-ball: the pool game where the objective is to pocket the 8-ball after pocketing all seven of your designated balls (stripes or solids). 9-ball: the pool game played with only the first nine balls (1-9). The lowest numbered ball must always be hit first. The person who pockets the 9-ball wins the game.

ghost-ball target, resulting in contact with the object ball at the desired contact point. aiming point: the center of the imaginary ghost-ball target resulting in contact with the object ball at the desired contact point. angle of incidence: same as "approach angle."

to leave the cue ball or object ball lying in a

small amount around an obstacle ball.

difficult position for your opponent.

cushion (aka rail): cloth-covered triangular-

deflection (aka "squirt"): the displacement

cross-section strip of rubber bordering the

of the cue ball path away from the cue-stick

playing surface, off which the balls rebound.

stroking direction, that is caused by the use

cluster: two or more balls close or touching.

ball is hit from behind the head string (i.e., in

general area of the table.

the "kitchen") into the racked balls.

ball-hit fraction: for a cut shot, the fraction

break-up shot: a shot where the cue ball is

which is caused by sliding friction between

of the object ball covered by the projected

directed, after it has struke an object ball, to

the cue ball and the object ball.

cue ball. For a square hit (0°cut angle), the

strike a ball cluster to scatter the balls into

ball-hit fraction is 1/2. For a half-ball hit, the

more favorable positions.

ball-in-hand: situation in which the cue ball can be placed anywhere as a result of a foul or scratch by your opponent. bank shot: a shot where the object ball is bounced off one or more rails prior to the ball being pocketed. billiard shot: a particular shot where the cue ball is deflected off an object ball to strike a second object ball. billiards: term for all cue games, including pool, snooker, and carom games.

angle to the pocket: ball's angle of approach

BCA: Billiards Congress of America, is an

to a pocket, measured relative to the pocket

organization supporting the development

centerline. A straight-in shot is positioned

of and participation in billiard sports. They

with a 0° angle to the pocket.

publish the "World Slandardized Rules" for

the angle at which a ball approaches a rail,

a ball, although if you miss the shot you try

massé action in order to curve the cue ball a

type (stripes or solid) which are in the same

angle of reflection: same as "rebound angle."

approach angle (aka "angle of incidence"):

defensive shot: shot where you try to pocket

cue stick and bottom side English to create

break: the first shot of a game, where the cue

cut angle) the ball fraction is close to 0.

cue, in the direction of the center or also the

reverse rotation of the cue ball which is the

curve shot: a shot using a slightly elevated

material covering the table's playing surface.

ball grouping: two or more balls of the same

ball and object ball will separate at 90°after

aiming line: the imaginary line through the

bottom spin ("backspin" or "draw English"):

cloth: (aka "felt"): wool or wool-nylon blend

result of a below-center hit on the cue ball.

ball-hit fraction is 1/2. For a hit (close to a 90°

object ball with no vertical plane spin.

bottom English: same as "draw English."

backspin: same as "bottom spin."

90° rule: the principle stating that the cue impact, provided that the cue ball strikes the


30° rule — ­ duck

coefficient of restitution: technical term used to quantify the "rail rebound efficiency." collision-induced English: sidespin which is imparted to the object ball in a cut shot,

collision-induced throw: deflection of the object-ball path away from the impact line

bridge: the support for the shaft of the cue

of a cut shot, caused by the sliding friction

stick during a shot, either the left hand (for

between the cue ball and the object ball.

a right-handed player) or an implement. butt: the handle or grip end of the cue stick. called shot: a shot for which you specify the ball being targeted in addition to the target pocket (e.g. "9-ball in the corner pocket"). carom shot (aka "kiss shot"): a shot where

combination shot: a shot where the cue ball

cut-induced spin: is the same as "collisioninduced English." cut-induced throw: is the same as "collisioninduced throw."

diamonds (aka "spots"): markings adjacent to the table cushions (on the top surface of the rails) used as target or referencc points. There are three diamonds equally which are spaced between each packer. Diamond System: a multiple-rail kick and bank shot method which uses the diamonds

and pockets a different object ball, possibly

three people. Each of the players is assigned

as aiming targets.

after other intermediate ball collisions.

five balls to protect (1-5, 6-10, or 1-15). The

contact point: point of contact between the cue ball and the object ball at impact.

ball prior to being pocketed.

aiming three-rail kick shots.

center of percussion: technical term used to

crutch: slang for the "mechanical bridge.'"

the cue tip in order to help prevent slipping

line, for a cut shot.

speed and the amount of English.

cut-throat: a casual pool game played with

Corner-5 System: is a Diamond System for

chalk: the dry, abrasive substance applied to

ball aiming line and the object-ball impact

of English. The effect increases with cue stick

hits an incidental object ball, that then hits

an object ball is deflected off an incidental

describe the "normal-roll impact height."

cut angle: the angle that is between the cue-

cue: same as "cue stick." cue ball: white ball, struck by the cue stick.

objective of the game is to pocket the balls of your opponents. The last person with one or more balls remaining on the table is the winner of the game. cut shot: a shot where the cue ball impacts the object ball at an angle to the impact line (i.e ., the shot is not "straight-in"). dart stroke: stroke, similar to the throwing motion for a dart, which is used to execute

double hit: illegal shot where the cue stick hits the cue ball twice during a stroke (e.g., a shot when the cue ball bounces back from a nearby object ball during the stroke). double kiss: double hit of the cue ball and object ball during a bank shot of an object ball frozen or close to a rail. draw English: bottom spin put on the cue ball by a draw shot.

through increasing the friction between the

cue-ball angle error: the angle between the

a jump shot, typically using a shorter, lighter

draw shot: shot where the cue ball is struck

cue tip and the cue ball.

cue ball aiming line and desired aiming line.

special cue stick.

below center to impart bottom spin to the

pool and billiards. BCA website is located

cheat the pocket: aiming an object ball away

cue stick (aka "cue"): is the tapered wooden

dead stroke: when you are in a state ("in the


from the center of a pocket, to alter the path

implement used to strike the cue ball.

zone") where you can't make a mistake and

cue tip: the fibrous or pliable end of the cue

your play seems effortless and automatic.

of the cue ball.

measured from the perpendicular to the rail.

body English: act of contorting ones body

Such as a ball driven directly into a rail has

in a feeble attempt to change the balls path

closed bridge: hand bridge where the index

an approach angle of zero.

of motion in a favorable way.

finger is curved over the cue stick, in order to provide solid support.

stick that comes into contact with cue ball.

cue ball, that causes the cue ball to pull back from the object ball, after impact. duck: slang term for a ball sitting close to a pocket which is virtually impossible to miss (i.e., a "sitting duck").





effective pocket center — ­ object ball

effective pocket center ("target center"): the

follow shot: shot where the cue ball is struck

head rail: the short rail that is at the end of

inside English: sidespin in the direction of

kitchen: slang term for the area behind the

mechanical bridge (aka "crutch," "rake" or

target line to a pocket which has the same

above center in order to impart topspin to

the table from where you break.

the object ball, in a cut shot (e.g., when the

head string, from where the cue ball is shot

simply "bridge"): a special stick with an end

margin of error on both sides. For a straight-

the cue ball, causing it to roll forward, after

cue ball strikes an object ball on the left side,

during a break.

attachment that helps guide the cue stick in

on shot, effective pocket center goes through

impact, more than it would otherwise.

the center of the pocket.

follow-through: the movement of the cue

effective pocket size (aka "target size"): the

stick through the cue ball position at the end

total margin of error to the left and right of

of your stroke in the direction of the aiming

the pocket center that will still result in the

line, after making contact with the cue ball.

pocketing of a ball. elevated bridge: a hand V-bridge where the heel (base) of the hand is lifted off the table to raise the cue stick (e.g. to clear an obstacle ball close to the cue ball).

foot rail: short rail at the far end of the pool table where the balls are racked together. foot spot: the point on the table over which the lead ball of a rack is centered, lying at the intersection of the imaginary lines passing

end rail: the short rail that is between the

through the second diamonds that are along

two corner pockets.

the long rails, with the center diamonds on

English: term usually used to refer to sidespin applied to the cue ball, but can also be used to refer to any type of spin applied to the cue ball (e.g., draw and follow shots). English-induced throw: deflection of the object ball path away from the impact line, resulting from sidespin of the cue ball. It is caused by sliding friction between the cue ball and the object ball. English transfer: the imparting of a small amount of spin from the cue ball to object ball, in the opposite direction of the cue ball spin (e.g., left spin on the cue ball results in a transfer of a small amount of right spin to the object ball). ferrule: a sleeve, usually plastic, on the end of the cue stick shaft to which the cue tip is attached (with adhesive). follow English: topspin put on the cue ball by a follow shot.

the short rails. foul: a violation of the rules of the game. frozen ball: a ball which is in contact with (touching) another ball. ghost ball: imaginary aiming target for the cue ball, where the cue ball needs to impact the object ball so that the line through their centers (the impact line) is in the direction of the desired object-ball path.

head string: the imaginary line at the head of the table, that you must shoot all break shots behind. hooked: same as "snookered."'

would be "outside English").

which player will break. A player must shoot the ball behind the head string and return it

place of a hand bridge. A mechanical bridge is used when the cue ball cannot be reached comfortably with a hand bridge.

insurance ball: an easily pocketed ball (e.g.,

as close as possible to the head rail after the

miscue: a stroke where the cue tip does not

a ball sitting in the jaws of a pocket) that you

ball bounces off the foot rail.

establish good contact with the cue ball, and

to the table surface that passes through the

leave untouched until you need it to get out

cue ball. By adjusting the cue-stick position

of trouble.

to left and right of the cue ball center, in the horizontal plane, it creates English. impact height: the height of the part of the rail cushion that comes into contact with a rebounding ball. impact line: the imaginary line that passes

leave: the position of the balls after a player's shot. A "good" leave is one in which the ball

results in poor transmission of force and an unpredictable cue ball path.

jacked up: slang for an elevated cue stick.

positions for the next shot are desirable.

miss: failure to pocket the intended ball.

joint: the mechanical connection between

leave an angle: the control cue ball position

money shot: a key shot in a game where if

the butt and shaft ends of two-piece or three

following a shot which leaves a cut angle on

pocketed, will usually result in a victory.

piece cue sticks (usually threaded).

the next target object ball, creating increased

jump shot (legal): a shot where the cue

opportunities for cue ball control position for the follow-on shot.

natural: a shot that is easy to execute with a normal stroke, and does not require English to be applied.

through the cue-ball and object-ball centers

ball is bounced off the table surface, with a

at impact. The object ball moves along this

downward stroke, to jump over an obstacle

line after impact (unless throw is involved).


impact point: the point of contact between

jump shot (illegal): an illegal shot in which

the cue ball and object ball during impact.

the cue ball is lifted off the table surface in

legal shot: shot where the cue ball strikes a

order to jump over an obstacle ball, hitting

legal object ball first, resulting in either an

the cue ball well below center.

object ball is pocketed or a ball strikes a rail

near rail: the rail cushion that is adjacent to

after contact with the object ball.

a pocket the object ball is approaching. normal roll: topspin resulting from natural

in-and-safe: a special safety shot in 8-ball, where a prior to taking shot a player declares

left English: clockwise sidespin imparted to the cue ball by striking it to the left of center. left spin: same as "left English."

"in-and-safe" or "safety", and you then return

jump stick: special cue stick, usually shorter

control of the table to your opponent after

and lighter, designed for jump shots.

long rail: same as "side rail."

kick shot: a shot where the cue ball bounces

makable region: area within which you can

off one or more rails before contacting the

leave the cue ball after the current shot, to be

targeted object ball.

able to pocket the next target ball.

kill shot: shot using draw or reverse English

luargin of error: a measurement of angle or

in order to limit the cue ball's motion after

position error in a shot, while still pocketing

contacting an object ball or rail.

the object ball.

relative to the aiming line. This results in the

kiss (aka "carom"): contact between balls.

massé shot: shot using an elevated and firm

cue ball imparting natural collision -induced

contacting the object balL

stroke with extreme bottom-side English, to

your shot, even when legally pocketing one

player) on the butt of the cue stick, used to

of your object balls. The purpose of the shot

support and transmit force to the cue stick

is to leave the cue ball in a difficult position

during a stroke.

for your opponent.

half-ball hit: shot where the cue-ball aiming

inside cue: a term that is used to describe a

line passes directly through the edge of the

bank shot where the cue ball hits the object

object ball. It results in a cut angle of 30°.

ball on the side toward the bank direction,

your hand to guide the cue stick.

would be called "inside English", left sidespin

lag for break: a skill shot used to determine

horizontal plane: imaginary plane parallel

grip: clutch of the right hand (right-handed

hand bridge: sliding support created with

creating cut shot to the right, right sidespin

English to the object ball.

kiss shot: same as "carom shot."

significantly curve the path of the cue ball (e.g., around an obstacle ball).

natural English: same as "running English." natural roll: same as "normal roll." near point: pocket rail cushion point closest to the object ball.

rolling motion of a ball without any sliding between the ball and the table cloth. normal-roll impact height (aka "center of percussion"): the height the cue ball can be struck so it rolls without slipping (i.e., it has normal roll) immediately. Height is at 7/10 of the cue ball's diameter above table surface. object ball: ball to be legally struck by the cue ball, or the current ball to be pocketed.




object-ball angle error: the angle between

pocket centerline: imaginary line through

rack: a triangle or diamond-shaped device

the object-ball impact line and the desired

the center of the pocket which is precisely in

used to position the balls prior to break. The

target-line direction.

the straight-in direction.

term can also refer to the grouping of balls

object balls: balls other than the cue ball. one-pocket: a pool game where each player has a designated pocket in which he or she has to pocket more than half of the balls in order to win. on the hill: slang term used to indicate that you only have one more game to win before a match play victory.

pocket speed: the slowest you can hit a shot

rail: the side of the table's upper frame that

given just enough speed to reach and drop

supports the cushions bordering the playing

into the pocket.

surface. The term "rail" is also used to refer

one of the pockets. pool (aka "pocket billiards"): billiard games using a table with pockets.

open bridge: a hand bridge where there is

position (aka "'slupe"): the placement of the

no finger over the top of the cue stick. The

balls (especially the cue ball) relative to the

cue stick glides on a V-shape formed by the

next planned shot.

thumb and the base of the index finger.

position play: play that uses controlled cue

open table: a condition in 8-ball (e.g., after

ball speed and English to achieve good cue

the break) when neither player has pocketed

ball position for subsequent shots.

a called shot, and stripes and solids have yet to be assigned. outside cut: a term used to describe a bank shot where the cue ball strikes the object ball on the opposite side of the bank direction, which is relative to the aiming line. The cue

power break: a break shot, hit with a lot of force, resulting in active scatter of balls. powder: talc or fine particle substances that are used to reduce friction between a hand bridge and the cue stick.

ball imparts reverse collision-induced Eng-

problem ball: any ball which is difficult or

lish to the object ball.

impossible to pocket unless it or some other

outside English: opposite "inside English." over cut: when the object ball is struck with too large of a cut angle.

ball is moved first. push-out shot: a special shot allowed after the break in 9-ball where you can hit the cue ball anywhere on the table and your oppo-

Plus System: a Diamond System for aiming

nent has the option to shoot the next shot

multiple-rail kick shots in which an end-rail

or have you shoot instead.

is hit first.

after they have been racked.

and still pocket an object ball. Object ball is

point: the tip of a rail cushion that borders


object-ball angle error — ­ straight-in shot

to the cushion off which the balls rebound. rail bridge: hand bridge where the cue stick slides on the top of the rail, and fingers are used to support the stick sideways. rail impact height: the height at which the rail cushion contacts a rebounding ball. This height is usually marginally lower than the "normal roll impact height."

rail track: same as "rail grove." rake: a slang for the "mechanical bridge." rattle: multiple rail cushion collisions that can occur against the inner walls of a pocket which can prevent an object ball from being pocketed. When an object ball glances the near rail or rail point bordering the pocket. rebound angle: angle that a ball rebounds a rail, measured from the perpendicular to the rail. A ball heading straight away from a

rail grove: an imaginary line that is parallel to a rail which is half of a ball diameter away from the rail. This is sometimes visible on a worn table.

shark: an unscrupulous player who disguises his or her ability, in order to win money off unsuspecting gamblers. short rail: same as "end rail."

cue ball speed to achieve good position for the next shot. spot a ball: placing an illegally sunk ball on the foot spot. If there's no room to spot the ball directly on the foot spot without mov-

shot maker: a person who is good at making

spots: alternative term for "diamonds."

very difficult shots.

right English: is counter clockwise sidespin

right spin: same as "right English." run: a series of balls pocketed in succession during one turn. run the table: making all required balls and then going on to win the game before giving your opponent a turn at the table. running English: sidespin causing the cue ball to speed up after bouncing off a rail, and also resulting in a larger rebound angle. Spin is in the direction which results in "rolling" along the rail during contact.

push shot: a shot where the cue tip remains

rail throwback: reduction in bank rebound

pocket center offset (aka "offset"): distance

in contact with the cue ball for a period that

angle which is due to sideways compression

safety: defensive position play shot leaving

between the effective pocket center and the

is longer than appropriate for a legal shot.

of the rail, especially evident at high speed.

your opponent in a difficult situation.

actual pocket center.

speed control: using the correct amount of

and or "running" English). The spin is in the

right of center.

object ball.

shape: same as "position."

hitting a rail (i.e., the opposite of "natural"

cushion to spring back and then preserve a

kicked off a rail first in close proximity to an

solid: ball numbered 1-7 that has no stripe.

to the end rail.

slows and has a smaller rebound angle, after

imparted to the cue ball by striking it to the

rail-first shot: a shot where the cue ball is

the ferrule/tip are attached.

possible behind the foot spot, perpendicular

rail rebound efficiency: ability of the rail

the ball is cut.

ball, creating need for a kick or jump shot.

pocketing one of them.

reverse English: sidespin where the cue ball

along the rail during contact.

ball is frozen to the rail cushion along which

shaft: the bridge end of the cue stick, which

ing an obstacle ball, it is spotted as close as

a ball by a rail when the ball approaches and

rail cut shot: a cut shot in which the object

the cue ball is positioned behind an obstacle

any of the object balls with the intention of

rail has a rebound angle of zero.

direction opposite of the "rolling" direction

banked ball's speed.

snookered (aka "hooked"): condition when

during a shot.

shot: the action of hitting the cue ball into

rail-induced English: sidespin imparted to rebounds off the rail at an angle.

scratch: pocketing the cue ball by accident

side rail (aka "long rail"): the long rail that has a side pocket between it. sidespin: the clockwise or counterclockwise rotation of a ball.

squirt: slang term for "deflection." stance: the body position and posture made during a shot. steering: term used to describe non-straight follow-through when the cue stick is pivoted

skill shot: a difflcult shot that requires more

toward the object ball/target pocket, away

ability than a typical shot.

from the aiming line. Obviously, this is a bad

slate: the material that is (usually machined metamorphic rock slate) beneath the table cloth providing the base for the surface.

technique. stick: same as "cue stick." stop shot: a shot in which the cue ball stops

slop shot: a shot that is made with no clear

immediately after hitting the object ball. It

objective, usually hit hard in the hopes that

results from a straight-on stun shot.

something might go in.

straight pool: pool game where any object

snooker: the billiards game played with 21

ball can be pocketed at any time. A point is

object balls on a snooker table, using a larger

scored for each pocketed ball.

than a regulation pool table, with balls and pockets that are smaller, and the pockets are shaped differently.

straight-in shot: shot in which the cue ball is directly in-line with an object ball and the intended pocket.




stripe: ball numbered 9-15 that has a stripe

triangle: a device that is used to rack all 15

through the number.

balls into a triangle shape.

stroke: the cue-stick and arm motion that is

turn: a player's stay at the table, which con-

required to execute a shot.

tinues as long as object balls are pocketed.

stroke steer: same as "steering."

two-way shot: a shot where you attempt to

stroking plane: the imaginary vertical plane containing the cue stick, dominant eye, cue ball contact point, aiming line, or the ghostball target.

pocket a ball and, at the same time, play for a safety in case you miss the shot. V-bridge: same as "open bridge." vertical plane: the imaginary plane that is

stun shot: a shot in which the cue ball has

perpendicular to the table surface that passes

no topspin or bottom spin (i.e., it is sliding

through the cue ball. Adjusting the cue stick

across the table cloth) when it contacts the

height above and below the cue ball center,

object ball.

in the vertical plane.

tangent line: imaginary line perpendicular

wing balls: two balls adjacent to the 9-ball

to (90° away from) the impact line between

(towards the side rails) in a 9- ball rack.

the cue ball and an object ball. target size: same as "effective pocket size." thin cut: a shot requiring a large cut angle, in which only a small fraction of the cue ball glances the object ball. throw: the object ball motion away from the impact line, due to relative sideways sliding motion between the cue ball and object ball caused by sidespin or a cut angle. throw shot: a shot where English alters the path of the object ball. top English: same as "follow English." topspin: forward rotation of cue ball, that is usually in excess of normal roll, resulting from an above-center hit on the cue ball. TP: see "technical proof." transfer of English: the same effect on the ball as "English transfer."

stripe ­— wing balls








AIM 17, 19

ID 65, 66











CAROM 7, 11


CHALK 7, 17

















DRAW 20, 21





SIDESPIN 23, 52, 54, 55, 65

ENGLISH 7, 23, 24, 85, 87






FOLLOW 20, 21, 32, 108




FROZEN BALL 45, 46, 93, 95, 97

















Information Provided By Dixon, Sydenham., History of Billiards. New York: Macritchie Press, 2010 Martin, Ray., The 99 Critical Shots in Pool: Everything you Need to Know to Learn and Master the Game. New York: Random House Puzzles & Games, 1993 Monk, The., Point the Way: The Only Book Devoted to the Inner Game of Pocket Biiliards. Orange: Samsara Publishing, 1994 Alciatore, David G., The Illustrated Principles of Pool and Billiards. New York: Sterling Publishing Co., 2004 Byrne, Robert. Byrne’s Complete Book of Pool. San Diego: Harvest Original, 2003 Byrne, Robert. Advanced Technique In Pool and Billiards. San Diego: Harvest Original, 1990 Illustrations Kevin Beutelspacher Photos Kevin Beutelspacher

Profile for Kevin  Beutelspacher

pocketbilliards — theopentable  

I designed this book about billiards covering everything from the games history and fundamental rules to the mental game and critical shots...

pocketbilliards — theopentable  

I designed this book about billiards covering everything from the games history and fundamental rules to the mental game and critical shots...


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