By NYC Grind Contributor, Mark Finkelstein
I was watching the Turning Stone Classic on the AZ Billiards stream over last weekend. I’d like to thank all involved in bringing that event to us. What a gracious thing to do. I thoroughly enjoyed the play and the commentary. What a great show! Thank you. There were so many great matches.
Here is a shot that I saw come up a few times in the matches I saw. This situation is instructive for a number of reasons, but there is an underlying principal that I want you to learn. This shot comes up at least once a set, and probably a lot more. It is worth knowing and practicing.
Here is the shot:
I’ve put this so it is easy to reach for a right-hander. This shot is a little harder on the other side of the table, but it works the same way.
What I see a lot of players do is try to go off either side of the 7 with a rolling ball or a stop shot. The red and blue track lines. There are a lot of problems with these approaches. First is the scratch, next is the pocket points, which really mess up your cue ball track, and finally, you are really turning the cue ball loose. Because of all these bad things looming in the players mind, they start doing funny things. I’ve seen people jack up, put excessive English, try hitting it soft, hard and a lot of other creative solutions. None of which are as good as a plain draw stroke.
What I saw Johnny Archer do at least twice was shoot at the 7 ball with a pure center ball draw stroke. With good draw, the cue ball goes right into the rail and back to the center of the table, giving you an easy shot on the 9.
This shot illustrates a principle that is important to know. Whenever you have about a half ball hit, center ball draw comes off the original cue ball line at about a right angle. The cue ball picks up a little spin that helps it run toward the center of the table as well.
Here are some examples of this cue ball track:
In the first example, the cue ball went straight to the rail and back across the table. In this second example, center ball draw with about a half ball hit, puts the cue ball on a line at right angles to the original cue ball line. What is important here is to make sure you are in the center of the cue ball, and hit a smooth draw stroke. Without the good draw, this will not work.
In the examples here, the 7 ball is a good example of using this principle for a straight pool break shot. On the 2 ball, you can play position for a ball on the bottom rail without having to touch a rail. This is useful to work around traffic. Finally, coming off the 6 ball, you can keep an angle to rail. This is huge when you have a ball near the rail and need an angle on it to come down table for another shot. How many times have you rolled forward, and come up a little shot and got straight? Come off the 6 parallel to the rail and you never even come near to straight.
Practice this and I think you will like it.
See you on the road.
If you have questions, or would like to see a particular topic addressed, you can email Mark at firstname.lastname@example.org.