Have you ever wondered how the professional players have such pinpoint control of where the cue ball goes?
They make it look effortless. There are a few basic principles but one main concept which is stroke. Think back to the last pool match you watched where the player had really good cue ball control. Now think about the stroke speed on the majority of their shots. I’m willing to bet it looked like the same stroke and same speed. This is the key to controlling the cue ball.
Stop shots are the starting point from which I base everything about cue ball control.
For my stroke, tip and conditions I play under there is an underlying rule for stop shots. This rule is every one diamond I am away from the object ball, I drop my tip position ¼ tip lower. Practice this and see if it works for you.
Shoot three to five stop shots from one diamond away and cue approximately ¼ tip below center. Then repeat from two diamonds away and ½ tip below center.
Play around with this but remember to stroke the same speed and follow through on all the shots.
The tangent line is easy to find because it is 90 degrees from the line of the shot. Practice many different cut shots with a stop shot, but predict where on the rail the ball will hit.
A little practice will show that you can hit within six inches of your aim point on the rail. The reason this varies several inches either way is due to what part of the pocket you send the object ball into.
Draw and Follow are still based off from the stop shots due to the distance from the object ball. Remember that each diamond is ¼ tip increments. Set up an object ball one diamond away and you know ¼ tip below is a stop shot. If you want to draw the cue ball back one diamond you cue ¼ tip lower which results in ½ tip below center. If you want to follow the cue ball three diamonds and you are one diamond away from the object ball we base it off the stop shot and go ¾ tip higher which is ¼ down and ¾ up (1/2 tip above center).
Another example would be that you are three diamonds away from the object ball and you want to follow one diamond forward. We start with what a stop shot would be (3/4 tip below center) and adjust for follow (1/4 tip higher) and we result in ¾ down and ¼ up which is ½ tip below center.
Look for my next article I will cover how to predict the path of the cue ball when playing follow.
Photo: capn mad matt/Flickr Editor: Dana Gornall