Helpful Hints for Pool, Billiards and Snooker
The Tangent line
The tangent line is the direction the cue ball takes after contacting the object ball. By knowing the tangent line you can improve youíre positioning on the cue ball for the next shot and avoid scratches. A ghost ball is where you imagine your cue ball to be at the moment it contacts the object ball. The best ways to determine the tangent line is to imagine a cross just like this ( + ). Draw a strait line through the center of the ghost ball and through the center of the object ball to the center of the pocket. Draw another line through the first line in the shape of a cross through the center of the ghost ball, and to the rail. This is the path your cue ball will go using center English after contacting the object ball. Only high or low English will change the tangent line. I recommend setting up a shot and practice the same shot using various English and speed, then in no time you will be able to under stand which English to use to get position on the cue ball. For beginners, I recommend setting up the same shot just using center English until you get a better idea of the tangent line.
When making a bank shot you want the Object ball to come off the rail at the same angle that it goes into the rail. The easiest way to think about this is to create a perfect V. Just like writing the letter V, you start at the top of the letter on the left side and come down on an angle to a point then go back up the right side to finish the letter V. Letís say when you bank a ball it usually comes close but never seams to go in the pocket, or some times you canít create a perfect V. Then try using English to help create the perfect V, but only use English if you need to. For example, when banking a ball to the left, try using a little right English on the cue ball. When banking a ball to the right, try using a little left English on the cue ball. It all depends on how much you need to throw the object ball, but use the opposite English that you want to bank the ball. Also, speed has a lot to do with banking the ball using High English, use a soft to a light medium hit works best. Using a little High English throws the ball to create a perfect V. Note: if the object ball is on the rail or very close to the rail then the High English will usually result in a double hit on the cue ball, so try using Low English to get the cue ball out of the way, but watch the tangent line because the low could result in a scratch. Another good idea is to find the center point between the object ball and the pocket. This can easily be done by laying the tip of your stick on the table or rail between the object ball and the pocket to judge where the center point is, and that is the point that you want your object ball to hit. If you have to hit the rail first then find the center point on the rail between the cue ball and the object ball.
Now that you know using the opposite (reverse) English can help create a perfect V, you can also use the same English to the same side you are banking the ball. For example, if you have a bank shot to the right that you have a narrow V, try using right English, or left English if you are banking it to the left. Remember that Right English on the cue ball put left English on the object ball and Left English on the cue ball puts right English on the Object ball. Think of using English like a hand on a clock. If you use you finger to spin the hand of the clock from left to right (Clock wise), then you are using Left English and spinning the cue ball to the right. If you use your finger to spin the hand on the clock from right to left (counter clock wise) the you are putting right on the cue ball and spinning to the left. Also remember if you are using right English on the cue ball it is spinning to the left, but it throws the object ball to the right and visa versa.
Now that you know what way the cue ball is spinning depending on what English you use, you can also use extreme English to bank a wide V shot. Using extreme left English with a soft hit will throw the object ball long and to the right, and using extreme right English with a soft hit will throw the object ball long and to the left. You should experiment with this type of a shot. I like using extreme center English for this shot, but depending what type of a shooter you are, extreme High English might work better for you. Try using this practice shot. Place the object ball about 8 to 9 inches close to the corner pocket and the cue across the table about 4 to 5 inches off the short rail across from the object ball. Now use extreme left English with a soft hit and try banking it in the opposite right corner pocket. Extreme high English throws the object ball long and extreme center English throws the object not as long. Again depending on how hard you hit the cue ball will make a difference in the throw of the object ball. Experiment using various speeds and in no time you will get the hang of it. Likewise to kick at a ball you can hit the cue ball to the rail and use English to throw the cue ball where you need it to go. High right or left, center right or left and speed makes the cue ball throw at different angles, so experiment using different English until you get the feel of how much to use and how hard to hit the cue ball.
Throwing the object ball and rail shots
Remember that using left English on the cue ball will throw the object ball to the right and visa versa. On some cut shots you can use helping English in which the cue ball rolls off the object ball and reduces the friction between the balls hitting each other. For example: cutting a ball to the left and using a little right English is called helping English. In addition, it is possible to cut a ball that is more a little more than a 90 degree (90 degrees is like the letter L) angle by thinning the ball and using right or left English. For example: your cue ball is down table close to the right rail and your object ball is up table, but to the left of the cue ball and you want to cut the object into the right pocket. Thin the object ball with a soft hit and use right English to throw the ball to the left. Just remember that right English throws the object ball to the left and visa versa.
A lot of players have difficulty with rail shots, but if you pretend the rail isnít there you will be surprised that rail shots are not that hard to make. Like wise on rail shots if the object is not on the rail you can use helping English and thin the object ball. To see which way to throw the object ball that is a little off the rail, look at the object ball and see where it will go by thinning the ball, and then decide if you need to throw it to the right or to the left to go into the pocket. For example: if the object ball is 3 inches off the rail and you thin the ball it will go straight across the table, but you need to throw the ball to the right put a little high left (about 1/2 tip) on the cue ball with a soft hit and it will throw the ball to the right into the pocket Now what if the object ball is on the rail? Again try to pretend the rail isnít there. Here is another technique that can help you make a frozen ball on the rail shot. If you are cutting a ball on the rail to the right instead of thinning the edge of the object ball, try shooting a little before the ball use center right English about 1 tip and with a firm hit. This will cause the cue ball to sink into the rail and when it comes off the rail spinning to the right. This shot does take practice, but master it and your game will definitely improve. Just remember which ever way you are cutting an object ball on the rail shot use the same center English and a firm hit. The neatest thing about this shot is after hitting the object ball using this technique, the cue ball will come off the rail and then off the object ball with a unique spin off the tangent line of the object ball.
Defense playing is just as important in pool and billiards as making your shots. First you have to analyze yourself and if you are shooting well or if your off. Then you have to analyze your opponent. Whether you are shooting a strong or weak player and you are having an off night then go into defense mode. Defense mode means to try to leave your opponent a long hard shot. Try to hide the cue ball. Try tying up a pocket he can make his ball in. Try to leave your ball close to the pocket. If you opponent has a ball hanging near a pocket try to hit your ball into his ball and either make his ball or hit it away from the pocket it is hanging in and leave you ball near the pocket. You can also hit your ball into the rail near your opponents ball and knock his ball away and leave your ball near the pocket. Another good idea is to not shoot at your balls that are hanging in or near the pockets, this would be a good time to shoot at a cluster or shoot at one of your balls that are in a bad spot, but donít break up your opponents. Try to get your balls out where they are easer for you to shoot at for your next turn. Letís say you have a ball on the rail and your opponentís ball is on the same rail behind yours, then shoot at other shots and let your opponent worry about getting his ball out.
Straight in shots
Straight in shots seam to give some people a problem. Remember when shooting high on the cue ball it will follow the object into the pocket. Shooting low will stop or reverse cue ball. Shooting center is good only if the object ball is close to the cue ball, otherwise shooting center at a distance could also cause the cue ball to drift forward and scratch. Again speed has a lot to do with the shot. Set up the same straight in shot and shoot in using the various speeds and techniques, then you will be able to determine how to shoot different straight in shots.
Coming off the edge of the object ball
When the cue ball hits the edge of an object ball, the cue ball drifts dramatically. Remember the tangent and this will show you the direction the cue ball will travel, but it will take off and roll. One way to stop the roll is to use extreme reverse English. Another thing to remember is when you have a small cut on a long shot on the short rail, using high English makes the cue ball die. So in this type of shot use low English so the cue ball will come back up table.
Cue ball off the rail shots
When your opponentís ball is blocking you from shooting at your ball and their ball is not real close to your ball on or near the rail, try coming off the rail using center English to make your ball. One way to judge this is to determine where you would place the cue ball on that rail and see where you need to hit the object ball, this should give you a good idea where to aim the cue ball to come off the rail. If you are coming off the rail and cutting the ball to the right the use center left English and visa versa. Remember using center left or right English off the rail the English will take quick or short and using High left or right English off the rail the English will go long or wide.
Shaping your Tip
Just as important chalk is to you tip, shaping your tip is just as important. Applying English with a mushroomed flat tip will not take very well and your chance of miscuing is greater. There are several different types of tip shapers out there and some give you the shape of a nickel and some give you the shape of a dime. This means that if you place a nickel or dime behind the top of you tip it will be shaped like that. Some tip shapers come with a grove to check if your tip needs shaped. When you use the tip checker you place it over the top of your tip and it should fit the shape of the tip, if it doesnít then your tip needs shaped. In addition, if your tip is shaped properly and you seam to be miscuing a lot, then you might have a layered tip and the glue is actually causing the miscue, so try reshaping your tip until you get past the thin layer of glue.
EZ Shot Ghost Ball
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