(S&D) Safety & Defense - About Cue Ball Control, Off the Object Ball

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Safety Toolbox (Advanced)

This is today's bit of advice from the book Safety Toolbox. This is in two parts. The first part is about how to evaluate th

After the cue ball contacts an object ball, controlling it to an intended location is critical to playing effective offensive patterns and defensive plays. Every shot during a turn at the table should be as precise as you are capable of performing.

In the process of managing your shot, cue ball control is the easiest. This is because you directly create the cue ball's spin and directly apply the speed. This gives you tremendous flexibility in selecting the final stopping location. (An extra side benefit is fewer scratches.)

There are three things to consider when positioning the cue ball.

  • Angle into the object ball - gives you the path the cue ball will follow.
  • Amount of energy transfer to the object ball.
  • Amount of energy absorbed in the rails.

This is when you can calculate, with remarkable accuracy, where the cue ball will stop. Using these exercises, you can learn how to achieve this predictability. Repetition gives you sufficient feedback to make your intentions reality.

Ultimately, you are responsible for all ball movements and where they stop. Nothing moves on the table except because of your stroke. You apply a selected amount of speed and spin to the cue ball and everything else happens because of that. When you consider this, luck should never be a factor in any shot except the break. You should know where every ball goes.

Note: Different tables provide slightly different results. A few practice shots should dial in the correct adjustments for that table.

There are two different ways to practice these exercises. Learn how to control the cue ball using:

  • A thin contact - grazes the object ball and moves it slightly.
  • A full contact - hits the object ball more solid and pushes the cue ball through the object ball with follow.

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