(This is today's bit of advice from the book Safety Toolbox.)
Can you make the cue ball only travel an inch (2-3 cm)? When straight rail billiards and balkline billiards were international sports, a carefully mastered nudge shot could rack up thousands of points. The winners of these hours-long matches were determined by who had the best cue ball control within fractions of an inch (<2 cm).
There are safeties that call for VERY precise and small movements to be successful. Some of these movements require that the cue ball or object ball move a distance of a quarter ball roll or less. This level of ball roll mastery enables some very interesting opportunities in the right circumstances.
Your normal stroke with the forearm back and forth movement does not work. You just can’t get the definite control necessary to make a short roll shot work. You must develop a movement that only uses your wrist to move the stick forward a fraction of an inch.
The mechanics of the shot
Here is how to make it work.
- On the table, place the stick in your closed bridge fingers. Close your hand into a fist. Clench the cue so that the stick can barely slide back and forth.
- Place your bridge hand about an inch (2 to 3 cm) from the cue ball. Keep the cue as level as possible.
- With your stick hand in the normal position near the butt, grip the stick more firmly.
- Move the stick back and forth using only your wrist. Get used to the resistance from the bridge grip.
- When ready to trigger the shot, let the stick come forward a very short distance into the cue ball. The tip should barely penetrate the cue ball.
Remember, you are controlling the stick with your wrist movement. Do NOT move your forearm. This requires some serious practicing. You must get comfortable shooting with this limited movement. You can actually do lag shots using only the wrist stroke. Experiment – play several games, forcing yourself to only use the wrist stroke.