Video Encyclopedia of Pool Shots, a project that I recently completed in
collaboration with Billiards Digest columnist, Dr. Dave Alciatore, we demonstrate many
applications for the 30-Degree rule and Dr. Dave’s famous peace-sign technique
for predicting cue ball and object ball paths over a broad range of cut angles.
So far in our discussion of the rule here we’ve seen how to apply it for
accurate position play and to avoid scratches. Now we can move on to another
useful application and one that will help win many games, particularly in 9 Ball.
As a review, for cut angles that range from ¼
ball to ¾ ball hits on the object ball, a naturally rolling cue ball will
deflect from the object ball on a path that is roughly 30 degrees away from its
path toward the object ball. Certain cut angles yield a slightly smaller angle
while others yield a slightly larger angle. Across the range of cut angles
however the average cue-ball deflection is 30 degrees. And, for shots where the
angle is slightly smaller or greater, the difference is small enough to make a
reliable prediction for the cue ball with the 30-degree rule.
Often in 9 Ball we encounter opportunities to win the game
early with a combination or carom shot on the 9 Ball. Of course those shots are
useful in all pool games but 9 Ball is the game where they offer the most
dramatic advantage since a successful conversion can win the game. For that
reason we will confine our discussion to a 9-Ball context.
In the diagram we see two shots that offer carom
opportunities to win the game. With only two balls on the table for each shot
it’s easy to imagine them as the 8 and 9. However, each solid ball that you
see can be any ball in the rack. The earlier in the rack that an opportunity
arises to sink the 9 ball, the more sense it makes to consider going for it. For
our purpose two balls work for each shot to illustrate the principles without
cluttering the diagram. In Shot A
we see a very tempting carom on the 9, especially with no good shot on the solid
ball. But how do know where to hit that solid? With a normal, 30-degree peace
sign we can answer that question. For a shot like this one lay your peace sign
next to the solid ball as shown and rotate it until your middle finger points on
the line the cue ball must take to pocket the 9 ball. Then look at where your
index finger points to find the aiming line for the cue ball. Aim along that
line with natural, forward roll and somewhat gentle speed to pocket the 9 ball.
Shot A also offers a combination shot but most experienced players would choose
the carom for one important reason. Missing the combination can leave both balls
together near the pocket and an easy combo for the opponent. Carom shots always
separate the object ball from the 9 ball allowing us to avoid that disastrous
Shot B is similar except for one major detail.
Here we have ball in hand and can employ the peace sign to determine the best
placement for the cue ball. Naturally if that solid ball were the 8, the shooter
with ball in hand would opt for the easy two-ball run out, so imagine other
balls on the table for this one. Lay your peace sign as shown with the middle
finger pointing along the line to game winner. Then look at where a line coming
backwards from the index finger would point, as shown with the dashed line in
the diagram. Place the cue ball on that line far enough from the object ball for
the cue ball to develop full, natural roll before contact. Once again aim along
that line with an above center hit and slow to medium speed.
Both shots in the diagram are pocketed with close
to a half-ball hit on the object ball. However, success does not demand perfect
accuracy because the natural 30-degree roll occurs across a range of cut angles.
Spend some time practicing the shots you see here and others like them to
calibrate your peace sign and become comfortable with the technique. Also, a
little experimentation will uncover the most reliable speed for various shots.
With the 30-Degree Rule and a little practice you will be shooting caroms
accurately and confidently in no time all.
Video Encyclopedia of Pool Shots is the most comprehensive collection of
pool shots ever published with over 750 different shots in 50 categories. On
Disc I we demonstrate and describe a few dozen different caroms and kiss shots
employing the 30-Degree Rule and other techniques for accurate execution of
these very useful shots.
30-Degree Template to Calibrate Your Peace Sign:
Click on Instructor and Student Resources then
scroll down to Templates and Diagrams where you will find the 30-Degree Rule