For me the best thing about pool
is the fact that the learning never ends. And after spending most of this past
spring and summer filming the Video
Encyclopedia of Pool Shots with Dr. Dave Alciatore, I learned a lot,
especially in light of all the years Iíve played and taught pool. Our work
culminated in the most comprehensive collection of pool shots ever published,
spanning five DVDís of nothing but shots and explanations from the most basic
to the very advanced. Last month I presented a simple but powerful technique I
learned from Dr. Dave for
predicting the cue ballís path for many shots and will continue now with more
examples of that techniqueís usefulness.
Earlier we learned that for cut
angles ranging from a quarter-ball hit to a three-quarter-ball hit, a naturally
rolling cue ball will deflect away from the path it takes to the object ball at
an average angle of 30 degrees. The overall range from minimum to maximum
deflection is narrow enough to use 30 degrees as a reliable indicator for the
cue ballís path after its collision with the object ball. Then we learned to
apply Dr. Daveís famous peace-sign technique to predict the cue ballís path.
It turns out that, for most of us, a relaxed peace sign makes a 30-degree angle
and you can check yours with a drafting triangle. Or you can visit Dr. Daveís
site where he has a template you can download and print for that purpose. You
can find the URL at the bottom of this page.
Last month we applied the
peace-sign method to a couple of shots in order to predict and execute accurate
position play. Now we can apply it in another way to determine shot selection.
In the diagram we see an 8-Ball situation with only two stripes remaining before
the 8 ball. Initially most players would lean toward shot A first, mainly
because itís closer to the cue ball than shot B, something we learn to prefer
very early in our learning. And we would look at shooting that ball into pocket
X. But that looks a little dangerous. So we examine the outcome by placing the
peace sign as shown with the index finger on the line that the cue ball takes to
the object ball and the point where our fingers would meet over the spot where
the cue ballís center will be at contact. Sure enough a quick peace-sign check
tells us that a rolling cue ball will scratch in pocket Y. So then we decide to
shoot the stripe into pocket Y, but that one looks a little scary too. Once
again the peace sign reveals that shot will lead to a scratch in pocket X with a
rolling cue ball. We can avoid both scratches with stun or draw but either one
of those choices will send the cue ball to the side rail and keep it at that
same end of the table, far from the next shot. The only way to get position for
the next ball from ball A is to shoot it into pocket X with draw and inside
english to move it three rails around the table for a shot on the next stripe.
Thatís possible but quite difficult, in terms of both pocketing the ball and
controlling the cue ball.
After seeing no future in shot A
itís time to turn our attention to shot B. Though itís a little farther away
it turns out as the better shot to play first. To make sure that itís okay, we
apply the peace-sign test and see that the middle finger points to the short
rail well away from the nearest pocket. Further we see that a rolling cue ball,
perhaps with a little right-hand english, moves easily and naturally into
position for ball A and an easy run out. So, even though itís slightly more
difficult, we see that ball B is the better shot to play first.
Very often we find ourselves
looking at a shot and asking, ďWill I scratch?Ē And on too many of those
occasions we shoot the shot only to catch ourselves grumbling soon afterwards,
ďDamn, I knew that was a scratch shot.Ē It takes a lot of experience and
many thousands of shots before we can paint consistent mental pictures of the
cue ballís path to predict position or scratches. With the peace-sign method
however, we have a simple yet reliable tool to make those predictions for a
rolling cue ball across a broad range of cut angles.
a 30-Degree Template:
Click on Instructor and Student Resources then scroll
down to Templates and Diagrams where you will find the 30-Degree Rule Angle