As you develop good, repeatable fundamentals and a variety of basic shots in your shotmaking arsenal you are now ready to take on the next challenge in your journey to pool excellence – controlling the cue ball..
Basic position play entails being able to understand how the cue ball reacts after colliding with the object ball in order to determine the path it will take and controlling the cue ball to make it go where you need it to be for your next shot. This section explains the necessary ingredients to understand basic cue ball control.
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Now that you are familiar with the Stop shot, Draw shot, and the Follow shot, you are now ready to take on the basics of playing position. Playing position or cue ball preparation as I normally call it is simply the process of controlling where you should position the cue ball in preparation for your next shot (assuming of course that you pocket the object ball first). Knowing where the cue ball goes after impact of the object ball and learning to position the cue ball so that it makes it easy for you to pocket the next ball is vitally important if you want to win the game. At this point, it is no longer enough to pocket just one ball per turn. You should strive to pocket as many balls as you can when it’s your turn to play. This lesson will give you a basic understanding of cue ball control.
The illustration shows you a situation using a draw shot with a straight-in shot. The cue ball position for the draw shot (indicated by a black circle) draws the cue ball a few inches and still gains acceptable position for the eight ball.
So how does the cue ball react when using a Draw stroke on a shot with a cut angle?
Next is the follow shot or above center hit on the cue ball. Refer to the illustrations below. This will be the opposite of the draw shot in the previous lesson.
On an above center ball hit on the cue ball, the cue ball will travel at less than 90 degree angle from the direction of the object ball. This will also vary depending on the amount of cut or angle and the amount of follow or topspin that you put on the cue ball. For this type of shot, keep in mind that as the angle of the cut increases, the direction of the cue ball after impact also increases towards (but never reaches) 90 degrees. As the angle of the cut decreases up to the point where it is almost a straight in shot, the direction of the cue ball also decreases towards almost 0 degrees. Just be aware that with very little angle and a follow shot can cause the cue ball to follow the object ball and scratch (cue ball goes into the pocket).