DETERMINE THE POSITION AREA
Playing effective position requires you to consistently place the cue ball in an ideal position on the table that allows you to pocket the next object ball and play good position on the next object ball after that. Rather than guessing where the cue ball will go next after you shoot at the current object ball, it is necessary for you to recognize the ideal position area where you should try to attempt to “park” the cue ball. If you want to go past the beginner level, you will need to learn position zones.
Consider the diagram below. You have the 5 ball (orange ball) as your current shot to the corner pocket and you need to play position for the 6 ball (green ball) on the side.
To find the position area, find an area where the cue ball will be in an ideal position for your next shot. Keep in mind that the area must be where the cue ball is on the correct side (see article on Right Side/Wrong side). Take note of any impeding balls that will limit the size of your position area. In the layout above, the ideal position zone is indicated by the yellow area in the diagram below. Note that the 8 ball and 9 ball are impeding balls thus limiting the width of your position area.
FINDING THE IDEAL POSITION AREA WITHIN
The position area shown above can be further minimized to find the ideal position area. One factor that need to be addressed is the distance between the object ball and the cue ball. Ideally, we need to have just the right distance between the object ball and cue ball. The cue ball cannot be too close nor too far from the object ball because both conditions serve to only increase the difficulty of the shot.
Another factor to consider is the distance between the cue ball and the rail. Obviously, we would prefer that the cue ball be farther from the rail rather than close to or on the rail itself. The cue ball should be far enough away from the rail where we can bridge and stroke comfortably.
So, with both conditions met, we come up with the ideal position area below. The ideal area is represented in green while the red areas are the areas where we do not want the cue ball to be.