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A Basic Guide to Billiard Shots

Everything you need to know to get you started playing pool like a pro

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Pool Shot Information for Beginners


The game of pool has been around for many years. Pool, also known as Billiards, has been played by kings and peasants, children and adults, hustlers and newcomers to the game alike. The game of billiards was created around the 15th century in Northern Europe and France, likely as an offshoot to another game like croquet. Today, pool is still a widely enjoyed sport. Pool tables can commonly be found in homes across America as well as lounges, bars & other social gathering places. Pool is an excellent form of friendly competition between comrades, and a method of social bonding that is enjoyed far and wide. What most amateur pool players do not know is that a wide variety of techniques exist to assist you with your pool or billiards game. From bank shots to fancy behind-the-back showoff shots, there are many methods of winning the game in style! In this short guide, we take a look at the many styles of pool shots and how you can use these skills to improve your game.

Table of Contents
Kick Shots Bank Shots Spin Bank Shots Multi-Rail Bank Shots Carom Shots Combination Shots Jump Shots Draw Shots Summary About Pool Tables Fast 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 11

The Kick Shot


In order to create a kick shot, it is necessary to drive the cue ball into a cushion before it rebounds, and continues on to strike your target object ball. Kick shots are usually only attempted to leave your cue ball in a more favorable position after the shot or if another ball blocks a straight shot on the object ball With each progressive rebound, it becomes more difficult to determine the angle by eye only. Try to estimate the angle needed working your way backward from the target ball. Adjust for small differences with each jump. Take into consideration the change in angle each time a successive hit occurs. Kick shots are one of the lower skill shots but can give you a definite edge in your pool games when used effectively. As with every shot, they do take time to master.

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The Bank Shot


Bank shots are one of the most common style of pool shot. To perform a bank shot, the cue ball is used to drive the object ball off the rail and into a pocket. The goal is to bounce the ball off of the rail, and hopefully enter the table at a point you would not otherwise be able to access. There are several methods of banking pool shots, and the below are the most common styles. The most common bank shots involve driving the object ball into a rail, and then into a pocket. This can be a close pocket or a far pocket on the other side of the table generally, the farther away a pocket the easier it is to sink the ball into it due to the larger angle. With skill and practice, it is possible to increase the quality of your bank shots to include multiple angles and balls. How exactly does one know where to aim to get an equal distance angle? Because all pool shots are based on angles, it is possible to calculate or at least estimate the proper angle for all pool shots. This takes a bit of a creative mind you need to be able to envision a line extending from your cue and a line where the ball will rebound off the rail. Unless you are using equipment to do so, this can really only be learned by practice. If both your cue ball and your target ball are about the same distance from the rail, then you can simply try to aim for a spot somewhere in between them. But how do you measure? If you look along the side of a pool table rail, you will see tiny little pearly diamonds or dots lining the side. You can use these to estimate the angle of your shot. Think of diamonds/dots like inches they are simply another form of measurement.

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The Spin-Bank Shot


Spin bank shots are an easy way to add a deadly arsenal of skill to your pool ability. Unfortunately, they are difficult to master. Using English, or simple spin on the cue ball, the throw is transferred to the object ball and you can safely bank your shot. Using left or right English will provide you with different angles to bank your object balls. It will greatly increase your shot selections where the cue ball may seem completely buried or obstructed. Using ball spin, you can choose to make the angle of the rebound wider or narrower depending on need and ball placement. A spin bank widens the typical bank angles. Do it with a soft stroke and employ as much outside English, or spin, as needed. One issue with this shot is that outcomes can greatly differ from table to table depending on bumper quality.

Narrower

Wider

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The Multi-Rail Bank Shot


Multi rail bank shots are comprised of bank shots, where the cue ball or object ball hit the rail at multiple points. Executing these shots is the next step in becoming a great pool player. Start by lining up where the cue ball has to hit the object ball to sink it into the intended pocket. Make an imaginary line from that point to the last rail you expect to hit. Then imagine a reflection of that line that interesects at the rail. Follow that line to your next rail and continue until you can line up a shot with your cue ball. This method is easiest when you have ball in hand and can move the cue ball wherever you need it to be. One minor change in ball spin can completely disrupt this shot. If you accidentally put spin on the cue ball, every angle will need to change drastically in your examination. Overall multi-rail shots are very low percentage shots, even for the pros.

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The Carom Shot


A Carom shot is comprised of a shot where one ball hits off one or more other balls (caroms) and goes into a pocket. To master this is extremely useful when several object balls may be in the way of a direct shot. As mentioned, every pool shot is based on angles. A carom shot is no different and is comprised of an angular shot which bounces your ball off another to get it in the pocket. This is a little more complicated than a simple bank shot; when the object ball strikes another ball, it produces a different effect on the ball than a cue ball hit. The ball will immediately give movement, and therefore, alter the direction of your object ball to a lesser degree. You must also consider what the second ball will do when the object ball hits it. Will it enter a pocket, or simply bounce off the rail wildly? Will your cue ball end up travelling by itself into a pocket, and producing a scratch shot? When you first start practicing Carom shots, you should always try to remain close to the pocket. The complexity and difficulty of a Carom shot is proportionate to how far it is from the pocket. Ball speed is also very important in this particular shot. Usually, the slower the better because it allows for the object ball to follow the correct path into the pocket.

90 Degrees
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The Combination Shot


A combination shot requires angling a shot into one object ball which then hits into one or more object balls, to drive the intended ball into a pocket. A good example of this would be hitting the 5-ball into the 9-ball and pocketing it to win the game (9-Ball rules). Try to start by aiming at the ball that you intend to pocket. Move backwards from each ball, taking into consideration the angle of each progressive hit that will be needed to produce the right result. With the right techniques, combination shots can include many balls. Fancy stunt-based pool players can often link six balls in a row , but if you are just starting out, begin with just two balls.

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The Jump Shot


Jump shots are surprisingly easy for some amateurs to pick up, but hard to master. They can be an excellent way to increase your flair and finesse and also a great way to avoid the balls you do not want to hit. Jump shots are comprised of making the cue ball leave the surface of the table after being hit by the cue stick. They do require a bit of careful calculation; if the cue ball actually leaves the table it is almost always considered a foul shot. It is also considered a foul when jumps are committed through scooping" the cue ball. Scooping is accomplished by hitting the cue ball too low, and results in the ball popping up into the air and coming back down at a significant angle. To keep your jump shot legal, strike your cue ball above the center line with the cue stick at an angle somewhere between 30 - 60 degrees. Which angle you choose will depend on your needs at the time, but generally anything outside of this will produce a foul shot.

45o

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The Draw Shot


Draw shots are usually quite pleasing to watch, because they involve using the cue ball to hit a target ball in such a manner that the cue ball stops momentarily and then rebounds back to you. This is a common trick shot used during competitions. It can be especially useful in the case of direct shots that are too close to the pocket to make without scratching or when you want to leave yourself for another shot. This is one of the more difficult shots to master, and without real hands on practice, it is very hard to judge exact pressure and angle required. There is a slight learning curve to this shot, but it can generally be mastered with moderate practice. If you want the cue ball to return to you properly, you need to create a good backspin on the ball. This can become difficult, as the exact amount of back spin required is tricky to judge. Your cue ball needs to be able to retain its back spin as it progresses towards your object ball. Too much spin will result in your ball returning too soon and too little will result in your ball not moving back far enough. Hit the cue ball below center. Try to use a slightly stronger stroke than one normally would, but be careful not to overshoot your distance. Remember that as previously mentioned, the distance between the object ball and the cue ball directly affects how much backspin you will need to put on your cue ball. Any friction caused by the table cloth or other variables will reduce your backspin. Obviously, with this shot, the further the amount of distance is the more difficult it will be to judge exactly how much pressure is needed. Extremely long distance shots involving nearly the whole table are not likely to be successful unless you have very proficient skill in this type of shot.

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Summary
These are just a few of the small ways you can improve your pool game. Though they may not result in becoming world famous or a pool shark, they will give you enough skill with practice to hold your own with most other players. They are an excellent basis for developing professional pool skills, and will increase your enjoyment of the game as your confidence in your skill and ability grows. Below you will find a diagram that ranks the level of difficulty for each shot on a scale of 1-10. It also provides the average shot percentage for each type of shot.

Type of Shot Kick Shot Bank Shot Spin Bank Shot Multi-Rail Shot Carom Shot Combination Shot Jump Shot Draw Shot 3 6 8 7 4 5 7 2

Avg. Shot Percentage 35-55% 20-40% 15-35% 30-50% 50-70% 60-80% 5-25% 60-80%

About Pool Tables Fast


Pool Tables Fast is fast growing ecommerce website that adds new billiard products & information daily for all types of customers ranging from amatuer to pro. They pride themselves on great customer service and low prices. Pool Tables Fast is also part of a trio of game table sites that comprise the Ultimate Gameroom division of GLstores. The other two sites include www.airhockey-tables-direct.com and foosball-tables-extreme.com.

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