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Learn How to Play Pool Like A Pro - Lesson 2 Mastering Billiards Cue Ball Angle Control

Updated on May 1, 2012

The first lesson in this series was on speed control.

If you are a novice and have not read it, go back now and catch up here. Now, that every one is with me, you have developed your ability to control the amount of power you impart into the object ball. That's useless you say? No, it is crucial. Mastering your speed control will now allow you to be confident when you are approaching the cue ball when playing pool and billiards. The next element that we will discuss is object ball contact angle.


This is what the pros are great at.

Mastering the contact angle is the real platform for playing well. Finding the spot on the ball that is directly opposite the pocket when want to shoot at is relatively easy, the difficulty is in getting the cue ball to contact that point. There are several methods for finding and visualizing this point on the object ball, you may use which ever one you are familiar with. If you don't have one already, take your cue stick and point thru the center of the object ball towards the pocket. The point of the object ball that is closest to your stick is your contact point. Now that we are all able to find the contact point, let's talk a little about how we get our cue ball to this point. Shooting a cue ball is a magical thing when done properly. The amount of possibilities for shot selection are almost endless, and the science and art involved in executing those possibilities are truly beautiful to me. However, in order to be able to do any of that well, you must first achieve the ability to shoot the cue ball on a straight path. The biggest mistake that beginners make is to attempt to apply unnecessary right and left spin to the cue ball. This creates an effect known as "throwing" the cue ball, and the same effect happens again to the object ball. These spins hinder performance, and hamper otherwise good efforts. If you want to play well, forget about spin for a while. Instead, focus on this element. The method I suggest for finding the best line to shoot at is visualizing a line from the very bottom of your cue ball to the impact point we talked about previously. There are two other elements that will be important as well in order for you to attain your best results. One is to move the stick directly through this imaginary line in the middle of the cue ball on your attempt. Make sure line up in the center of the cue ball both vertically, and horizontally. Do your best to avoid applying any left or right spin to the ball. The other important element is the angle of your cue stick through the impact zone. There are so many sizes of people that a one size fits all does not work here. Basically, any player wants to get the stick as level as possible as often as possible. Sometimes the rail or another ball may prevent this, but the rule of thumb here is the flatter the better. There are some effects that can be created by raising the incline of the cue, but we will save those for a future hub. So, now that you have the incline, contact point on cue ball, and contact point on object ball, go ahead and follow through the cue ball on your practice stroke. If the information I just gave you was used properly, your cue ball just traveled down the desired line and you are one step closer to becoming a great pool player. I will be continuing this series to it's end and then going back and doing a few hubs on proper billiards mechanics. Please check out one of my sponsor's ads if you appreciate this hub. Either way, thank you for reading it. I hope it is useful to you.

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    • rclinton5280 profile image

      Robert Clinton 6 years ago from Greensboro, NC

      Tx for the comments guys. Dipless, your comment is especially appreciated. Avan, I understand the principles of deflection, but have always used the term "throw" when explaining it to new players. The concept is easier to grasp. That's why it's in quotations. However, you are correct. The proper term for the cue leaving it's path when it is struck is called deflection.

    • avan989 profile image

      avan989 6 years ago from maryland

      Yea your post is really interest and accurate for the most part. There is a couple of things I would like to comment on that is a little off. Most beginners who try to do English miss not because of "throw", its deflection. Although throw does have a part in it, but the amount of throw is so little compare to deflection. Deflection results because of the cue pushing the cue ball aside as you hit left or right. Throw is the changing of intended path due to the spinning. That why a lot of people buy low-deflection shaft(cheap low deflection can cost 180 dollar, high end low-deflection can cost 250). A majority of shot is miss because of deflection, even in professional level. Your post for the most part is correct and a really good guide for beginners who are learning the game.

    • dipless profile image

      dipless 6 years ago from Manchester

      Interesting hub, pool is a game i never really been good at but this has been an interesting read thank you for sharing :)