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Learn How To Play Pool Like A Pro? Lesson 3 - Spin

Updated on January 20, 2015

This will be the final lesson

in this series. Lesson one discussed learning speed control, and lesson two covered learning the angle and impact point. If you need to catch up, lesson 1 and lesson 2 are available in these links. There is also a lesson on mechanics and fundamentals that you can use to get up to speed if you are not already. In addition to that, there are links to other how-to articles on billiards and pool in the links at the bottom of the page.

Left and Right Spin

is a monstrous beast when you are at the pool table. It can make a difficult shot possible, or cause a miss when you are shooting at a simple shot. There are so many elements to a ball stuck with spin that it is almost difficult to put into words. The variables that will affect one of these shots are speed of stoke, follow-thru, angle of impact, height of impact, incline of cue, grip of cloth, debris on the balls, and the amount of time the cue tip is in contact with the object ball. I can't cover them all in one hub. I will help you build a better understanding, but each of these require hubs to themselves in order to provide a proper explanation. This series is geared more towards beginners. Let's start at the moment of impact.

Bad Cue Incline (unless you are jumping;)
Bad Cue Incline (unless you are jumping;)
Good Cue Incline
Good Cue Incline
5 potential center ball targets
5 potential center ball targets | Source

The variables of spin

The variables that I previously spoke of come into play at this moment. All of the preparations from the previous hubs are so that you can drive the tip of your cue directly through the point in the ball that you intend to hit. That's a good thing, but those things can only take you so far. Once the tip leaves the center of the cue ball, or the incline of the cue stick is changed then the reaction of the cue ball changes dramatically.

The first thing that occurs when the ball is struck off of center is a deflection to the opposing direction of the strike. Driving the stick through the right side of the ball pushes it left, and the opposite is true as well. Learning how to compensate for this when you are aiming will be crucial for success. Along with deflection, the next principle that you will need to understand is throw. Throw occurs when the cue ball meets the object ball, and the spin that is applied to the cue ball affects the angle that the object ball travels on.

Beyond that, there are two other major factors. The first is how well you contact the ball. That will be determined by the quality of the strike and how far you follow thru the cue ball during your stroke. The other is the incline of the cue. The average player has the rear end of the stick too high in the air, creating a jump shot effect on every firm stroke. A swing such as this one could be useful in certain situations, but it is bad for most shots. Very similar to putting in golf, the best contact consist of "brushing" the ball just above center to prevent any potential for skidding on the surface of the felt. This is done by getting the butt of the cue down to as flat as possible, and then striking the ball on the flattest plane possible. The cue tip almost seems to travel upward thru the ball when done properly.

Collectively, these are the factors that you have the most control over. The cloth tightness, ball quality and so forth have their own effects, but are usually something that we just have to get a feel for. There is no magic formula that can replicate having a "feel" for a table.

Center Ball, Top Spin, and Draw

These are the more important aspects of spin. The players who use these effectively and consistently can have a very successful opportunity with billiards and pool. Driving the tip into the center line of the cue ball will not cause a veering off of the center line during the cue ball movement. The speed of stroke, follow thru, and point of contact will control the revolutions applied to the ball. Striking the ball below the equator will create a reverse spin (draw), and above the equator will create follow spin. The most effective strike is just plain center of the ball. Learning to control the skid of the center ball shot may very well be the single most important aspect of the game to master. This method gives you a repeatable shot that has limited variables, and increased accuracy. It also requires the player to learn the tangent line from that center ball shot, thus gaining insight into a number of other principles from that understanding.

Thank you for reading How to play pool like a pro

If you are interested in reading more of my writing, I have began to write about pool and billiard equipment as well. There are several articles in my profile about the best pool sticks, the best jump break cues, and more. Stop by and check them out and share them with a friend.


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    • rclinton5280 profile imageAUTHOR

      Robert Clinton 

      6 years ago from Greensboro, NC

      You are welkcome Bill. I am glad you enjoyed them. I will be adding at least one more hub to the series, so follow me if you want to catch my latest articles first.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Great series man! I hope you write more so I can fine tune my game

    • profile image

      Mbongeni kunene 

      6 years ago

      Thanks 4 ur tips dey hv made me master my weakness


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