by Bob Jewett
Do you ever come up against a shot which is easy enough to make but you have no feel for how
you’re going to get position? When that happens to you, it’s a great clue as to what you have to
practice. Here’s an example.
The 15 ball is one diamond from the side cushion and one diamond down the table from the side
pocket.The cue ball is on a line such that your cue stick passes over the second diamond on the
other side cushion as shown. The goal of each shot is to pocket the 15 in the side and take the cue
ball to just touch the target ball. How close the cue ball is to the 15 is up to you — move it farther
away for more challenge, especially for draw shots.
First, try to park the cue ball by the one ball with plain draw. This is about at the limit for this
angle of cut into the side, and will be impossible with a heavy bar cue ball or if the cloth is old and
sticky. Shot 2 is easier and should be possible under all conditions. On each shot, you should try to
get both the speed and direction just right.
For the 3 and 4, go one rail off the side cushion. There are two ways to adjust the angle from the
cushion — draw or side spin. If I don’t know the table well, I’ll use a rolling cue ball and adjust the
side spin to fix the angle. Draw position will be more affected by how new the cloth is.
For shots 5, 6 and 7, you can get there two ways, as shown for the 6 ball. If you go two rails, get
the 3 ball out of the way — it’s not supposed to be a blocker on this drill. You can also get the last
three balls with follow and one cushion. The 5 ball will probably need a little right english, while
the 7 ball will need left english.
Can you take the cue ball to the other side pocket using either one or two rails? I think this is
nearly impossible on some tables.
Try each position until you leave the cue ball “close enough” to the object ball, which might be to
end up within a ball’s diameter or within a hand span. If you want to keep score, consider three
tries for each shot as par, so a total of 20 would be good.
This is just one example of how to “own” a shot you might stumble over during play. Note any
such shots in your own competition and spend some time with them on the practice table.