Is your game on the LEVEL?

© 2010 Mike Fieldhammer, BilliardCoach.com

Mike Fieldhammer

Some pool players take some time off during the Summer and others stay in stroke and keep cool. One thing that seems to be true with everyone this time of year is that we are busy!  So here’s a quick tip for you to keep in mind next time you’re in a game.  Keep a level cue.

Play shots with your cue as level as possible.  It is tempting to elevate the butt of the cue on draw shots.  Players routinely elevate unnecessarily on shots where the cue ball is near a rail. A little bit of elevation is unavoidable as the butt extends over the rail. However, strive for the lowest butt your knuckles can stand.

Potential problems with jacking up are as follows:

1. The possibility of a slight Masse’ or Swerve of the cue ball before it contacts the object ball is of great concern.  If side spin is used (left or right English) while the cue it elevated, the cue ball will curve while traveling toward the object ball. The amount of movement is tough to judge and can be a delicate blend of table conditions, speed of stroke, eccentricity of the tip to cue ball contact, and degree of cue elevation.  Minor and unwanted curve in mildly elevated shots is one of the biggest factors to missing shots. Just a quarter inch of movement of cue ball called swerve (or masse’) can make for an awful miss.  The object ball could miss the pocket by many inches.

2. Aiming is trickier with an elevated cue.  Looking down the line of the cue stick past the cue ball to the object ball gets tougher with an elevated cue.  Your head gets higher off the table and your cue points more into the cloth and slate than through the cue ball and at the ghost ball or contact point by the object ball.  Keeping your point of view with your chin closer to the table will aid effective and accurate aiming.

3.  Hitting down on the cue ball causes it to jump off the playing surface.  This is good when you’re attempting to shoot a jump shot, but not so good if you are shooting a draw shot.  Dr. Dave, a great asset to the game, has done studies in his mad scientist lab and concluded that you will have less back spin on the cue ball when it reaches the object ball if you jack up.  This assumes the same cue tip offset from center ball. The hopping cue ball loses spin from the very first hop.  There’s double trouble if the cue ball is airborne at impact, because the contact point will change.  Your cut will be thinner than if the cue ball was on the cloth.

So keep it level, especially if you are going to use some side spin or want the most effective draw shot.

Mike Fieldhammer
Professional Billiard Instructor
www.billiardcoach.com / 612.802.0519

Mike’s team “Who Needs a Billiard Coach?!” recently won the BCAPL National Team Championship in a field of 674 teams.  Mike is a full time tournament player and professional billiard instructor. Lessons, gift certificates, and very soon the new line of Samsara cues available at the Billiard Coach Store.

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