Here are two trick shots to make the 8 and the 9 in side pocket A. I call them great because unlike some trick shots, there are things to be learned from them that you can use in games. Also, they are truly amazing when they go, which is most of the time if you have practiced them.
For the 9 ball shot — the goal is to make the 9 in pocket A — both the 9 and the cue ball are frozen to the cushion and to each other. They really need to be frozen or the shot will be either inconsistent or impossible. One technique for encouraging balky balls to stay frozen is to tap them into place with another ball.
If you aim at about the point indicated, which is the edge of the metal fitting for the side pocket on the other side and shoot firmly, the 9 will move relatively slowly down the rail while the cue ball zips across one rail to hit it just as it passes the side pocket.
The main thing to learn from this shot is how adjustments can be used to modify parts of the shot.
The more you shoot into the nine ball, the faster it will move down the table relative to the cue ball speed. If the nine ball is short of the side pocket when the cue ball returns, you need to give it more speed, so you need to shoot into it fuller. Choose an aiming point closer to the middle of the side pocket — not a lot closer, try a half-inch at a time.
As you take an aiming point to the left or right to get less or more speed on the 9, the path of the cue ball will also change. To adjust it to come to the side pocket, use a little left or right English to change the angle off the far cushion. With these two controls — and with careful setup — you can expect to make the ball over half the time. Remember to hit the ball firmly as it keeps the timing more consistent; the 9 should be moving at a good pace when it’s struck by the cue ball the second time.
The exact distance of the two balls from the side pocket is not too important, but you will have to change the aiming point and English slightly as you move away from the side. The shot can be made with nearly the same line three diamonds from the side.
The shot to make the 8 ball in the side I first saw done by the exhibition player Jack White in the 1960s but it dates back at least 70 years. It’s called The Rosebud. The 8 is on the spot with the 6 and 7 straight across. The other four balls are placed touching the 6 and 7 and lined up with the 6 and 7 to the far corner pockets, B and C. For example, the 5-7 line points to pocket B.
The proposition is to make the 8 in any of the four pockets on that end of the table, which you can let the audience pick before you place the cue ball. If pocket A is chosen, place the cue ball as shown in line with the 2-8-5 line, and shoot the 2 straight at the 8. Do you see what happens to let the 8 go in side A? The entire shot is based on tangent lines from ball collisions. The 8 ball last hits the 5 ball — I’ll leave it for you to figure out where the other balls have gone during the lightning- fast sequence of collisions. I’ll also leave it to you to figure out where to put the cue ball for the other three pockets. Have fun.