This is a great practice shot for a better understanding of follow, throw and throw compensation. It is a valuable shot to know, because many variations of the shot come up in a typical game. Although it will take dedicated practice, it is within reach of a beginner, and should be relatively easy for more advanced shooters.
Let's assume you played position for a side pocket shot, but ended up slightly on the wrong side of the object ball. You could bank cross side, but the speed is too critical, and you could bounce back off the foot rail leaving you with horrible position somewhere in the middle of the table. Better to follow with left spin off the rail.
To set up the shot, place the cue (c) on the spot, and the object ball a little right of straight in as shown. The trick is to sink the object ball in the side pocket, follow (with the cueball) to the rail to the right of the side pocket, and spin dramatically off the rail, up table for position on the ball frozen to the end rail. Obviously it is necessary to know how to put effective top spin on the cueball for this shot to succeed, and top spin is a finesse shot that gives many shooters trouble. So, let's first discuss follow spin.
The most common mistake I see with top spin is the assumption that more follow requires a harder stroke. It may appear a logical assumption, but good follow requires more spin, not just more speed, and more spin is achieved with a higher hit on the cueball, not just a harder stroke. It is also necessary to avoid "trapping" the cueball between the table's surface and the cue tip. This means avoiding a hit that is too high, which allows the tip to "ride" the top of the ball. The tip must get out of the way during the stroke, or it will push the cueball into the cloth and "kill" the spin.
The illustrated practice shot requires a hit on the cueball as shown above. It requires a firm, confident stoke. Since a little left spin is applied, the object ball will throw right, which means the cue must hit the object ball a hair to the right of the spot you would normally aim at if no english was being applied.
Every shot requires practice and adjustments. Different tips and shafts produce more or less spin and throw. All illustrated lessons will require adjustments to the hit to compensate for the differences in equipment. It is the theory that needs practice, not the illustration itself.
This same hit on the cueball is useful in a wide variety of other situations. I like the one shown in the illustration because it will force the shooter to develop good follow. If it takes 50 tries to achieve the shot, shoot it 50 times. Nothing of value comes easily.
Billiard World 1998 Edition
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