Pool CueHow hard or soft to hit? Where does the power come from? Good questions. This is my fathers take on it. “Having comfortably taken my stance, aligned my cue and my aim, I am now ready to start cueing. With my cue tip approximately 13mm (½”) from the cue ball at address, my length of backward stroke will be governed entirely by the power I intend putting into the shot. Because my power does not come from the strength of the grip of my cue, but in fact, from the drive of my cue arm, it stands to reason that if I intend to play a soft stroke, the travel of my cue back from the cue ball will be short. Because of the intended soft stroke, the gap from my bridge hand to cue ball would be shorter than normal. Having shortened up in front with my bridge hand, it follows that I will shorten up my gripping point on the butt of my cue with my cueing hand, by moving my grip forward. I play from on, or close to cushions the same way”.

I’ll give you a couple of simple practice routines that will assist you in all the previous lessons and help to cement the points in place, such as: stance, aiming, cueing, where to hit the cue ball to get the different reactions from the cue ball. Add these to the first in the previous lessons where you just hit the cue ball down the table and have it come back over the place you started. Some more are:

  1. Place a ball on the centre spot of a snooker table or the middle of the table between the two centre pockets. Put the cue ball approximately halfway back to the centre pocket and then pot the object ball striking the cue ball in the centre. Don’t hit too hard, just enough for the ball to hit the back of the pocket.
  2. Place a ball on the pink spot of a snooker table or in a direct line between the centre pocket and a corner pocket. Put the cue ball approximately 500mm (20”) back in a straight line and pot the object into the corner pocket with centre ball striking.

These two simple routines can be played by absolute beginners learning how to stand and hit a ball to advanced players trying to correct a problem with cueing action. In both cases, you can add to the degree of difficulty by hitting the cue low to draw it back, or high to have it follow on. The challenge is to have the cue ball travel in a straight line after hitting the object ball, regardless whether drawing back or following through. If the cue ball travels off to one side or the other, you are not hitting it on the centre axis. This can mean that you are not aligned properly. This simple exercise will help teach you how to self diagnose a fault in your whole action. If the cue ball goes off to the right side of straight on each shot, you are consistently hitting slightly to the left side of the cue ball. It may mean you are standing slightly over the line of aim with your back foot. Bring that foot back onto the line and you may have remedied the problem.

Where to hit the cue ball to get different reactions! Look at your watch or a clock on the wall. That clock face can be transferred to a cue ball. If I want the ball to travel forward after impact with an object ball I would hit the cue ball between centre and 12 o’clock. If I would like it to come back towards me I would hit between centre and 6 o’clock. The vertical axis between 12 and 6 are where most of your shots will come from. As we advance through we will start to strike the cue ball off centre, but let me give you a simple piece of advice while you are learning. Don’t intentionally strike off centre yet, there are some variables you will need to know or your shot making will suffer. KISS – ‘Keep It Simple Stupid’ is a very good adage for our games. As I said earlier, the games are simple, we make them difficult.
Practice hard and often.