Blueprints of Foundations - Page 3

Blueprints of Foundations - Page 3 (Click Here to Continue)

This is where if you happen to miss the shot you’ll get the old “Why you trying to be fancy? Just make the ball with center draw and come back over for the 9” speech. If you do miss, take the heat and go back to your seat but know you played the right shot and here’s why: The light green triangular-shaped area is what we call our position zone for the 9 ball, the place we want our cue ball after pocketing the 8. That’s rule #1, identifying our position zone. Now rule #2 says to enter it as effectively as possible. Effectively means entering the position zone from a direction that allows for the biggest margin of error when it comes to cueball speed and to also avoid possible pocket scratches whenever possible. You can see that if an amateur player attempted to put a little center draw to come back towards the 9 ball that they would be entering the position zone by coming across the small section of it rather than entering into it the long way. What this means is the amateur player is asking more of themselves than the professional player would. Does that make sense, a lower-level player trying to demonstrate more skill than a professional? The professional player could make a 2 or 3 foot error in speed control on either side and still be shooting comfortably at the money ball, while if the amateur makes a 1 foot error in speed or direction, they may be banking the 9 (or racking after scratching in the side).

Learn to see these triangular zones every time you’re around a table, whether you’re playing or watching. And then watch how the cue ball enters that zone, into it the long way or across it the short way? Sometimes the short, wrong way is actually the best choice but you should have a damned good reason for it.

Here’s the biggest risk in shooting that shot my way rather than coming across the table (and across the zone) towards the 9 ball or the side pocket. My shot is what we’ve been trained to say is “more missable” - more missable because we’re using inside english rather than center cue ball. How dare I teach such blasphemy? Well, if you hadn’t spent the whole first year of your pool career practicing the wrong shot we wouldn’t be having this problem now. I am not only going to get better position more often playing the shot this way but I am also going to pocket the ball more often going this way. You know why? Two reasons:

1. I’m going to hit the shot softer and smoother than a player using center ball who is attempting to punch the cue ball across the table would; and 2. I’ve practiced shots like this so much (because I know their value) that I feel more confident with the inside spin when it comes to pocketing the ball than I do with a center stop-shot type of stroke.

Get over it and get used to it ASAP. You can’t make the decision until you’ve lived on both sides of the fence. You must give each option its fair chance and you can always go back to the shot of your choice but don’t deprive yourself of the correct options just because you miss at first.

This next diagram is like our 8 ball quiz (didn’t think I was going to give you the answer did ya?) Which way would you have run the 1, 2 & the 8? The answer is to play the 2 ball first like I play this 8 to the 9. “Why Joe, why all those rails?”, you say. Because once learned you will scratch less and get in the position zone more often, that’s why - and that’s why I recommend you start your learning process off with what is considered advanced cue ball control. In the process of doing that your aim will automatically improve, you’ll develop “feel” faster and you can always work on your fundamentals at the same time. Do not become a prisoner is a small cell!

That’s it… I gotta go, they’re screaming “it’s an article not a book!” I’ll be back in your future and hopefully when we meet again you’ll be playing all the correct shots. No putters off the tee!

****If you enjoyed Joe's article please make sure to check out his great instructional products. Below are the links: