If you’re thinking about adding jump shots to your arsenal consider this as a “heads up” guide on the subject.
First, and foremost, having a jump or jump/break cue is a must! Not saying that you can’t shoot a jump shot with your regular playing cue but if you’re just starting to learn jump techniques trying to do this with a playing cue is raising the bar ridiculously high.
Now you’ve got the right kind of cue for jumping, your next consideration is the cue ball. The McDermott Jump Trainer Cue Ball is my recommendation but not absolutely necessary. If you don’t want or need a training ball, at least make sure the ball(s) you’re using are phenolic resin. I say this because phenolic resin balls have the most elasticity versus other, cheaper materials giving the most “bounce” which makes them more jump friendly. I did a video tutorial a while back and used object balls as my cue ball for jump practice and since have been asked the reason for this. Simply, I don’t want to have to walk around my pool table to retrieve my cue ball after each and every practice shot. Call it laziness if you like, but I can shoot 2 or 3 shots in the time it takes me to walk around the table, retrieve the cue ball and set up for the next shot. I call it efficient.
Also get some practice jumping with a bridge stick and 2 bridge sticks stacked if you can. Unless you’re 6’6’ or taller, there’s nothing worse than having to shoot a jump shot from mid-table and not having the equipment or know how to execute.
The pool table you choose to practice jump shots on is also of high importance. Make sure that it is at least a 1 inch slate. If the slate is thicker like 1.25 inches on some Connelly tables or 2 inches on a Connelly Ultimate, it’s even easier to go airborne with the rock. Do Not attempt to shoot jump shots on any non-slate table.
A pool table in your home is the ideal practice environment. I didn’t attempt to learn until I had one in my home. The risk of damaging the table, cloth and fragile items close to the table along with the potential embarrassment and unsolicited advice from all of the “experts” at my local pool hall was more than I wanted to deal with. If you do practice on your home table be sure to place a small piece of pool table cloth under the cue ball for each shot to minimize burn marks. Know that burn marks also occur from the cue ball landing on each shot. Not much you can do about this other than may be putting another piece of pool table cloth to use as a target for landing. Be aware that although shooting jump shots does not damage pool balls excessively, it will put additional stress and wear on your cloth. A few other things, make sure to shoot away from any windows in the room and remove any glass and fragile items that may be in the surrounding area. You never know when Whitey will get more wings than you want and create a small disaster.
If you don’t have a pool table at home and your only practice venue is a pool hall or bar check with the owner or manager on duty before you get to a table and start launching shots. The reasons for this should be obvious at this point.