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Crazy Methods For Unusual Pool And Billiards English

Try These Strokes If You Want To Do Some Wild Things At Table


Wild English

Wild english methods--try 'em and you might just love 'em

Photo (c) Matt Sherman, licensed to About.com, Inc.
Continuing instruction on the 7 Kinds Of English And When To Use Them

Part I: The First Three Kinds Of English Strokes

4. Super Backhand English

SBE is backhand english or "carabao english" with a definite and literal twist on the practice strokes.

If you want to get some mighty spin action on the cue ball, line up as for a good old center ball stroke and then on each successive practice stroke, slowly wiggle the back hand to curve the cue tip path to the point of aim. before you take any practice strokes, wiggle the stroke hand to bring the tip to the aim spot.

This practice motion creates a sort of supercharged backhand english stroke with the final, ultimate stroke, including reinforcing the moving center-to-english path for the cue tip. Be sure to return back to center ball and pause following the final practice stroke for maximum effect.

5. Body English

What I call body english is a little-known move that is not for every player, but those who can, do. It touches on my comments (pool teaching heresy, I know!) that some players can get away with dancing through their shots.

If you disbelieve me, watch some of the top pros. They may even teach their students to stay down for the complete stroke all the way to the follow through, something that I teach also, as in one simple trick for staying down through the shot. But greats for a century have moved their body very early in the final stroke.

The simplest way to describe body english is that the player will aim and stroke center ball, then move their trunk, then their legs (a very little bit) to the right, but hold their bridge hand in place so that their tip feels like it is striking center ball, to create bit of right english or vice versa to their left for left english. As you might have guessed, left handed players find body english simpler to do coming to their left and vice versa as well.

BE is really a nifty little trick that some players do on a conscious or even subconscious basis. I can do it when "I feel like dancing". As to why I do it-it looks cool, but more importantly, it can give a little added confidence that on a subconscious basis pool can be played at a high level. And now you might have insight as to how a pro aims center ball but rolls the cue ball a far distance (besides using a gentle grip and stroke tied to a level cue).

6. Reverse Pivot English

This is an odd sort of english but describes the feeling that that the pivoting english stroke is made after impact with the cue ball. Yes, I know the cue ball touches the cue stick's tip for mere thousands of a second at impact. Yes, I realize the cue ball doesn't "care" about movement or momentum following impact of the cue stick.

Trust me for now, that just as a little bit of late wrist snap sets up the planes of motion for a strong draw stroke (although I recommend playing strong draw strokes this way instead as illustrated) that the late pivot english stroke wondrously produces controlled amounts of the reverse of the english chosen. In other words, a late enough right english pivot stroke seems to provide the cue ball with left english and vice versa. Will miracles like RPE never cease in billiards?

7. Inner English

Inner english is my simple way to describe pivoting the cue stick away from center ball so that the cue tip and forward part of the shaft coming back from the tip are inside the masses of the cue ball and object ball as much as possible along the full line.

I'm giving this term of inner english to describe the step a fine player may take when down and sighted full on an object ball to play a little intentional spin or even intentionally "slide" or deflect the cue ball into play. If you've ever gone contrary with english and twisted your cue stick a bit inside the line of the balls to hold the cue ball you know how inner english looks and feels. I'm unsure even tight in camera work can pick up a pro doing this on TV.

Bonus Tip: Fake English

The inner english concept leads me to describe what I call "fake english". As I mentioned regarding parallel english really being a contrivance to move the cue stick without employing true english action on the cue ball, there are players up to a pro level who will swear english can be used to control the movement of the cue ball after it impacts an object ball. Not so!

If you've ever added a dash of outside english to make a side pocket shot a bit more easily and "hold" the cue ball's movement, you've played parallel or pivot english but not made the cue ball change it's exit path from impact. What you've actually done is stroked the shot along a different aim line with a cue stick twisted off center, making the cue ball take a different route to the object ball and away that looked like you "moved it".

It is physically impossible to alter the cue ball path at impact with another ball. A ball does not have the mass behind it of say, a table cushion, to interact with spin and roll to change the cue ball's exit path.

Double Bonus

If you stayed long enough to read this tip, here's something special. Line up using center ball aim and then hit the cue ball with one side of your tip or the other for english. In other words, when cutting an object ball to your left, address the target at center ball and with your final forward stroke, motion as if you want to strike the cue ball with the right side of your cue stick's tip for inside (left english) or on its left side for right (outside) english.

Have fun experimenting and if you think of a 10th way to shoot english, I'm all ears!

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