Hard To Kill (1990) was one of the first Steven Seagal action blockbusters. In the film, the loathsome "Senator Trent" has a slogan that voters can trust him and "take that to the bank." Seagal as tough guy "Mason Storm" responds, "I'm gonna take you to the bank, Senator Trent. To the blood bank!"
Sinking banks in pocket billiards is a fine thing, but to draw blood one must shape the cue ball too. Even a winning 8- or 9-ball bank becomes a loser with a cue ball scratch. I'm proud of myself that on most banks I can roll the cue ball for the next shot or for defense in case of a miss or both. This is a tougher skill to hone than it sounds.
Let's review basic bank aim and get our cue ball into shape. Beginner to intermediate players should learn two basic banks, starting with "1-2-3 bank aiming" and then widening or tightening the object ball as needed with english (sidespin).
The 1-2-3 bank method (as shown in the accompanying diagram) aims the cut on an object ball toward a one-rail bank:
Line 1 - Identify the shortest line between the object ball and the banking cushion
Line 2 - Imagine a line parallel to Line 1 that runs from the scoring pocket directly across the table to the opposite pocket
Line 3 - Cross the lines formed between pocket and rail point, and ball and opposite pocket, and a third parallel line from the cross point shows where to aim for the bank
Some helping advice that is applicable to any and all bank shots:
- Bear in mind that the edge of the object ball, not its center, strikes the cushion, a helps in concentration as you develop your bank sighting
- Aim near the bottom of the cushions near the cloth, and not the top of the rail, as the view up top is off slightly from the true bank angle
- You'll need outside english on the object ball; when you want to widen the angle off the cushion (forcing the 1-2-3 point away from the pocket) or inside english on the object ball to tighten the rebound (banking the bank closer to the pocket)