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Banking More Successfully With Object Balls

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Hard Banks Turned Soft For The Win
Billiards Object Ball

Billiards Object Ball

Illustration (c) Matt Sherman, licensed to About.com, Inc.
Making a challenging bank shot by firing hard banks or soft, or using inside or outside english or both, perplexes a lot of players. The two techniques presented in this article are sure winners. As for spin banks, they become a deadly weapon in your billiards arsenal using my simple technique. Pound a couple of hard inside banks (the purple 4-ball track in the accompanying diagram) into a side pocket to start any pool session. The harder stroke creates faster speed, which along with the inside english (left english on the cue ball in this case, which produces a small amount of right english on the object ball) narrows the shot rebound off the rail.

Of course, a tighter rebound means you must aim on a line coming straighter into the side pocket. Now you know why the pros hit banks close to the side pocket "hard and inside," to straighten their aim coming off the cushion to a tight side pocket. This happens to be one of these rare occasions when a harder stroke is suited for play.

After you shoot a couple of hard inside banks (two or three, regardless of whether you sink them) take a couple of the outside banks as shown (the orange line taken for the 5-ball in the diagram). Shoot quite softly using outside english (right english on this shot). Use perhaps 50% of maximum english (halfway of the tip's motion before you arrive in miscue territory will yield maximum effect.

Shooting just two or three inside hard banks, then a couple of spin banks, before a session, makes a huge difference in all banking. I'm speaking of sinking perhaps twice as many banks or more successfully that day as your mind and body have absorbed the maximum and optimal distances to influence bank shots for the win.

Yet something about the angles and different sort of concentration involved for banks can make cue position an anything goes proposition for many players. Watch where your cue ball rolls to on the two practice shots of this diagram. You'll be amazed at your newfound ability to roll to the next shot after any bank.

Another help is to cut the object ball to the bank spot as if there was no cushion to strike, which relaxes the nerves and prevents squeezing or clutching the stroke in anticipation of the rail hit. Your goal is to grow your confidence to alternately stay on one side of the table or cross over for the next stroke, something vital for defensive shape, too, if you fail to pocket the banked ball.

*Matt's tip of the week, which certainly applies to banking billiards balls: Chalk your tip before every shot. If the next shot sinks without chalk you got lucky and it's better to be prepared than (un)lucky next inning. Bear in mind that heavy coatings of chalk are less effective than a nice even light coating.

Matt Answers Reader Questions About Hard Banks And Spin Banks

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