Mr. S. Schorer writes:
"Can a spinning cue ball cause the object ball to spin as well?
I thought that the answer was an obvious yes, but Steve Davis (legendary Snooker professional) says that it's a myth.
So is "throw" real, or not?
Subquestions: Does the smaller snooker ball behave differently from a larger American pool ball? Is there a different effect if you strike the object in the center, as opposed to an off-center hit?"
Great questions for sure. Here are some tools to help you and other readers get a handle on these issues of spin and ball control:
1. Object balls pick up only a little spin from spining cue balls and other balls - rarely is english used to cinch a ball into a pocket - but the cue ball can definitely veer off line on english strokes. My article on Top 10 Mistakes Using English points out stroke flaws and will help correct and limit these errors.
2. The snooker ball, being smaller than an American pool ball, faces error from the player often--after all, the tip of the snooker cue is not vastly smaller compared to the difference in ball size--so english erros are compounded. Yes, the snooker ball behaves the same as the pool ball, and yes, it's easier to mishit/over spin a snooker ball. Snooker players seldom use english.
3. All cue balls in all cue sports behave differently with off-center hits. My article on carabo english will show you how to make english strokes so pure, you will rarely if ever need to worry about english strokes affecting the cue ball.
4. Correctly applied english, however, complicates cue ball positioning, so pros don't use much english, a dash here, a quarter tip of english there. I often play entire racks of 8- or 9-ball without any english at all. Depending on game conditions, I might shoot english only every half hour or so in a match!
5. Collision-induced throw is different than the throw induced by english. Line up three balls in a combination, touching one another, for a long cross corner shot. Use all the skill and care you possess to ensure the balls are lined up dead for the corner. Take the cue ball and shoot at the end ball slowly. What happened? Throw was imparted to the third ball in the combination by the frictating balls. Unlike what many teachers and pundits share, throw is a real billiards phenomenon!
We love your pool, billiard and snooker questions (and even Bumper Pool questions!) here at About.com.