Besides my corny instructions for never missed bank shots, I'd like you to consider a question asked by an eager student recently:***
I enjoy your instructions which I have been reading lately. Pool is my favorite game but I was a late learner compared to most real good players I know here in Sarnia, Ontario [on the shores of lovely Lake Ontario--editor].
I do pretty well and have to really think about how I do what I do naturally now, compared to your instruction sometimes. I can do what others cannot with ease with some shots, connecting balls with spin, natural combinations, complicated unnatural banks, etc. BUT I am not used to the terminology at times... working on it though.
Hopefully I can learn much more from you... please help me understand why you use such a hard bank shot for your examples on "spin banks" and "tight banks" [see this spin bank shots page--editor] for I am not sure I am reading you right. Shooting from close to the corner to a same side, the shot is played hard... am I reading you right?
A. Not so much from the corner as from the side... the pros shoot harder close to a side pocket to sharpen the angle of approach--Matt
I think I am using what you call a tight bank when I make a bank shot to a pocket that would not go with the angle I have (for a natural bank) by using bottom right or left english... bottom left cuts object ball to tighten angle if shooting to bank to the right of me... bottom right to widen angle when shooting same shot. Am I correct in assuming we are talking the same shot?
A. Very good. English taken inside the cut angle of the ball before it banks tightens the rebound and outside english (opposite the direction the object ball is cut) widens the angle for bank shots. Exactly!
Now I am not used to doing a "spin shot" on a bank that often without english but can you not tighten the angle by using reverse spin compared to the spin you would use to widen the bank shot? [Correct again--editor]
In my mind... if a left spin on the object ball will make it cut further to the outside of the angle on a bank shot, the opposite spin on the object ball should make the object ball travel in a reduced angle after hitting the rail.
I realize that I must make the cue ball spin opposite to the spin I want to put on the object ball. Perhaps what I do to make the banks I make are more difficult than I even imagine? I have made people upset by making this shot and winning the game because of it!
A. Yes, right on again. You can influence bank shots. The way to get exceptional feel is to play spin bank shots for practice. Making only a couple increase feel. Try these spin bank shots for an example.
I have always used some kind of English on these shots too. I learned by using English so much that I have to be careful when learning a new shot. I am getting better since I shoot VNEA and have really concentrated on my stroke etc. in the last couple years. I want to beat the best in town here and I am close. I win against the very-very good players sometimes but need more work and or instruction.
I hope I have made my question understandable... I am really trying hard to understand the "pool talk" but I have never read about shooting pool until lately [glad you found this About.com GuideSite!--editor]. I learned by shooting and shot wrong for years with english and curve shots all the time (except for short distances... I also had my whole body involved with these shots so much it was dangerous to be beside me when I shot)!
I used english so much that I can easily curve a ball around others and had to aim at different than normal locations on the object ball to make my shots when shooting long distances--haha! I shoot straight now unless I want to curve the ball and I naturally adjust my shot when I use english to make contact where I want, instead of where the ball would go with the certain english on the ball--for I know it will slice left or right an extra distance. Boy, this is hard, writing to explain natural pool shooting!
Can you please tell me also why in this three page bank shots tutorial it looks like the reduced angle is more like a widened angle? I believe your wording is right but the picture seems to show a widened angle of travel of the object ball instead of the regular travel of a normal bank shot, compared to an inside bottom english shot.
A. No, the red angle shows the tighter, more desirable bank shot with the correct speed and english applied (and bottom spin would help also). The pro wants to aim the bank shot so it comes in at a tight angle--almost straight is far easier to judge. One must hit closer to the pocket, then, on the cushion!--Matt
Thanks for any help or advice! --Chris P
PS. Maybe I learned more from watching my Grandpa and Dad playing billiards on a no pocket billiard table than I realize?
Anytime! I love answering reader's questions!--Matt
Next Steps: Read Marcel's Step-By-Step Bank Aim Method