Bank shot technique for better shape has been including these two key points:
1. Use outside english to widen bank rebound angles and inside english for tightening angles (inside is super helpful for shots taken close to the side pockets)
2. Sight and plot banks using the edge of the ghost cue ball where it will strike the cushion, not its center, and sight the bottom of the cushions for truer calculations
Moving on, care for your cue ball care with a stroke so gentle impact is barely audible, while gliding smoothly through the cue ball rather than poking at it. (Top pros developed this touch playing carom often and you can imitate their practice.)
Some frequently heard advice from me shape and strategy includes:
- Consider the eight's position first before choosing hi- or low-balls for 8-Ball
- Play for 10- to 15-degree shape angles for upcoming billiards shots
- Use a near level stroke and you can practically forget about adjusting target aim when using english
- Only four types of balls can shape on any table: 1) easy-to-pocket balls 2) balls made easy when others are cleared first 3) trouble balls and 4) balls handy for clearing trouble balls
- Related article on four types of balls
- Learn by competing against not only tough opponents but those who will critique you
- Shoot mostly soft and medium strokes within a tip's width of center along the vertical axis and you'll continually improve week-to-week and year-to-year
- Shoot cross-corner banks often to add feel and creativity to your shape skills
This spring, I've challenged readers to be honest about their style of play. Do you shoot better jumping and dancing through your strokes or staying down to the table, committed to stillness from follow through until the balls come to rest? Commit to playing in your best style. Most play better as pool robots with the stroke arm their only moving part than as pool dancers.
I also recommend that the ideal stance resemble a weightlifter's or golfer's bent down to work but balanced and ready for action. Any final stroke tension should feel as though it is released through the cue and cue tip, not the hand, arm or etc.Related article on "free stroking" to create incredibly powerful, straight shots
And as always, I recommend a stance routine with stroke hand on line and not trunk or head while standing to the upcoming billiard shot. Don't crunch or force over the cue stick any body part as you bend to the shot. Hand on the line equals shot on the line. Chin over the cue stick has nothing to do with whether the ball finds the bottom of the pocket.
I've advised all of my students about good shape overall. The following will benefit you whether you rank as a billiards beginner or an expert. Be consistent in how you approach each shot. Create the same precise distance from cue tip to cue ball before bending to your stance for every billiards shot. Again with cue stick and shooting hand on line and that's all.
I also encouraged readers to modify the concept of a "pure pendulum stroke" to something a little different than a grandfather clock's arm. Pool requires a faster forward stroke, freely moving without slavish imitation to your practice strokes, so relaxed you'd drop the stick to the table if your grip was any lighter.Related article about the pendulum pool myth
I debated over what final tip to give you for this article. Most will benefit from the following advice so much, they will go up two or three rankings in local league play. Take me seriously!
Commit to cue ball shape from an erect position before bending to your stance. You've heard that often but add that any fidgeting, wiggling or hitching moving the cue tip wrecks your game. If you plan, say, a medium speed stroke with one tip of bottom right english from a standing position, bend down, set the tip where you promised and stroke as you promised.
I can turn anyone into a strong player by getting their commitment to stroke speed and aim without post-stance fidgeting. They can be their own best teacher since after a miss they confirm their aim was wrong and not their stance or stroke. Good luck and keep those good billiards shot, shape and strategy questions headed my way by e-mail!