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Cut Shot - The "Home Again," The Most Important Billiards Shot
Cut Shot

The cut shot called "Home Again" is the most important in pool and billiards to master

Photo (c) Matt Sherman, licensed to About.com, Inc.
The "Home Again" cut shot is the single most important technique in billiards to teach the correct stroke.

Here's prime technique I call "Come Home Again Practice" to teach you pro speed for nearly any given cut shot. Place a ball where you like in Box A and the cue ball somewhere you like in Box B. Cut the shot into the corner of your choice, bringing the cue ball off several cushions to rest near where you began, close to Rail C. Attempting five of these shots thoughtfully will improve skills more than two hours playing 8-Ball or 9-Ball.

Trust your speed choice--if you miss the corner using a consistent stroke you can always adjust your aim. But if you stroke hard and fast like the bangers, you'll miss left or right in random fashion. Stroke slowly enough to see the play as it develops, using medium speed. See how your cue ball rolls beautifully around the table after a gentle stroke?

The suckers add topspin and english to a simple cut shot and shape play like this one. It looks easy when I do it because it is easy. If your first thought on these shots is not "medium speed, center ball" you need pool lessons from someone like me or another qualified pro teacher.

Once again, think through this cut shot carefully as it could save your game. If you focus too intensely on stroking toward the contact point of the distant object ball while using a medium speed center ball stroke, you'll never get the cue ball to come around the table and back to you again.

On the contrary, if you take a big stroke to get around the table with power and leverage, you'll likely miss pocketing the object ball.

This stroke taken correctly will teach you much. Your key thought is to take the same medium stroke you'd use on the six-inch shot (see beginning of this article) and when your stroke is finished, you watch the object ball sink and the cue ball circle around to come home to you again for the next cut shot. I'll shoot at three or four balls in this way to warm up for a session of pool or for a refresher during practice.

The pro uses the same stroke on many different shots and then allows the natural roll of the balls to provide the desired results. Read that last sentence again ten times if you need. Bangers try to do all kinds of fancy things with their stroke-some of them physically impossible. I'll put the same exact stroke (or nearly so) to a whole rack of balls and run the table instead.

Next page: A Cut Shot You Think Is Hard That I'll Show Is Incredibly Simple

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