All About Jump Shots
Think carefully about your answer. Which technique best gets the ball airborne? How do you make the cue ball fly higher?
...Should you clasp the cue stick softly to make for an easier jump shot? True or false?
Well, I cannot blame you. You'd assume the answer was true if you've read much of my instruction at this About.com Pool and Billiards GuideSite. After all, I emphasize my love for a super light clasp on the stick as this is a key element in the real pro pool grip.
But a jump shot is best executed with a much firmer grip than normal. This downward stroke will have resistance and the cue ball will be pinched between the cloth and your cue's tip before launching skyward.
A trick I demonstrate in pool clinics for jumping made simple:
1) Aim the direction of the jump shot than assume the one in three stance as if there will be no jumping of the cue ball
2) Ensure that on a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being the lightest possible clasp on the cue, your grip on the stick is a 1--or even less than 1
3) Raise the cue stick so that it will be elevated perhaps 30 degrees or a bit more--you've probably heard "45 degree elevation for a jump shot" but visualize that angle as half of straight up and down vertically to the floor--45 degrees is extremely elevated for most players, and uncomfortable to shoot
4) As you raise the butt end of the stick with your shooting hand, your bridge will pivot in space with your fingertips still resting on the cloth-which is why the open bridge and not the closed bridge is a best practice for the jump stroke
5) Ensure you maintain a "1 or less" grip throughout raising the stick--review point #2 above if you need--to ensure a correct stick angle, since the cue will simply droop downward from your shooting hand and onto your raised bridge
6) NOW that the stick and your body are in perfect alignment to deliver an awesome jumps stroke, tighten your grip from a 1 to about a 6 in strength
7) Let this tighter grip and stroke "flow" (that is, jab) through the jump shot--now shoot and score!
In other words, don't skip steps and you'll do fine. Aim as normal, get into your stance, raise the cue with a feather-light grip, and then tighten and punch that cue ball into the cloth. It will rise into the air.
More Tips For Great Jump Shots
Jump Shot Tip: Do not use a "pendulum stroke" to jump the cue ball. I've warned about the dangers of trying to make a pure pendulum on regular strokes and what to do instead.
When you see a billiardist shooting the lights out with gorgeous pendulum strokes-oh, I know a couple of these fellows locally myself, we all do-I tell you it's a mere matter of time before their timing goes awry and they play very poor pool. These are the fellows and gals who run an incredible rack or two of pool before it all goes away and for a long while...
...The pendulum stroke can be particularly deadly to the jump shot. Any mishit up or down on the cue ball could spell trouble for your shot. Think instead of simply moving your hand or fingers straight back and straight forward again for the jump.
Jump Shot Tip: Know how and where to draw or follow the cue ball on a jump shot. Split the cue ball in half, then move up or down for vertical spin. It's a myth that all you're trying to achieve with a jump shot is to kick for the object ball. You can be as deadly with aim and spin as you can on a regular stroke.
From the top of the jump stance as outlined in steps #1-7 above, gaze down at the cue ball and split it in half on a new equator line (with the cue ball tilted toward you). Shoot above this line for follow spin or beneath for draw spin with the jump shot.
Take a striped ball and turn the stripe so that the number of the ball is facing your cue tip while the cue stick is elevated for the jump. Top of the stripe for jump/follow, toward its bottom for draw/follow. Get it?
Jump Shot Tip: Use a hard cue tip. You want the cue ball to rebound from the cue tip on a jump stroke and vice versa to clear the stick from the moving ball as it rebounds from the table slate and cloth in return. A super hard tip with little to no chalk coating its surface is perfect for accurate jump shot work.
Jump Shot Tip: Use a lightweight cue stick. A light cue, as with a lightweight break cue, is easier to accelerate quickly. More speed equals ramming right through that white ball with power. Mass accelerated quickly yields incredible efficiency of power through the stroke.
The trend decades ago was for heaving break cues but now most strong players go light. Same with jump cues.
Jump Shot Tip: Remember by definition, the cue ball need only achieve a certain height for a jump stroke. You can jump just a little and still score big in billiards.
Jump Shot Tip: Don't confuse a jump shot with what I call "the pool jumpies." Although some players actually play better using jumpy strokes.