Great site - very helpful. I'm wondering if you could provide an article laying down the fundamentals of basic carom or billiard shots?
As a 9-Ball player I am often presented with opportunities to use a carom, but I am having trouble finding consistency as I am approaching these shots mainly on "feel". I'm eager to add this shot to my game if I can--any help you could provide would be greatly appreciated. Thanks again for providing such a great resource for us amateurs out there!
Sincerely, Matt C. in Ottawa, Ontario, CanadaThanks, Matt. I've enjoyed visiting your lovely city of Ottawa. Canada is beautiful everywhere between its borders but Ottawa is a gorgeous capital.
Here's good news--carom billiards, shots taken to cause two balls to collide together with intention, need not be random at all.
The problem can be divided mainly into targeting knowledge and sight aids for targeting. First, consider the baseline path for the cue ball, which will always be what is known as a "tangent" hit following a carom or collision/kiss, if the cue ball is skidding (sliding) and not rolling with topspin, draw spin or sidespin at impact.
In other words, the path for the cue ball will go 90 degrees to the aim line for the object ball it impacts when striking it with "stop" action from an oblique angle. Since we often aim the object ball to a pocket, the cue ball will exit impact at 90 degrees or a right angle to the path from the ball to the pocket, as in this carom billiards diagram.
Note the right angle formed by the 12-ball's route to the side pocket and the cue ball's tangent line following impact. That edge of a square is simply derived with your eyes before the shot is taken. See this carom billiards story to get the entire picture.
The tangent line/carom billiards angle also called "the natural angle" is one half of the two most vital position concepts in pool and billiards, which is why the attached article is called "The Two Most Important Position Tools".
Let's go a step further next. You need to intentionally carom into the 13-ball in the given carom billiards diagram following impact between the cue ball and the 12-ball. What to do?
Add The Simplest Possible Line Of Aim For Carom Billiards
The line formed by the cue ball's path and the 12-ball's aim path miss hitting the 13-ball on what side? Closer to you or away from you? The answer, of course, is you'd like to bring the cue ball's plotted path closer to you, the pool shooter. When choosing between draw spin and follow, which one is designed to push the cue ball further away and which one to bring the cue ball back to the shooter when taken on a shot straight ahead?
Of course, draw spin brings a cue ball backwards following impact, but it also brings the ball back to you somewhat when shot on an angled path, as with the 12-ball in the linked article (which is not a straight ahead shot).
Therefore, a bit of draw stroked for the 12-ball, still stroking at the same spot on the 12-ball to drive it to the side pocket as when you'd have otherwise stroked a stun shot (stop shot), will bring the cue ball back a bit from the illustrated carom billiards path to score on the 13-ball!
Now let's add targeting knowledge to our given sighting aids to calculate more accurately. We can learn with a few minutes' practice (admittedly for some, a few hours' practice) how to see the tangent line/path for any given shot before the ball is attempted for the pocket. So, how much draw spin will you need to come back and alter the cue ball path to strike the 13-ball?
Visualize the line the cue ball would take off the 12-ball with your maximum force draw stroke. Recall from your studies elsewhere at this pool and billiards GuideSite how you can achieve excellent draw spin but aiming low but softly on many shots for maximum ease and comfort--as well as stroke accuracy.
Let's say the difference in path between a max draw stroke on the 12-ball and a stun or stop action at an angle on the 12-ball (the carom billiards path now shown) has the 13-ball sitting on a line about a quarter of the distance between the two lines -- then hit the cue ball with one-quarter of your maximum draw stroke and you'll carom right into the 13-ball. Make sense?
Five minutes' practice with the three balls in the starting positions as illustrated and you'll know exactly based on your stroke and temperament how to carom a great many balls with draw. Of course, you can add to the moves I've shown you with a dash of english also, but stick with draw and topspin (and different balls speeds) only for now. Have fun--and start scoring those 9-Ball winners soon.
Thanks, Mr. Cybulski for your thoughtful carom billiards inquiry... And readers, keep those good questions coming along! And here's a few more tips for today...