View Full Version : How to improve your cueball control

12-13-2004, 04:59 PM

How to improve your cueball control

by One
v1.0 November 17 2004
v1.01 Revision: December 6 2004

Almost everyone of the pros play the wrong way. This guide will show you how to play the correct way so you will improve your cueball control. The only requirement is that you need knowledge of physics and that you play by using logic instead of only experience. Your accuracy also needs to be good enough.

Many use top spin to make pocketing balls easier, because the more vertical axis spin you use, the less the horizontal spin throws the object ball sideways which often makes you miss the shot. The cue will also be more level when using top spin. However, this is not a problem in pool because the pockets are so large. In snooker you don't need good position play to run 147's, so in snooker it is still best to use mostly vertical axis spin.

Here is something that apparently nobody knows: If you use horizontal axis spin instead of vertical axis spin, you will improve your cueball control a great amount.

Nobody has been crazy enough to test it for a long period of time, but I have. While defragmenting my spin aim knowledge for 1-2 years I could eventually use any spin on the cueball with any angle and speed, there was no shot I couldn't do! Most of the ways I shot the shots were totally unnecessary for pool, but I still practiced them.

Why is top spin so bad?

If you predict the rotation of the cueball (which is very important in a high skill level) then the faster the cueball rotates the more difficult it is to see how many turns the cueball rotates around its own axis. If is much easier to shoot harder and use less spin instead.

What is the easiest way to control speed?

By far the easiest way to control the speed of the cueball is a skid shot, you decide a spot on the cloth where the cueball should stop skidding and start rolling naturally. This technique is the same for massť shots, which all shots with sidespin actually are.

The more difficult way to control speed is with top spin, because there is no spot on the cloth that you can choose where the cueball will change its speed at. With top spin it will stop skidding only a few mm after you have hit the cueball, this is very difficult to see/predict because you need to switch your focus to the cueball fast after you hit the cueball, even if you keep focusing on the cueball before the shot you can never start moving the eyes exactly the same speed as the cueball.

When you make a skid shot the cueball will slow down from the bottom spin on the cueball until it doesn't rotate on its vertical axis anymore, it just skids, and when it transfers to rolling naturally it will look like the cueball speeds up a little, however, this is an illusion but you can use it to your advantage. This is the sign that you should look for when making the skid shot. This slight sudden imaginary speed increase happens on all skids shots but in many cases they are too subtle for you to notice them. But if you use a pool simulation you can replay the shot and look at the shot sideways to see it, if you still don't see it, you can replay it in slow motion. If you don't use a pool simulation there must be something wrong with you, it is the best tool for speed and cueball control there is.

Advanced speed skid technique

You need to have some distance between the cueball and object ball in order to make the skid shot, and the shot has to be softer than a stun shot. But what if the cueball is close to the object ball and you need to shoot harder than stun? You can still use the skid technique even after contact with the object ball. If you do a draw shot (with angle) you decide the spot on the cloth where the draw will take effect (start accelerating) after contact with the object ball. With top spin you do the same. There is a different acceleration speed with every combination of speed and spin. You can even do this with straight in shots but the spot where the cueball will start accelerating is roughly the same.

Controlling the cueball with the rails using sidespin

As you know from the Stun Sidespin Technique it is much easier to control the cueball if you get straight angles from the rails instead of curved. That's why vertical axis spin is so bad in the first rail contact. But the easiest and most consistent way to contact the rails is a natural roll shot, this shot is the easiest for kick shots too.

The easiest way to predict the path the cueball takes after contact with the object ball is dead centre contact on the cueball. This is the first thing you should learn, next add sidespin to change the angle from the rails. In most shots you only need 1 tip of sidespin or less, no top spin or draw, only sidespin. Always try to use as little vertical axis spin as possible! If you have a choice of using top spin or sidespin, always choose sidespin. The optimal way to use spin is using as little spin as possible, even if you need to shoot harder. You need to find the combination of spin and speed that makes position play the easiest to the desired spot on the table.

The difficulty of the shot depends on the rotation of the cueball, choose the spin that makes the cueball rotate as little as possible, so you often need to use little draw to keep the cueball skidding as much as possible. The cueball skidding with sidespin is far easier than a top spin shot without sidespin.

The problem of not using sidespin

I played by using mostly vertical axis spin and I started winning more games but my skill got worse and worse the more I played. Eventually I played worse with vertical axis spin than with sidespin! After I started playing with the "sidespin massť style" I got my skill back after a while. Another reason why you lose your skill is because with the vertical axis spin you don't need to control the massť on every shot which makes playing a lot easier and you don't need to concentrate as hard.

Always use as little spin as possible for perfect position!!!

I can't stress this enough, your skill will greatly diminish if you detract from this state of mind, it will just get worse and worse. It has happened so many times to me, and so much time has been wasted because I got bored and started using more spin even when I didn't need it for perfect position, then my accuracy and speed control got worse and worse, eventually I didn't know what spin to use on the cueball! If you will do this mistake, then it is better not to play at all.

A big mistake is to start by aiming with too much spin and then adjust for less spin. You should always start by predicting the path of the cueball with a centre ball hit on the cueball, then and only then should you add little spin. It is always better to use too little spin than too much, because that way you keep the same state of mind intact instead of deviating from it, always remember this! Be careful with the spin.

If you are playing bad and you can't hit the pocket accurately enough, never start playing using sidespin, first your accuracy needs to be good enough. First start by using little draw or top spin and SHOOT HARDER, this improves your accuracy, it is important not to use much spin on the vertical axis or it will get much worse. Do this until you reach the "clean feeling" of accuracy, now add little sidespin, you should still be as accurate as without but with improved cueball control.

Never start playing the easy way

You should always try for perfect position, this is very important. I started playing for winning and positioned the cueball further away from the object balls, in the beginning the position was good, but it just got worse and worse and I didn't even realize it until it was too late!

The way I position the cueball is 12-15 cm from the object ball, this is the position where I want the cueball to stop in, often the cueball gets closer to the object ball than I want, this is a feedback that is very important, because I know that my cueball control wasn't as good as I wanted it to be, then I adjust it as needed. When I played for winning I positioned the cueball 20-30 cm from the object ball instead, this time when I rolled 10 cm closer to the object ball I didn't notice it was bad, because it looked better and I ignored to adjust my cueball control, BIG MISTAKE. The second problem I got from playing to win was that I didn't take as many chances as I normally do, instead of going around the table I made a simple stop shot, this is the BIGGEST MISTAKE I ever did and I will never do it again! NEVER EVER accept a longer distance position on the object ball, always try for perfect position!! No wonder the pros still suck.

The third problem is when you use more and more top spin to keep the cue as level as possible so that you get less massť effect to predict. This will make the balls much easier to make but your cueball control will suffer because you can't decide a spot on the cloth where you want the cueball to skid and decelerate/accelerate at. It is more important to control the massť on the cueball, even more important than making the ball!

Constantly use a boosting technique to boost up your skill

The boosting technique is the most important there is. Everything you do requires boosting to get your skill to your highest level.

Problem: I can't play as fast as before with the same skill.
Solution: Play about 20-30% faster than your normal playing speed, do this for a few hours. Now go back to your normal playing speed and your skill will be better and faster.

Problem: My aiming accuracy got much worse.
Solution: Play snooker with vertical axis spin to boost up your aiming accuracy, now go back to pool again and your aiming is much better. Keep doing this so your accuracy doesn't have a chance to get much worse.

Problem: My cueball control got worse.
Solution: Don't play the easy way. Boost up your skill by choosing more difficult shots, like long distance cueball control position shots for perfect position where you need to concentrate more.

Problem: My accuracy is bad when using sidespin..
Solution: Start by not using any sidespin, play like this for 30 minutes or so, then add very little sidespin, if your accuracy gets worse, use less sidespin.


Rather use sidespin than topspin.

Focus on the slight acceleration after the skid shot.

Predict the path with a centre ball hit on the cueball, then add as much spin as needed.

Don't avoid the slight massť effect by using more top spin.

Never use more spin than is needed for perfect position.

Always play for perfect position, even on short distance shots.

Control the cueball as long distance as possible while playing for perfect position.

Constantly boost up your skill.