How to Play the Object Ball in Pocket Shot

A ball hanging or close to a pocket is a common shot in pool. Making the ball is never in question, so the only real challenge is how to move the cue ball for position on the next shot. Though seemingly simple, many play the shot incorrectly. This blog post covers a couple basic shot positions and explains how to move the cue ball to different parts of the table.

Improperly choosing how to move the cue ball does not necessarily mean that the result is always incorrect. A shot played incorrectly can still succeed. It means a more efficient way to move the cue ball exists. It really comes down to percentages, if one technique is a 60% success rate and the other is 90%, then the 90% technique is better and results in more wins.

The main mistake players make is hitting draw shots in this situation. Usually you can hit a shot that takes a small part of the object ball and brings the cue ball down table to the position you desire. English can be used to modify the angle the cue ball comes off the rail. There are situations where draw is necessary to play certain shots, or partial draw to change angles when taking more of the object ball. But in general, taking less object ball is best (in other words cutting it thinner). Note that you can get away with using draw more in VP4 Online than real life as the straight god like stroke makes draw more reliable. But it still isn’t usually the best approach. There are situations where the object ball is really deep in the pocket and the cue ball would hit the pocket tit on a thin cut so draw is necessary.

Below is a typical situation illustrating a shot to make the one ball and then get position on the 2 ball.

This shot was hit with center ball. The angle the cue ball comes down table can be adjusted by how much of the one ball is hit. More takes it further out, less more straight down the table.

Here is the same shot coming to the other side of the 2 ball:

In this play the cue ball is being hit with some right English to change the angle because the cut angle is getting so thin that it becomes difficult to hit it precisely. It can be hit with center ball, but this tweak to the play makes the shot more consistent.

Below is a different cue ball position where the thin cut with no English comes to the same side of the 2 ball.

The angle to the pocket determines what the natural path is and if English is needed. In the above situation, going to the other side, above the 2 ball, would require a little left English. This shot could be hit center ball to bring the cue above the 2 ball. But the cut angle is starting to get too thick and using some English becomes a more consistent choice. Trying to take too much of the object ball can cause the cue ball to die and not come all the way down table.

Here is another potential play that may be better if there are other obstructing object balls:

This shot is being hit with center left.

You can practice this on your own in VP4 or real life. Put the cue ball in different positions and work on coming down table or to other positions. 

Vary the cue ball position and try shots with and without English to learn what works, what doesn’t, and what techniques result in the best consistency.

Get this shot down and start winning more games!




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2 Responses to How to Play the Object Ball in Pocket Shot

    PhysicsGuyBrian October 24, 2015 at 02:47 pm

    Excellent instruction!

    Marko Basic March 4, 2017 at 04:25 am

    How I move/spot balls on table? I press insert and then I can only move them off the table.

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