A Few Cue Tips
Take special pains over the first two or three strokes in each
innings. This both helps position and plays you into your game.
Don’t be afraid of those wide slow cushion cannons up the table.
Strike gently and aim full on the object ball with plenty of
running side. Contact will then be half-ball and the side will do
In placing in-offs from baulk keep your ball in your hand until
you have decided the after position. If this can be obtained with
half-ball place accordingly. If quarter or three-quarter, place
for chipping or driving stroke. A long sequence of in-offs can be
made with these three contacts.
Remember that aim for quarter-ball is half-an-inch outside edge
and for three-quarter-ball half-an-inch inside edge and that
either stroke finds the pocket with balls in the same position.
It is merely a question of where you want to leave the object
The two eternal mental questions in position play (with other
than half-ball contacts) are: “Thick or thin”? – “Free or slow”?
If, in playing down the table, even a slow shot would separate
the balls too much play freely on the object ball and bring it
back from the bottom cushion.
Beware of playing slow and uncertain cannons from a distance off
the white. If you miss, a sure cannon is almost certainly left
for your opponent.
When opposed to a stronger player it is always wise to adopt
safety tactics when you cannot clearly see another stroke ahead.
But if this essential is provided for, go out for the stroke and
you will at least know that you have played the game.
Improvement lies this way.
One of the best cue tips in billiards is to make as many aims
dead at the edge of the object ball as position requirement will
allow. This is something fixed and definite, and is a veritable
sheet anchor. Take that slow cushion cannon up the table when the
two balls are a foot from the side cushion and a couple of feet
apart. Slow check side aimed at edge means three-quarter contact
and a pretty half run-through.
Why be afraid of drag strokes? You know that you are always
losing the ball in baulk after a long range loser in which the
object ball strikes only the top cushion. By hitting low and
holding the cue loosely you can still play freely and leave
another certain in-off if you have spotted correctly.
In playing in-offs give first thought to run of object ball. Ask
yourself whether it has to strike, one, two, or three cushions or
none at all, and apply necessary strength and contact. In potting
reverse the process and take care to leave cue ball well placed.
When playing at the top of the table get back to baulk the moment
the next position seems doubtful. This is a golden rule. The way
back to baulk is usually by way of a thin in-off leaving drop
cannon or middle pocket.
The broad principle for top of the table play is retention of the
white ball above (or near to) spot with the cue ball almost
always below spot. If ever left above it is with the intention of
getting below next stroke either with gentle cannon or pot.
Rail cannons are made by keeping the two object balls in front of
the cue ball and the questions that arise (apart from plain half-ball touches) are mainly: “Running or check side”? Quarter or
three-quarter contact”? It is really the ordinary cannon game
Don’t forget the chalk.