English Amateur Billiards Association

EABA : The Billiard Monthly : November, 1910

The Billiard Monthly : November, 1910

The Three Principal Cue Aims and Ball Contacts

(Special to The Billiard Monthly)

Speaking roughly, billiard balls may be taken as measuring two
inches in diameter, which means that the centre is one inch from
the circumference and that the part midway between the centre and
the circumference is at a distance of half-an-inch from each.

From Three-quarter to Quarter Ball

From a half-ball stroke, as everyone who handles a cue knows, aim
has to be taken at the edge of the object ball; for a plain
three-quarter-ball stroke, aim has to be taken exactly midway
between the edge and the centre of the object ball, and for a
quarter-ball stroke aim has to be taken the same distance away
from the edge-or half-an-inch in either case. These three
principal aims-at the edge, half-an-inch inside the edge, and
half-an-inch wide of the edge, account for, probably, 75 per
cent. of the strokes that have to be made in billiards. Another
valuable thing to know and remember is that the same pocket or
cannon stroke, so far as the run of the cue ball is concerned, is
made whether three-quarter or quarter-ball aim be taken.

Effect of Contact on Pace

In the half-ball stroke, in which aim is taken at the edge of the
object ball, the red ball is struck half-an-inch from its edge;
in the three-quarter ball stroke it is struck three-quarters of
an inch from its edge; and in the quarter-ball stroke it is
struck a quarter-of-an-inch from its edge. In the half-ball
stroke, the two balls travel at the same pace after contact, but
in the three-quarter ball stroke the red takes on more pace than
the white and in the quarter ball stroke less. Thus in the fuller
than half-ball strokes the cue ball loses pace, which the object
ball gains, and in finer than half-ball strokes the cue ball
takes on extra pace whilst the object ball lags.

The Sliding Cue Ball

The result of ordinary, and especially of heavy, cueing at short
range is what is called a “stun” shot-an excellent stroke in its
proper place but a disastrous one when not intended. For some
little distance after being centrally struck, the cue ball slides
along the cloth without revolving; and this sliding action is
increased by grasping or pinching the cue. If the cue ball comes
into contact with the object ball before rotation has fully set
in it takes a wider angle than usual, and this can only be
obviated by high and light cueing At longer range, the high-
cueing is not essential, as natural rotation sets in, but the
lightly-held cue will be found to work magic in almost every
stroke that is made in billiards.

Forecasting the Run of the Object Ball

The run of the object ball should always be mentally forecasted
before the immediate pocket or cannon is made, otherwise the
position for the next stroke becomes a matter of chance, as does
also the avoidance of a kissing of the balls, or of the
unintended loss of the object ball in a pocket, in baulk, or
under a cushion. Exactly what is meant here will be quickly
appreciated if the object ball be placed 24 inches above the
baulk central spot, with the cue ball on one of the baulk corner
spots. This is a plain half-ball stroke into either of the middle
pockets and if placed exactly half-ball and with correct strength
will bring the object ball back into the same position from off
the top cushion. This particular shot is now becoming known as
the “Gray” shot, although it is one that has long been familiar
to, and practised by, all position players.

Avoiding Losing the Ball and Unintended Kisses

All that a player desiring favourable after position for the
object ball after any half-ball stroke has to remember is that
the half-ball contact is always midway between the
edge and centre and that the ball will travel along an imaginary
line drawn through it from that exact point. Similarly, in three-quarter ball strokes the line of travel would be from a contact
point three-quarters of an inch from the edge of the object ball
and in quarter ball strokes from a contact point one quarter of
an inch from the edge of such ball. If the rapid observation thus
taken reveals the fact that the intended half-ball, three-quarter
ball, or quarter-ball stroke would drive the object ball in an
undesirable or risky direction a different class of stroke must
be made, even though the chance of bringing off the immediate
shot be thereby jeopardized.

The Half Ball Pot Stroke

We have already seen that, in making a half-ball in-off stroke,
aim is taken at the edge of the object ball, and that the point
of contact is midway between the edge and centre of the object
ball. Consequently whenever an imaginary line drawn from this
midway point of contact would reach the most open part of a
pocket the pot is a half-ball one. The same thing applies to
three-quarter and quarter ball pots. When the imaginary line from
the pocket comes out three-quarters of an inch from the edge (or
a quarter of an inch from the centre) aim must be taken midway
between centre and edge and when the line comes out a quarter of
an inch from the edge aim must be taken half-an-inch finer than
the edge.

The In-off Aims and Contacts

To sum up what has been said as to the principal aims and
contacts for in-off strokes and as to the run of the object ball
in each case, we find that For a half-ball in-off stroke, aim is
taken at the edge of the object ball and contact takes place half
an inch inside the edge. In a half-ball in-off stroke, the object
ball, being struck half an inch inside its edge, travels along
an imaginary line drawn through its diameter from that point.

For a three-quarter ball in-off stroke, aim is taken
half an inch inside the edge of the object ball and contact
takes place three-quarters of an inch inside the edge (or
a quarter of an inch from the centre).

In a three-quarter ball in-off stroke, the object ball,
being struck three-quarters of an inch inside its edge (or
a quarter of an inch from the centre), travels along an
imaginary line drawn through its diameter from that point.

For a quarter ball in-off stroke, aim is taken half an inch
outside the edge of the object ball and contact takes place a
quarter of an inch inside the edge.

In a quarter ball in-off stroke, the object ball, being
struck a quarter of an inch from its edge, travels along an
imaginary line drawn through its diameter at that point.

The Pot Stroke Aims and Contacts

To sum up what has been said as to principal aims and contacts
for “pot” strokes and the throw off of the cue ball in each case,
we find that A half-ball pot stroke is on when an imaginary line
from the most open part of the pocket comes out at a point half
an inch from the edge of the object ball.

The cue ball in such a stroke is aimed at the edge of the object
ball and takes the usual half-ball direction.

A three-quarter ball pot stroke is on when an imaginary line from
the most open part of the pocket comes out at a point three-
quarters of an inch from the edge (or a quarter of an inch from
the centre) of the object ball.

The cue ball in such a stroke is aimed half an inch inside the
edge of the object ball and takes the usual three-quarter ball
direction.

A quarter-ball pot is on when an imaginary line from the most
open part of the pocket comes out at a point a quarter of an inch
from the edge of the object ball.

The cue ball in such a stroke is aimed at a point half an inch
outside the edge of the object ball and takes the usual quarter-
ball direction.


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