English Amateur Billiards Association

EABA : The Billiard Monthly : December, 1910

The Billiard Monthly : December, 1910

New Baulk Line Practice

A point with regard to billiards that cannot be too soon
grasped by the earnest student is that there are not really
very many strokes in the game. Strokes often look very
different when they are alike, and they are played differently
simply because they are not recognised. The whole art of
billiards consists in, first and foremost, the proper swing of
the cue; secondly, proper ball contact; and, thirdly, proper
cue contact and strength. To be sure these three things
involve a great deal, but it will be found on consideration
that the entire science and art of billiards are covered by

Assuming that the cue swing is all right—which means
(1) that it is always drawn back instead of being poked;
(2) that in the actual stroke it goes as far past the ball as
it has been taken back; and (3) that it is held lightly, and
(except when necessarily raised for screw or masse
purposes or in hampered positions) works dead
straight both vertically and horizontally—we come to
the questions of ball and cue contacts and requisite
strength. And here we shall find that a little practice with
the three spots of the D as a base, and with the baulk line
and baulk pockets as objectives, will serve to enlighten us
considerably as to the sort of contacts and strengths that
are required for certain strokes in various parts of the table.

(1) Let the red ball be placed on the middle spot of baulk
and the white ball on one of the end spots. This is a plain
half-ball stroke into the farther baulk pocket, and should
be played with just sufficient strength to leave the red
nicely placed for a half-ball stroke into the middle pocket on
the same side of the table.

(2) Shift the white ball half a diameter, or one inch, up
the table and play three-quarter ball through it with the
same strength as before, and this will find the same pocket
and bring the red again into middle pocket half-ball position,
but on the same side of the table as the player. It
will be observed that the ball has travelled farther this
time, on account of the fuller contact.

(3) Place the balls again in the same position as in paragraph
2 and play quarter-ball into the same pocket, but this
time a little more freely, on account of the thinner contact,
and the same position as in paragraph 1 will be left. (It will
be noted that the last two shots are, respectively, driving
and cutting shots, which have varied the direction of the
object ball and necessitated variation in strength, whilst
the same pocket has been entered from the same position
in each case—a valuable object lesson.)

(4) Place the red ball again on the centre spot and the
white ball close to an end spot, but this time half a diameter
below the spot, instead of above it. The plain half-ball
shot here would land the ball on the upper shoulder of the
pocket, but if a little running side be employed, the cue ball
will fall nicely into the net and the red ball will come to
the same position as in paragraph 1.

(5) Place the red ball at one end of the D instead of in
the centre and replace it on the centre spot with the white
ball. This is a gentle quarter-ball screw, and should leave
the red in the middle of the table, two feet out of baulk, in
position for the “Gray” shot—or an equal half-ball into
either middle pocket.

(6) With the same placing, play a gentle three-quarter
stun shot into the same pocket, bringing the red to the
half-ball position for the middle pocket on the same side
as the player. (To make the stun shot pinch the cue a
little and strike the cue ball slightly below the centre.)

(7) Bring back the white ball to the end spot, still leaving
the red ball on the other end spot, and play an easy
half-ball screw into the pocket, bringing the red ball once
more into middle pocket half-ball position, on the same
side of the table as the player. (When the balls are more
than a foot apart, the old rule that a half-ball screw is
exactly a right angle ceases to apply, and the same
strength is required at two feet distance, with a half-ball
contact, to make the cue ball diverge half a right angle.

This consideration leads naturally to the remaining paragraph.

(8) Place the red ball on the centre spot of the D and
the cue ball on the semi-circle behind it, also in the central
line of the table. Screw half-ball at any pace, and the cue
ball will run at right angles along the baulk line. Screw
three-quarter ball, and the cue ball will enter the baulk
corner pocket. Screw full, and the cue ball will return to
the cue. The intermediate shots bringing the cue ball midway
on to the side and bottom cushion are, of course, five-eighths
and seven-eighths. (In all these strokes the direction
of the red ball should be carefully watched, and the
eye will soon become trained to its movements. The point
where contact should be made in screw strokes is at the
point of an equal angle between the cue ball and the second
objective. Side should not be used in screwing into open
pockets or in cannoning unless nap deflection or cushion
assistance is to be derived from side. In screwing into
blind pockets side is, of course, employed.

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