Cue-Ball Basics
Lesson 1 (center)
Lesson 2 (draw)
Lesson 3 (follow)

 Lesson 1: Center-ball
Finding Center Ball
All beginners start off with learning how to stroke the cue-ball at center. Also, most veteran players need to be reminded just how important having a solid center-ball hit is. Many times I see my students adding english or side spin to the cue-ball to give them the same position that they could have easily done with just a solid center-ball hit. With adjustments in speed, the effects from a basic hit can vary widely. Take the time to not only go through our drills here but also make sure that you understand why the balls react the way they do. Physics forces the balls to do certain things, and there is no way to change that.
Advanced players tend to hit almost every shot just a little bit off center, but that doesn't mean that a center-ball hit isn't needed at that level of play. I asked a professional player once why he tended to always hit the cue-ball a little off center on every shot even when center-ball was unmistakably the better option. He told me that the confidence he has in his play increases when using english and side, and he feels more dominant at the table when he can show his opponent how confident he is with his shot during the match. He then told me that on key shots he always prefers to use a center-ball hit and especially on the game ball. The reason he gave me was that it is easier for him to keep a solid bridge when hitting the cue-ball center. When he gets nervous his high/low english bridges tend to shake. Understanding the path that the cue-ball will take after contacting an object ball is the key to obtaining some great positioning skills. Knowing that you can make a lot of shots with great positioning by using a clean center-ball shot will make you more consistent.
Understanding how the cue-ball reacts off of the object ball when the cue-ball is hit at center is your first step to getting those skills.
There are a few important things to know / remember when stroking the cue ball at center...
The chances of miss cueing are greatly decreased. This is because more of your tip will be making contact with the cue-ball and there is less of a chance of your tip sliding off.
The speed at which you hit the cue-ball and the distance between the cue-ball and the object ball will have an effect on the object ball and the path that the cue-ball will take after contact.
Not hitting the object ball dead on with the cue-ball will effect the paths of both balls as well. Hitting an object ball a little off center will put some spin on the cue-ball. Also, it will give the object ball a little throw, which is generated from the friction caused by the cue-ball. This is an important concept to take into consideration when attempting to make extreme cut shots.
Note: It is important to remember that when you are practicing, stroking the cue-ball at different speeds can have completely different effects. This is true even when stroking at center-ball. The cue ball will pick up some follow and actually start spinning foward after contact with the object ball.


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