Playing on the rails, jumping the cue ball or making a curve, which is the best one?


How to make the move? By rails, jump shot or massé shot

One of the big questions we have to ask ourselves when playing 9 or 10 ball.

What happens when we are trapped behind another ball and can’t see our next shot? How do we hit the next ball? Or, how do I hit the next ball and pocket it or leave my opponent in trouble?

In these situations, we have four basic options.

We can pocket the cue ball, which is almost never your best option, we can skip the object balls, curve around them or make a rail.

But how do we decide what to do?

Let’s look at some ideas that will help you.

If you are an apprentice player who is still working on these skills, you should spend a little more time practicing.

Start with the rails, then move on to the jumps, and then to the curves.

Here’s a great drill as you practice hitting rails, jumps and curves.

You need to hit the 1-ball, but the 9-ball is in the way.

Practice first hitting with a rail, then jumping the ball and finally making a curve.

See which shot is more comfortable for you, then try the 2-ball, and so on.

This drill is designed to help you learn to control the trajectory of the cue ball when jumping or making a curve.

Now, back to deciding what to do. Take a look at 1-ball in this diagram.

What works better in this situation, a jump, a kick shot or a curve?

Always choose the option with the least margin of error.

To pocket the 1-ball, you need to draw a specific line between the 1-ball and the pocket, as shown in the picture.

Notice how the 1-ball is close to the short rail and on the top side of the corner pocket.

With the object ball close to the rail and the pocket, I think a jump is a risky shot.

The best option is to use risers, or if that trajectory is blocked, you can use the curve to the left side and over the balls in the middle.

Ask yourself, “Where do you have the least margin for error?”

Generally speaking, the kick shot gives us the greatest chance to pocket or hit the 1-ball because we only have to control the direction.

For the curve, we have to control the speed of the cue ball and hit it in the right spot, which can be tricky and takes practice.

With the kick shot and the curve, we are also protected by the object ball to avoid pocketing the cue ball.

With a jump shot, we have to control the trajectory and direction of the cue ball, and with the object ball close to the rail, we always have the possibility of the cue ball jumping off the table after it hits the object ball.

So, in this case, your best options, in order, are to use kick shot, curve and then jump.

Let’s look at one more example.

What do you think: jumping, kick shot or curving?

The answer is not always easy, so be sure to slow down and evaluate your options.

Here the object ball is in the middle of the table.

I don’t like to use rails from here because of how difficult the angle is.

The jump shot is pretty far away, and there is only a small portion of the 3-ball in the trajectory to make a direct hit.

I like to curve the cue ball on the right side of the 3-ball because it seems the easiest thing to do in this situation.

I realize we all have different skill sets and might think one option is better than the other.

The key is to make the shot that has the highest probability of success and the lowest probability of something going wrong.

With the collaboration of PoolDawg.


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