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One of the most useful shots in all of pool is the curve shot, also known as the massé shot. Many players use it for situations where a ball is in the way of a ball they want to shoot.
If they can curve the cue ball around that ball in their way it’s possible to salvage an otherwise impossible shot. This technique is fairly advanced but it can be done with enough practice and this article will teach you exactly how to do it.
Can You Curve a Pool Ball with a Regular Cue?
Yes, there is a way you can curve a standard cue ball and, with great technique, you can get some very impressive curves with your shots.
There are some off-weight cue balls that are made to curve much easier but these balls are more for party tricks or practical jokes on your opponent. Obviously, these balls can’t be used in any professional setting.
Certainly, you’ve already seen a few videos of people making incredible curve shots and while some are certainly legitimate, others will have these weighted cue balls to make it easier on them and allow for some very eye-catching shots.
When Should You Curve a Pool Ball?
A curve ball is best used when your opponent’s ball is in front of a ball you are trying to make in and there are no easier shots available to you.
You can curve the cue ball around your opponent’s ball so you do not lose your turn anyway even if you make your ball. However, you should only use this kind of shot if you’re very comfortable with it or as a last-ditch effort without any better options.
Alternatively, you can also use a curve shot to impress your friends…
How to Curve a Pool Ball
With that out of the way, let’s get into the actual process of shooting a curve ball.
Step 1: Chalk Up Your Cue Tip
This step goes for pretty much all pool shots but is especially important for these kinds of shots. Chalking up your cue’s tip will prevent mishits and keep the ball from chipping your tip when attempting this shot.
Sometimes, if your chalk has been used a lot, it will have a deep groove. Always check once you have put the chalk on your cue tip to ensure it completely covered the stick’s tip. Once a chalk is near its end, it will only get the sides of the stick which will not help your shot at all.
Step 2: Elevate Your Stick
You will want to raise your pool cue up to about a 30-degree angle. A curve shot requires you to hit the cue ball going downwards so you will have to hold your pool stick at a higher angle than you normally would.
The elevation does not necessarily have to be at 30 degrees, you can try different angles around the same range and see how it affects your shot. The angle that is necessary will depend on the balls’ placements from one another as well as around your table.
However, you should not dip the angle too low because this will just result in a straight shot and you won’t be able to get the proper spin to curve the cue ball. If anything, experiment using higher angles.
Step 3: Steady Your Aim
You can give yourself better control over the shot by putting your cue’s tip between your pointer finger and thumb to create a “V” shape. Keep your fingers on the table to provide more stability for the shot as well.
Use a looser grip when you’re holding the stick so you can get some extra power and accuracy on your shot. All in all, just hold it the way you feel the most comfortable.
Step 4: Hit the Ball
You’ll want to hit the ball on whatever side you’re trying to curve towards (if you are trying to curve the cue ball to the right, hit the cue ball’s right side and vice versa for a curve to the left).
When hitting a curve shot, imagine a line running around the cue ball’s center. If you strike it above that line, your ball will usually go more straight rather than curved. Many professionals will call this imaginary line the ball’s “central axis”.
Be sure to strike the ball downward so your pool cue hits the bottom part of your cue ball. Holding your stick at an angle helps with doing this so you can get the proper spin on the ball to get the curve you want.
Mistakes to Avoid, Tips & Tricks
Be sure to hit the cue ball hard enough so you have the necessary force to complete the shot. If you hit it too soft the cue ball can do its curve but might not be able to hit your ball hard enough to make it in the pocket you’re aiming for.
On the other hand, do not strike your cue ball too hard or it could damage the felt on your table or cause the cue ball to pop up and mess up your shot.
It is necessary to put a bit of extra force into these shots as opposed to regular shots, so you should practice shooting for better results.
Also, try to avoid leveling out your cue stick while you are aiming your shot, this could result in a mishit or even a scratch. You should shoot at the cue ball in a straight line at the angle you had your stick at initially.
Hopefully, you now have all the knowledge you need to start practicing these high-level shots and make your billiards skills that much better.
Not everyone shoots these shots exactly the same, and it is important to find the technique that works best for you to find the most consistent success with curve shots.
Be sure to follow all the steps above as closely as you can and keep in mind the common mistakes to avoid and tips to bring your pool game to the next level and make some great shots that will impress your opponents.