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Pool is a truly fantastic game of skill, patience, and accuracy. It takes a lot of practice to become a professional pool player that can sink one ball after another without a second thought. One thing you will need to master if you plan on being a good pool player are all the different types of shots.
Today we are here to look at the nine most common types of pool shots that you need to know regardless of the variant of the game you are looking to play.
#1: The Break Shot
The first type of shot you might use in a game of pool is the break shot. This is the initial shot where the first player to shoot breaks the racked balls. The aim of this shot is to force the balls apart in such a way that is favorable for the player making the break, and moreover, the aim is to get the balls far enough apart so that sinking individual balls is made possible.
When performing this shot, make sure that the cue ball rebounds fairly hard, as you will need the cue ball to be in an ideal position to make subsequent shots.
Remember that when making a break shot, it’s all about hitting the cue ball with plenty of power. This is a shot type that requires force, and it requires position too. You need to hit that first racked ball dead-on to ensure an even break.
Read this article to learn more about how to break effectively.
#2: The Straight Shot
The next and most basic type of shot that you can make in pool is the straight shot. This is all about lining up the cue, the cue ball, the target ball, and the pocket in one straight line. The object here is to hit the cue ball dead center so that it rolls in a perfectly straight line, hits the target ball dead center, and then causes the target ball to roll in a straight line towards the pocket.
Depending on how far the cue ball is from the target ball, and how far the target ball is from the pocket, you will want to adjust your force accordingly. A pro tip for making good straight shots is to stop your pool cue more or less as soon as it hits the cue ball. You don’t want to use too much follow-through for the straight shot. Everything here is about straight lines.
#3: The Jump Shot
Ok, so we figured we would move right into one of the pro shots, the jump shot. As you might be able to tell by the name of it, this shot involves causing the ball to go airborne or to jump. This is a useful shot if there is a ball in the way of your shot, a ball that the cue ball needs to jump over in order to hit your target ball. Yes, this does qualify as a trick shot, but it is one of the easier trick shots.
To make a jump shot, you need to hold the pool cue at a fairly harsh angle, so it faces the cue ball downwards at roughly 45 degrees. You do want to hit the ball forward slightly, but the real aim is to hit the ball just above the halfway point, just above the middle, using a downward motion.
This will cause the ball to jump up and forwards, hopefully right over that ball that is in your way.
#4: The Curve Shot
One of the pool shots that takes a bit more skill to do is the curve shot. As you might be able to tell, the aim of this shot is to get the ball to move on an arc instead of following a straight line. This can be useful if you need the ball to curve to hit the target ball, such as if there is another ball in your way, or there is just no straight shot into a pocket.
To hit a curve shot, you need to hit the ball with a forward and downward motion. You need to hit the ball very fast and hard, and you need to do so to one side or another, not right on the center. Remember, the aim of this shot is to put a whole lot of spin on the ball, which is done by hitting it hard and off-center.
Which side you hit the ball on depends on which direction you need it to spin in.
#5: The Slip Shot
Another good type of shot to learn in pool is the slip stroke or slip shot. This type of shot involves moving your gripping hand (the hand on the handle of the pool cue), backwards during the final stroke.
In other words, on your final pull-back, before you hit the cue ball, you momentarily let go of the cue, move your hand further back on the handle, then re-grasp it, and make the shot.
This type of shot is generally used for straight shots, but can also be combined with some ball spin for curved shots. The point of this type of shot is to provide you with much more follow-through with the cue and the ball, thus allowing you to guide the ball much better.
#6: The Angled Shot
The angled shot is a type of shot that is ideal when you have a straight and unblocked line of sight between the cue ball and the target ball, but the target ball does not create a straight line with the cue ball and your cue. In other words, the cue ball needs to hit the target ball at an angle, in order to cause the target ball to move at an angle towards the pocket.
For the angled shot, you need to do a bit of thinking, because the cue ball needs to hit the target ball in the exact location required to get it to move at the desired angle towards the pocket. So, if you need the target ball to move at an angle towards the left, the cue ball needs to hit it to the right of its center. This is a relatively easy shot, but it does take some practice to get the angles right.
#7: The Force Follow Shot
The force follow shot is another very interesting one to know. This type of shot involves hitting the cue ball with maximum force right above the center point. The aim of this shot is to put maximum forward spin on the cue ball.
The result of the forward spin on the cue ball is that it will continue its forward motion after making contact with the target ball, with the ultimate result being that it should follow the ball forward, potentially even hitting a second ball. Not only is this a good way to hit two balls with one shot, but it also allows you to set up the cue ball in an ideal position for the next shot.
#8: The Draw Shot
The draw shot is a lot like the force follow shot we talked about above, but instead of hitting the ball hard and above the center, you hit it just a little lighter and below the center. The aim of this shot is to put a backspin on the ball.
This way, when the cue ball hits the target ball, due to the backspin, the cue ball should immediately move back towards you. This is a good shot to know if you need to sink a ball that is very close to a pocket, and you don’t want to risk sinking the cue ball. It’s also a good way to get the ball to move back towards you, thus setting up your next shot.
#9: The Bank Shot
A bank shot is actually one of the easier and more common types of shots in pool. This shot generally involves no spin. It’s all about hitting the cue ball dead center, so that it hits the target ball, which is then supposed to hit a rail, bounce off the rail, and then into a pocket.
It’s a relatively easy shot to make as long as you are good at judging angles.
There you have it folks, nine of the most common and popular pool shots out there.
Yes, there are still many more to know, but if you can master these nine shots, you are well on your way to becoming a pro pool player