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BOOK 4 - HOT SHOTS PLUS Bank Shot Systems & Making Tracks

BOOK 4 - HOT SHOTS PLUS Bank Shot Systems & Making Tracks

  • MAKE bank shots your favorite shot.
  • LEARN "banking systems" for one-rail and multiple-rail shots.
  • LEARN to align bank shots using diamond/fraction aiming techniques.
  • LEARN what "invisible tracks" are and how to use them.


There are many systems and approaches to the bank shot. Because banking is basically an estimate of at what point the angle of reflection (rebound) is on the banking rail, a variety of alignment patterns have been devised.

Some of the most popular, widely used and sometimes accurate systems are the “X system” or (Crisscross system), which is exactly accurate when the object ball is a long distance from the rail but completely inaccurate for banking object balls that are close to the rail.

The “Rail Track System” is a simpler procedure and perfect, especially when the object ball is near the banking rail and can be fairly accurate at other distances.

We will cover these two systems briefly should you ever wish to double check your aim when using the “split the parallel” technique. Either of these procedures will assure you of the accuracy and simplicity of a “split parallel” bank shot.

After testing these procedures a few times, you will be convinced “split parallel” is the quickest, most exact method of bank shot alignment and you can approach every bank shot free from any doubt.

At the end of this section on bank shots we will tie it all together with the Diamond Fraction technique so that once you have located the banking rail aim point, you can stroke the object ball into that point from any location on the table.

Other widely used bank shot systems are the “Equal Angle” system, “Image Table” system, “Straight Parallel” system, and all have some merit but also weaknesses. Some are good for one type of bank shot and some for another. Most involve some guesswork which the author, of course, wants to help eliminate.

If you have ever watched top professionals play in a tournament, you will have noticed the almost total absence of the “ bank shot.” The pros always play percentage and for ball control, thus they will almost always opt for a cut shot, no matter how difficult, over a bank shot.

They will not trust the inconsistencies of the rail. They know they have control of the object ball going into the banking rail (angle of approach) but are at the mercy of rail flaws on the angle of completion (rebound angle).

Unless the cue ball and object ball are lined up to form an almost perfect triangle into a target pocket, the pros generally avoid bank shots. One of the biggest insults to a pro is to have it said about him that he specializes in bank shots. You are in effect saying that he is a terrible position player and therefore has had to make many bank shots during his career.

To the pro, the name of the game is position and rarely does one play position for a bank shot. Yet he may on occasion play a relatively simple bank shot to gain proper position for his next shot. To give further emphasis to the negativity of the bank shot before we get into the positives, it is well known that the greatest pocket billiards player of all time did not like bank shots, avoided them at all cost and in his books on pocket billiards, the experts agree that the banking method he teaches reveal that even he, was incorrect in his ideas regarding banking.

Let me say in his defense that he was such a great player that he rarely had to bank a ball and therefore never practiced bank shots. His comments on the bank shot were only based on what he surmised or witnessed. This player was, of course, Willie Mosconi.

So, let’s learn and incorporate into your game the method of split parallel banking and look forward to any bank shot situations you may encounter with confidence. The “split parallel” bank shot alignment is not concerned with the distance the object ball lies from the banking rail. In fact, it can be applied with accuracy to object balls that are frozen against the bank rail.

The main objective of all successfully completed bank shots is to form an Isosceles triangle from the object ball to the target pocket with the apex of the triangle being most important (apex = aim point). Other factors that may have an effect on bank shots are ball speed, cue ball induced English and cushion distortion.

Keep the following in mind when shooting bank shots.

1. Do not try to kill the ball.

2. Try to use medium force only, for as perfect as possible adherence to the desired rebound angle.

Banked balls prefer corner vs. side pockets. Corner pockets are more inviting to a banked ball that is slightly long or short, particularly long. Whereas the side pocket is not only non - inviting to such shots but will not accept them at all.

A softly struck bank shot widens the rebound angle toward the far side of the target pocket (see diagram following page). Bank shots struck hard will shorten the rebound angle.

When banking one rail, we are concerned with points visualized on inner edge of banking rail and not with inlaid diamonds. But when attempting multiple rail Bank shots (2, 3, 4, rails etc.) we aim at the inlaid diamonds (or visualized in laid) and not the inner rail edge points.

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