(Excerpts from Book 3 of the Six Pack Encyclopedia of Billiards Knowledge by D.W. "Diamond Dave" Thayer)


Back in the days before the two piece and three piece cues that allow a player to break down the stick and put it away in a carrying case; the billiard parlors (pool halls) furnished all cues that were kept in wall racks for the player’s use.     

Many attempts at jump shots caused the separation of many cue tips from the cue sticks and this caused added expense and work for the pool parlor proprietors.  In addition to lost and damaged tips, the stabbing down into the table felt by a inept players trying to jump over a ball gave the proprietor nightmares.

Finally, signs were placed on every wall in the establishment;“no jump shots, jumping not allowed, absolutely no jumping over balls.” Practically every and any playing establishment had the signs that stood out far and above any other posted house rules.

The signs have caused approximately 80 percent of today’s pool players to believe the jump shot is illegal.  It is not to be done.  “Hey buddy, you can’t jump, it’s not legal.”

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Read more: JUMP SHOTS


In your masse‘ shot training, and hopefully you will have time alone at a pool table, you should select your strike point as close to cue ball edge as possible without miscuing completely.  Place the tip where you would place it for a low right or low left draw shot.  If the cue ball squirts away from you at that strike point then move the point of aim slightly closer to center.

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Read more: MASSE SHOTS cont.


One of the most baffling yet exciting shots on a pool table is the perfectly executed masse‘ shot.     

There are occasions during a game when the shooter must make a good hit on an object ball but the cue ball is obstructed from every kick shot possibility and is too close to an interfering ball to attempt a jump shot.    

A curve shot is also a non possibility but an extreme curve draw shot is the only solution and this action is created only with the masse‘stroke.     

Very few players are masters of this shot, including some of the very top pros . I regard the masse‘ as merely a draw shot from above, therefore I visualize the clock face of cue ball as lying flat on the table and looking up at me.     

The aim points are at low center six o’clock, low right five o’clock and 5:30 o’clock. 6:30 and 7:00 at low left.  These aim points are dependent on which direction line you want to form between center cue ball resting point and your desired direction.  (See diagram following).

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Read more: MASSE SHOTS


There will be times when all lanes of approach to your target ball via kick shots are blocked and there is an obstructing ball in between the cue ball and target ball. During these shot situations or other apparent “no shot” situations, there may exist the possibility of shooting around the obstruction ball by causing the cue ball to curve; jumping over the obstruction ball and in some situations the possibility of shooting through the obstructing ball or balls.

For a quick breaking curve of the cue ball, the butt end of the cue stick should be raised 45 degrees.  If you wish cue ball to curve back to right after passing object ball then you must aim the cue tip down through the cue ball just below 3:00 concentrating on a vast amount of spin extreme) toward the right.

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Read more: CURVE SHOTS


Carom = To strike and rebound

Carom shot = A shot in “pool” in which an object ball strikes another object ball before falling into a pocket.

Billiard shot = A shot in pool causing a cue ball to hit in succession, two object balls and driving the second hit object ball into a pocket.

Summation : Object ball off object ball = Carom shot

Object ball off cue ball = Billiard shot.

There are only two things you must know in order to shoot carom shots successfully. Where the aim point is on the carom ball and where the centerline points to on frozen ball carom shots.  If you are shooting the cue ball or another object ball to glance off the carom ball and into a pocket, you must first visualize a straight line from the center of target pocket to the closest point on the carom ball (see diagram).   

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For a longer “draw back,” use a longer bridge. Move your bridge hand further back from the cue ball.      

A “nip draw” calls for a short bridge, a very low bridge and lowered cue tip.  This is to allow you to create a short, quick, downward jab stroke that enables the bridge hand and cue tip to be pulled back out of returning cue balls path. ( See diagram following).

Semi masse draw = Use when cue ball is within one to three inches from object ball to prevent double kiss.  Form your bridge the same way as when you are shooting over a ball.  Shoot down towards 6:00 right through the cue ball and quickly pull cue and bridge hand up and out of the way.   

An excellent draw practice drill is diagramed on page 55. The object balls are lined up between the side pockets, (eight object balls should be used).  Place the cue ball directly behind each object ball, one diamond back and in line with corner pocket shoot “through” low center 6:00 cue ball and draw cue ball back to end rail on each shot. Next line up the cue ball two diamonds behind object balls and again draw cue ball back to end rail after each shot.     


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You must know your drawing distance limitation!  Always play within yourself.  Do not attempt shots that are impossible to make, hoping to get lucky.  Do not try to draw a cue ball that is beyond your distance capacity or at best you will wind up making a stop shot and be in poor position for your next shot.     

The following diagram shows a simple drill that will enable you to be aware of your drawing maximum.  Place a striped object ball just off the rail at diamond number 10.  Set the object ball so that it’s stripe  is horizontal to the table. Shoot the draw stroke through the striped ball following all the way through to where your cue tip ends up opposite diamond number 20.    

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One of the key weapons in a pool players’ arsenal of mastered shots is the draw shot.  I try to teach the control draw vs. exhibitionist, completely out of control draw. This is because, no matter how impressive and spectacular the draw shot may be, the name of the winning game is and will always be POSITION!

Keys to the Draw Shot:

1.  A well chalked tip.

2.  A low, be low center hit at 6:00.

3.  A level as possible cue stick.

4.  A long, exaggerated follow-through.

5.  A loose wrist and relaxed shooting grip..

6.  A solid low bridge.

7.  A snap back of wrist at natural end of the follow through motion.

8. A slide (backward) of cue ball all the way into object ball with no digging into the cloth.

You can go into any tavern or cocktail lounge that has pool tables or into any billiard parlor and be shocked to discover that only one out of 25 players can properly draw a cue ball on every draw attempt!

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Read more: DRAW SHOTS


At times you will have to shoot a long shot at an object ball that is down table near the opposite end rail from your cue ball’s location.   

You need to have the cue ball remain at that end of table after pocketing the object ball so you will have to shoot cue ball very slowly.  However, experience has revealed to you that a slow rolling ball can move all over the place on an overused and well worn table felt.   

The answer to this dilemma is to shoot the cue ball at the speed that will keep it from being at the mercy of table bed imperfections, in other words, shoot it hard but strike cue ball at 6:00 low center, applying draw stroke!  

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Read more: DRAG SHOTS


Keep in mind, that a stun stroke is a slide stroke. You slide into the object ball with no kind of spin what so ever.  It is executed by a center or slightly below center strike on the cue ball.

Importance of using stun stroke as often as possible in order to always know where cue ball will end up after each shot.  The reason is, that cue ball path will always be perpendicular to path taken by object ball, no matter how much (acute) the angle of the cut on object ball.

Note:  The “Stop shot” is also a Stun shot, but to the author it makes more sense to refer to an off center shot as a stun shot rather than a “try to stop shot”. 

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Read more: STUN SHOTS cont.


Your desire is to keep cue ball in that immediate area for good position on your next planned shot and do not want cue ball caroming off other balls. You want no spin at all on the cue ball, but a slide only, and just hard enough to send the target ball the  required distance.   

Cue ball must be struck just below the horizontal center line and on the lower side opposite the direction of what well-be its carom  path off its hit on object ball. (See following diagram). i.e; if object ball is being cut  to the left the cue ball well carom off to the right, therefore in the cue ball the cue ball must be struck low left ,slide shot.

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Read more: STUN SHOTS


It is important to note, the great playing “Willie Mosconi,”during all of his tournament games of 150 balls; would use stop and/or stun shots on over 100 of his shots and obtain great position throughout. Therefore your goal should be to punch in most of your shots applying stop and stun.   

When shooting the Stop shot, ALL of the cue ball’s ‘energy must be transferred from the cue ball into the object ball. Cue ball must be absolutely energy free after contact, thus creating complete stop at contact point.

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The Stop shot is a “punch and slide” shot. It is imperative for you to include this important shot ability into your shot repertoire, because you will be using this shot stroke on many of your up coming shots.   

When you shoot at an object ball that is dead on to a pocket and regardless of the shot speed, the cue ball stops dead on contact with object ball, it is obviously a stop shot.   

When you shoot at an object ball that is on an angle (cut shot) and stop shot is applied, but with cue ball naturally caroming off object ball at an angle, it becomes a stun shot.

The concept in its entirety is to have cue ball slide into object ball, regardless of the distance between the two and regardless of straight on hit or slant angle hit have NO spin movement on cue ball at all. No forward roll, no back spin and no side spin.  

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Read more: STOP SHOTS


The “throw” technique may be a valuable asset to those wishing to use two or three aiming points only and specifically.  This may be the result of difficulties in estimating. the additional  ¼ or 1/8 etc. aim points away from the easily determined and recognized one-half ball, one quarter ball and center ball hits.

For example, on a long table shot at an object ball two and one-half diamonds distance from the pocket, the half ball hit is easy to determine for a two-diamond move but shooter can not pinpoint the extra 1/8 “one-half plus 1/8” toward outside of ball, therefore the cue ball strike on object ball can be 1/16, 1/8, ¼, 3/8 extra and object ball is at mercy of where it has been struck to send it in a path directly away from that strike.  

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Creating a larger target, a big ball target, is accomplished by the throw shot.  Applying throw to the cue ball allows for a fuller and less precise hit on the object ball.  

In some shot situations when the object ball is very close to an opponents ball and there is the fear of making a bad hit (striking other ball first) the fear can be eliminated and the problem solved by striking more of the object ball then your pre- shot alignment dictates.

You will compensate for the over hit by striking cue ball on the side opposite the intended target pocket.  

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Read more: THROW


What you must create or manipulate for true top spin follow is;

1. Collision of cue ball into first (closest) object ball.

2. Cue ball hesitation and slight rebound backward.

3. Furious forward spinning in place (briefly).

4. Cue ball propelling forward as though shot out of a gun.

5. Cue ball slamming into the previously well hidden target ball, propelling it into a pocket.

Work on top spin follow until you can create these five effects!

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Read more: TOP SPIN FOLLOW SHOTS cont.


Top spin follow can be used to shoot through obstructing balls, but only when object ball closest to cue ball, the cue ball itself and the target object ball are in direct line. (See diagrams following)

If the alignment is on a straight line (as it must be), it is truly amazing to watch the cue ball plow through a group of interfering balls, scattering them in all directions, clearing a straight path for itself directly into the target ball and often times pocketing that object ball.

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When cutting an object ball and using English on the cue ball, you must compensate.  You must re-adjust the aim point on object ball to offset the throw effect of the English containing cue ball.

If the natural aim point on the object ball to be cut into a pocket is “ half ball hit” right of center, but you decide that for position on the next shot you need to apply right side English to cue ball, you must then aim at less than a half ball hit and probably 3/8 right of center or 1/4 right of center.   

When applying outside English to cue ball, the point of aim on object ball must always be moved closer to cue ball center and toward target pocket. This is necessary in order to counter the “to the left throw” of object ball created by the right side spin (English) applied to cue ball (see diagram ). 

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The running English reaction is similar to a defensive lineman in football charging into a much larger offensive lineman.  Just as the big offensive lineman recovers from the initial blow and begins to shove the defensive player back and out of the play, the smaller player does a spin around to the inside of the defensive man’s body and charges into the opposing backfield with ease.   

When shooting cue ball into rail for a kick shot, use inside English.  When shooting cue ball into object ball for a bank shot, use outside-reverse English on cue ball which will then create running English on object ball.   

If shooting into a rail using no English, you must remember, that a soft rail hit widens the rebound angle and a hard hit into rail creates a narrower rebound because of more rail resistance to hard impact.      

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Running English” is to enhance the normal directional movement by it’s offsetting of cushion resistance.  “Reverse English” is in opposition to normal movement direction.

Why Running English?

When a ball goes against a rail on its “angle of incidence” (approach) it is striking a soft bumper as opposed to a solid wall that has no give to it.  The rail’s bumper edge is forced to become indented as it is somewhat crushed by the force of the striking ball.  It will only give in just so much, usually not more than 1/8 the of an inch but it does so, so quickly that it can be barely seen by the naked eye.

It retreats just so far and then becomes rigid and resistant to any more of the ball’s striking pressure.  At the end of this submission, the small area that has been caved in slightly, forces the ball  back from whence it came.        

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There are several various applications of English and degrees of cue ball rotation necessary for proper end results.   

They are :

Outside English = Applied to side a way from object ball.

Inside English = Applied to side toward object ball.

Running English = Applied to enhance natural role of the object all.

Reverse English = Applied opposite to direction of object balls normal path.          

Cushion side English = Outside toward rail.

Ball side English = Inside toward object ball.

Throw = Easy stroke.  Very little rotation of cue ball.

Spin = Extra or extreme rotation put on cue ball.

Easy = Push through cue ball with very little spin.

Extra = Follow-through semi hard for several rotations.  

Extreme = Try with long hard follow-through to get cue ball spinning 100 mph before striking object ball.  (Concentrate not on cue balls forward motion spin, but on number of rotations in the shortest distance.)          

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The difference between English as applied by a pro and as applied by the average player, is that the average player creates very little spin on the cue ball prior to its contact with the object ball.  He jabs the cue ball high and to the right approx. 2:00 o’clock. Then after striking object ball, continues slightly forward and to the right.   

The pro, almost gently, fires his cue tip right through the top right (2:00) point on the cue ball by use of follow-through.  The tip never stops on contact with cue ball but appears to go right through it, creating the required spin that appears to be moving at 100 mph.    

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In the section of this book relating to the “Draw shot” I state the fact that on the average, not more than one player in twenty five can consistently draw a cue ball. The prime reason for this inability is that, those same nondraw ability players have never developed the ability to put any proper, required English/spin on any type of shot.   

To impress upon the reader, how complicated the understanding of the use of English as related to your improving abilities on the pool table can be. Let me give you the Law of Physics as relates to cue ball English. “English = Spin = Vectors of angular momentum, precision and various co-efficients of friction.”   

Scary stuff, but now lets break it down and make other than “center cue ball hits” become an integral part of your game and a part that you will excel at when needed.  

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The ability to understand English, how it works, what it does and how to and how much to apply to a particular shot is confusing to the pool playing majority who use English hoping something good will happen. Then, after missing the shot are left hoping their opponent was impressed with the cue ball action imparted by their skill.   

How often do we  hear, “Oh  no, the English didn’t take, I put low right on the dang cue ball.”  An advanced player easily recognizes that you did strike the cue ball low right but did not apply low right spin (English) to the cue ball.   

Should you have the desire to understand English in its total package (as you must do) and be willing to accept that simply banging the cue ball high right, low left, etc. might really not be enough to characterize you as a complete pool player, then read and re-read this section with its diagrams until you absorb all facts of the English phenomena!  

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Read more: ENGLISH cont.


"A rotation or spin of a ball in defiance of its natural roll, caused by various extents of striking the ball off center"

“English” refers to side spin only, in the pool players vocabulary. It does not pertain to “follow, draw, stop.” Unfortunately, many pool players try to apply their version of various English on almost every shot, from the initial break shot on an “8” ball or “9” ball rack and then, through out their game.   

As important as it is for you to follow the advice of the great “Willie Mosconi,”i.e; “shoot softly and softer,” it is equally important for you to heed the advice of most top Pros .i.e; ”The less English used, the less often you will get into trouble.”  

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Read more: ENGLISH

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