Learn to Play Eight Ball – Better Cue Ball Control
Control Cue ball control is all about influencing the path of the cue ball, generally speaking, after the point of contact with the object ball. There are three main groups of factors to think about:
(a) Follow-through, stun and screw—by striking the cue ball on the top, middle or bottom;
(b) Side—generally used to influence the angle of travel from a cushion but the effect on the baize also needs to be considered;
(c) Strength of shot—by striking the cue ball harder or softer depends on how far the cue ball needs to travel.
It’s best to learn the basics of these factors in simple practice routines before introducing them into your game. One tip I’ve always found to work quite well is encouraging the right stroke is to envisage the cue ball as being like a hardboiled egg!! The stroke should break the shell on the near side and go through the shell on the other side. This sets the right visualisation to ensure you follow through with your cue action, regardless of the effect you are putting on the cue ball. It sounds wacky, but gives it a try.
Side is perhaps best attempted at first with no other balls on the table. Place the white on the baulk line centre spot and play it down over the spots. Vary the amount of side and aim to get the cue ball into each of the baulk pockets–and even the middle pockets if you are looking for a stretching challenge. The practice routine called “Getting Away from a Ball Over a Pocket” is a good one to introduce side into because the pot is less likely to be affected and the side can really help to control the cue ball into position.
Strength of shot is also best practiced with just the white, at first. Start with the cue ball on the baulk line centre spot and play it up the table to touch the top cushion; and then aim to play it to the top cushion and back to land touching the baulk cushion. You can then introduce a pot to the challenge. A good one would to be a cut into the middle pocket with the cue ball in the “D”. Aim for a position on the black after bouncing on the top cushion or, played stronger, back for the blue.
Hope this tutorial will help you to start playing eight ball..