© Mike Stooke Historical Notes
The drag shot is rarely seen during the televised professional tournaments due to the very fast tables that are used. The average player though, playing in clubs with thicker, slower cloths, will find drag to be an incredibly useful tool.
The diagram shows an example of a position where the drag shot might be played.
Playing slowly to pot the red and stay on the black is much too dangerous. The cue-ball could easily drift away from your line of aim and miss the red completely.
So the drag stroke is the answer. The shot can be played with more strength to keep the cue-ball running straight, yet when it reaches the red it will have slowed enough to retain position on the black.
So how is the drag shot played?
Hold the cue softly so it deadens the impact, and strike the cue-ball quite strongly below centre. Perhaps a little higher than if you were playing screw, but with less follow through of the cue.
As it travels towards the red, the cue-ball will slide or 'skid' during the first part of its journey until friction with the cloth causes it to run normally. Between the initial skidding and the final normal running of the cue-ball, there appears what can be best described as a kind of pause in the movement of the cue-ball.
Though drag is most often played for shots similar to that shown in the diagram above, it can also be used in a completely different way.
In the first diagram the intention was to deliver the cue-ball at a slow pace when it reached the object-ball. But in this diagram the intention is to drive the object-ball to the top cushion and back into baulk, and for the cue-ball to just slip gently behind yellow and green.
The description given above mentioned the fact that the cue-ball starts fast, seems to pause, and then runs normally.
By playing the shot in this diagram as though the red were another four feet or so further away, the cue- ball should strike the red at about the same time as the pause in its motion takes effect.
The cue-ball will still have plenty of momentum left which will be transferred to the red on impact, driving it on; but the cue-ball, having no back-spin or forward rotation to speak of, will just trickle off to the side. Hopefully behind the yellow and green to obtain the snooker.
Stay down and watch what happens to the cue-ball when you play this shot. You need to be able to predict where this pausing effect takes place to play shots such as this.
Drag can also be used on relatively close shots when a less powerful shot has to be played.
This is much easier said than done, and it takes a good player to play the short drag well.
So this diagram gives two examples that you might find very useful to practice.
Experiment with drag and side-spin and you will find that played correctly, more side-spin is retained later in the stroke than you would expect if you just played slowly without drag. This gives you great control over the cue-ball and can be invaluable in tight positional play.
Drag can also be used to great effect in safety shots.
This last diagram shows an example of a position where the player doesn't want to risk disturbing the yellow and black too much, but needs to swing the cue-ball right round to the other side of the table.
There are many opportunities to use this in a frame, usually when there are still many reds left on the table.
Until you have become confident with this shot you may find yourself playing rather negative safety shots to avoid moving the object-ball too much.
When you can play the shot well though you will be able to turn your safety play into shots that really attack your opponent. And just one well played saftey can decide the outcome of the frame.
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This section last updated 15th September 2012 Site designed, created, and maintained by Mike Stooke. © All Rights Reserved.