Tuition: Right-Hand Side
© Mike Stooke
In the section on cue-ball control it was stated that extreme side-spin could be of great use, but should be used carefully because of the extra difficulty found in aiming.
In these examples extreme side-spin can be used fairly safely, two where the object-ball is close to a pocket, and a safety stroke where the direction given to the object-ball can be less exact.
These shots require a really good cue-action, and should be practiced and experimented with before you bring them into your competitive play.
In the diagram to the left there is no easy safety stroke and playing the pot without side could easily leave the cue-ball among the reds, as shown by the black dotted line.
But play the shot with strong right-hand side and the cue-ball will return to the side cushion after striking the top cushion, miss the reds, and leave you with a choice of colours for the next shot.
Variations of this stroke constantly occur so practice this stroke and experiment with it. Move the positions of both the red and the cue-ball. Combine the strong right-hand side with a little top, and then with bottom. Play it with left-hand side and see the differences that occur.
And remember to keep your head down and watch the cue-ball as it travels to the red. You will see that it doesn't travel in a straight line, and it's only by seeing this that you learn how to allow for it when you aim.
If you played safe off this red, with top right-hand side to take the cue-ball into baulk between blue and green, the strength of the shot could easily send the red into the others and possibly push a red towards the corner pocket for your opponent.
So play the stroke with strong right-hand side but play it with little follow-through of the cue, as if you were playing a stun shot. The lack of follow-through means that less power will be transferred into forward motion of the cue-ball, so less will be given to the red.
Played correctly the cue-ball should drift to the right, striking the red about half-ball. The red should only move about six inches and when the cue-ball strikes the cushion the spin gives it the momentum to reach the baulk area.
Let's study this shot some more.