Tuition: Left-Hand Side
© Mike Stooke
This first diagram shows a stroke where left-hand side has been used to take the cue-ball to a safe area of the table.
A similar result could have been gained by playing without side and aiming slightly thicker, but the thinner contact gives the red less momentum and keeps it further away from the two top pockets.
Using a little side in any shot like this also lessens the chance of a double-kiss ruining the stroke.
You will find that this shot can be of even greater use during the early part of the frame when there are many more balls to avoid on the journey back to baulk.
A little practice will teach you how much side to use, and you'll soon discover many similar opportunities that will improve your safety play and force errors from your opponents.
In this second example left-hand side has been used to make the escape from the snooker easier to judge than if it were played off the two cushions.
As the cue-ball is touching the cushion you will need to play the shot with a little top as well as the lefthand side.
A few practice strokes will show you how much side to use, and how close to the blue you should aim.
The idea of course is to play gently to just roll up to the red, and leave very little for your opponent.
The three balls do not need to be against the cushion for this type of escape to be played. If all three form a straight line that is at right angles to the cushion, this method can still be a safer way to judge the angle.