Understanding English

Written by Easy Pool Tutor

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Throw

Another effect of english is what is known as "throw". When a cue ball with sidespin hits the object ball, the spin is transferred to the object ball but in the opposite direction. For example, a cue ball is hit with right english so it spins to the right or counter-clockwise... upon hitting the object ball, an opposite spin (clockwise) is transferred to the object ball. The spin generated by the object ball causes it to be "thrown" to the direction opposite the spin on the cue ball. Whew! I think this calls for an illustration. See Figure 3.

Understanding English - Cue Ball Throw
Figure 3: Cue Ball Throw

So to make things simple, a cue ball with right english "throws" the object ball to the left while a cue ball with left english "throws" the object ball to the right. Let us examine the illustration above. In this illustration, the cue ball is hit with right english causing it to have a counter-clockwise spin. Upon contact with the object ball, a transfer of spin is generated causing an opposite (clockwise) spin on the object ball. This clockwise spin causes the object ball to be thrown to the left (indicated by the red line). Note that a fuller hit on the object ball is done allowing the "throw" effect to pocket the object ball. The white line indicates the normal path of the object ball if no english was done on the cue ball.

The amount throw generated is generally dependent the following:

  1. The amount of spin on the cue ball. The more spin on the cue ball, the more "throw" is generated on the object ball.
  2. The speed of the stroke. A softer stroke generally results in more "throw" effect than a harder stroke.

Curve and Masse

Another effect of english is what is known as "Curve" or "Swerve". When a cue ball is hit low with a downward stroke using english, the cue ball tends to curve instead of moving in a straight line. This is a similar effect, though to a much lesser degree, to the masse shot. Figure 4 shows you what I mean. Notice that the cue stick is at a downward angle hitting the cue ball low. If you put english on this type of shot, an effect called "curve" will be the result.

Understanding English - Cue Ball Curve
Figure 4: Cue Ball Curve

The direction of the curve will be the same as the direction of the spin. That means that if you have a low right english on the cue ball, it will curve to the left and back to the right. If you have a low left english on the cue ball, it will curve to the right and then back to the left. See the illustration below; the red line indicates a curve generated when low right english is applied with a downward cue stick and the blue line indicates a curve generated when a low left english is applied with a downward cue stick.

Understanding English - Cue Ball Curve
Figure 5: Cue Ball Curve

The amount curve generated is generally dependent the following:

  1. The distance between the cue ball and the object ball. At longer distances, more curve is generated.
  2. The amount of spin on the cue ball. The more spin on the cue ball, the more "curve" is generated on the object ball.
  3. The speed of the stroke. A softer stroke generally results in more "curve" effect than a harder stroke.
  4. The downward angle or elevation of the cue stick. The more angle or elevation on the cue stick, the more curve is generated.
  5. The type of cloth also plays a role here. Again, more friction means the cloth has more "hold" on the cue ball thus the effects of curve is more.

All these factors come into play at the same time so you should adjust your shot with consideration for all the above factors.

Now with all these effects: Deflection, Throw, and Curve... you will need to consider all these things when using english. Only with enough practice will you be able to learn instinctively how the cue ball will react to all these effects.

Video demonstration of english curve

Video courtesy of Dr. Dave and The Illustrated Principles of Pool and Billiards at www.engr.colostate.edu/pool/

Exercise

Experiment with using english. Hit the cue ball at the different 'hit points' for applying spin (see image below). Pay close attention to the effects of english on the cue ball. How much deflection did you get? How much throw? How about curve? Experiment with moderate to extreme english and also hit the cue ball at different speeds. Some english effects are increased with speed while others are decreased by speed of the cue ball. Find out which one is which? Experiment and learn.

Understanding English - Cue ball Hit Points
Cue ball Hit Points

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