Rail and Pocket Shots

Written by Mark Finkelstein

This week I have a collection of shots that are interesting and not usually seen. All the top players know them, and they can save you when you really need a magic shot.

These first set of shots are rail compression shots. The reason these rail compression shots work is because the rail compresses when a ball hits it. You can see this effect in Dr. Dave's High Speed Videos. Creative use of this effect can bail you out of some tough spots.

Take a look at the 1 here. It looks like you are in a trap with you any good escapes. You might try a three rail kick, or perhaps a masse. There is a much better option that is little known, but really works (I tried it on Bruswick tables and Diamond tables and it worked both times). What you do is aim to just miss the 3 on the left. Hit the cue ball hard with no english. What happens is that the cushion compresses and the cue ball goes right by the 3 and usually pockets the one. Practice this.


Figure 1

Now look at the 2 and 9. I've seen a lot of players try a carom off the 2, and that will work. A lot of the time though, what happens is that the nine hangs. Depending on how hard you hit the 2 ball, the rail compresses and you can make the nine in the bottom right corner or make it on the double bubble. This is a much higher percentage shot and lessens the risk of a sell out if you miss. Another good one to know.

The next rail compression shot is the 6. If you hit the six full in the face, the point of the pocket compresses, and the 6 makes.

The last rail compression shot is on the bottom right. If you are trying to go from the 7 to the 8, it is very difficult to slow roll the 7. I've seen some pretty good players butcher this one. This shot is just like the six ball in the side. Hit the 7 full in the face. The point of the pocket will compress and the 7 makes, leaving the cue ball perfect for the 8.

Learn how these compression shots work on the tables you play on. These will win you games and lose you customers!

Now let's look at some pocket point shots. Again, the key here is to learn the table you play on.


Figure 2

At the left we see ourselves corner hooked. The secret to this shot is not to hit it too hard. The smoother you stroke the ball, the better chance you have to make the ball.

At the top right corner pocket, you go two pocket faces to make the 2. This is not as difficult as it looks if you take the time to find the sweet spot on the table you play on. This works well if you don't use any english and not a lot of speed.

The final pocket point shot comes from using the points of the side pocket. I just showed one example here. You can get some really crazy angles using the side pocket points. Spend a little time learning how your tables points play, and you will have some great tools to escape traps.

Have fun with these shots and see you on the road.

About The Author: Mark Finkelstein is a professional pool player, a BCA Master instructor, an American Cue Sports (ACS) level 4 instructor, and house pro at Slate Plus in New York. Mark can be reached via phone at 347-545-1916, email at nycpool<at_char>gmail<dot_char>com or thru his website at www.mfpool.com.

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Author Info - Mark Finkelstein