Deflection and Throw

Deflection and throw are terms you're bound to come upon as you progress in your game, whether from other instructional materials or from other players.

Let's define these terms, and then explain how they'll really affect your game.

Deflection sometimes called squirt, is the altering of the path of the cue ball when english is used.

Simply put, a cue ball struck on the right side will shift slightly left, and a cue ball struck on the left will veer slightly right.

According to the experts, a soft stroke at a short distance will produce the least amount of deflection.

A harder stroke at the longer distance will produce the most amount of deflection. Also, the more english that is put on the cue ball, the greater will be the deflection of the cue ball's path.

Whereas deflection refers to the altering of the cue ball's path,

Throw refers to the altering of the path of the object ballobject ball.

Right english will "throw" the object ball to the left; left english will throw the object ball to the right.

Because the cue ball hits less of the object ball on sharper cuts, the sharper the angle of the cut, the less throw will result.

And, opposite of deflection, a softer shot will actually produce more throw. Again, the more english used, the greater the result.

Dozens of experts have tested these theories under laboratory conditions.

Many have even come up with lovely charts depicting how much you need to adjust your aim for different shots with deflection and throw.

Their laborious efforts have often been applauded by students of the game.

Unfortunately, they've also convinced otherwise talented players that their aim should constantly be in question if they plan to impart anything but center ball on the cue ball.

Just try to apply this knowledge and put yourself into a game situation. You're shooting at the 8-ball to get to the 9-ball.

To aim at it correctly, you're going to need to predict the amount of throw you will get, because you have a pretty good angle, which will minimize most of the throw, but you're going to hit the ball softer, which will give you more throw, but with the right english you want to put on the shot, your cue ball is going to head slightly to the left of where you want to hit it, though since you're not hitting it hard it should not matter as much, but—stop!

If everyone thought about all this on every shot, it would take a long, long time to finish a game, and the tremendous popularity of the cue sports would plummet.

Ask pros how they compensate for squirt.

Chances are good that their answers will range from "What?" to "I just do" to "Squirt and throw cancel each other out anyway."

Now the third statement isn't always true, but you get the idea.

Every sport has interesting and unique physical properties.

Just think of the foot ball traveling through the air, spinning as it heads towards the receiver.

Does the football player calculate the spin on its approach, combined with the day's wind velocity, to determine exactly where his hands should be to grasp the ball? Of course not.

The lessons you can take from this are much simpler.

First, the less english you use, the better off you are.

This is another reason why only one-half to a full cue tip of english is recommended.

Second, shooting too soft or too hard can be dangerous tactics unless you have a very specific reason for doing so.

Finally, while it is true that these physical properties exist, you don't need or want to take them into consideration on every shot.

Try a few experiments of your own, if you wish, to observe the results with extreme english and speeds.

Then move on and play pool. Your mind and body learn to compensate for minor adjustments without you having to consciously calculate them.

Once a player has established the basics, learned center ball, tangent lines, and how balls react coming off the object ball and the cushions with the use of follow, draw, and english, the game of pool becomes one of feel and confidence.

And, while each individual's ability varies, every student can create his own feel for the game and all its beautiful and mystifying shots, whether it is a length of a table draw shot or a three-rail high-ball shot.

Develop good habits of experimenting with shots you are unfamiliar with and allow yourself to try variations of shots as they occur.

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