The Draw Stroke

The draw stroke isn't as tough as people make it out to be, but you'll always see amateurs who think that because someone can draw their ball, they must play good pool.

True, it looks impressive, and there's nothing that gives you quite the same feeling of power as a well-struck draw stroke that commands the cue ball to come whizzing back toward you.

But, if you remember a few simple rules of pool and physics, you too can quickly experience that feeling and look like a champ!

As in the follow and draw stroke,

Rule 1: Your cue must remain as level as possible.

You will be using a below-center hit, which, after contact with the object ball, will allow the cue ball to hesitate, and then "magically" reverse its path and head backward

Rule 2: Keep your grip loose!

A loose grip keeps the wrist loose and a loose wrist creates more draw.

A death grip on the cue will kill your follow-through, and thus kill the cue ball.

Rule 3: Don't jump out of the way of the shot.

The cue ball will not roll back and hit your cue!

Trying to get your cue out of the way too quickly, or pulling your cue stick back as if a string is attached to the cue ball and your cue, are the biggest mistakes people make.

Only follow-through brings the cue ball back toward you!

As you execute the draw stroke, visualize trying to move a heavy ball with your cue stick. This will allow you to use a softer stroke and develop a feel for the shot.

The farther the object ball is from the cue ball, the more chance the cue ball has to run out of backspin as friction from the table slowly removes the draw effect.

Because of this little law of physics, you will need a very well-developed stroke and follow-through to really get any draw on a long shot.

Shooting too hard will not produce the desired effect, as the force of the hit will also give the cue ball more forward momentum!

Once you've accomplished the first draw stroke a few times, gradually increase the difficulty of the shot by progressively adding six inches distance between the cue ball and the object ball.

Notice that it may take slightly more force to get the same results each time.

Concentrate less on force and more on follow-through.

Also experiment with moving your cue stick lower, but only if you're keeping it level.

Too low without a level stroke and you'll be miscueing more often than shooting the ball.

Keep in mind that if your cue ball is too close to the rail, the draw stroke will be impossible, since you cannot keep your cue level.

Note the path taken by a center-ball shot, and how that path is altered with the use of a draw stroke.

Using English

Now you're ready to get fancy. A word of caution—fancy doesn't always equal great.

If you haven't really gotten a feel for cue ball control with center ball, draw, and follow, you're not ready to use english.

If you have, you've already been using a form of english.

For example, if you're using center ball and cutting the object ball to the left, your cue ball will naturally pick up right spin, and vice versa.

The amount of english picked up by the cue ball will be determined by the angle of contact, unless of course you are executing a straight-in shot.

The greater the angle, the less sidespin, if any, will be transferred to the cue ball.

As you can see, english, as it is used in pool, can be a whole other language!

Even the pros try to limit their use of english, or sidespin, to situations where it is absolutely necessary.

English refers to putting left or right spin on the cue ball to change the path of the cue ball after contacting a rail.

Inside english (cueing inside the angle of the shot) and outside english (cueing outside the angle of the shot).

Inside english will shorten or "close" the angle.

Outside english, sometimes also called running english, will alter the path of the cue ball by widening the angle it comes off the rail.

To execute a shot using english, you will be using the same principles you learned in follow and draw: a level cue stick and smooth follow-through are paramount.

Begin by using no more than one-half to a full cue tip of english on either side, especially when you are still learning to execute these skills.

Now things get a little more complicated. You see, there's not just center ball, follow, draw, left and right english.

You have to contend with all the combinations that will make possible nearly any position on the table.

Remember to execute the shots with a medium speed, not too hard or too soft.

Without getting too technical, the force of your hit can and will alter the path of the cue ball.

The harder the hit, the more you can "force" the cue ball to slide.

Force-follow and force-draw shots can be great assets in your game, but only if you've first mastered your stroke.

Too many players attempt to force everything, or, worse, develop a poor stoke that results in too many force shots.

You'll never learn the true reaction of the cue ball this way, and will be less able to predict your cue ball position after even the simplest of shots.

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