The Follow Stroke
THE FOLLOW STROKE
Because it is easier to learn initially, we'll begin our study in cue ball path alterations with the follow-stroke.
As the name implies, your cue ball, when hit above center, will follow the object ball after it makes contact.
You are putting topspin on the cue ball, which will cause it to continue rolling forward.
To perform a follow-stroke, you will, in most cases, need to shoot a one-half to full cue tip above center.
Honestly, for maximum results you should never need more than a full cue tip.
Shooting too high on the cue ball will result in miscues, and it's really not necessary.
The most important things to remember while executing your follow stroke are to keep your cue stick level.
Elevate your bridge hand slightly to raise the cue tip and follow through completely.
If you are shooting a ball straight in the pocket, a follow stroke will send the cue ball directly into the pocket after it.
But, since few of your shots will be straight in, you must also understand how follow affects your other shots.
Follow can be effectively used to minimize the angle at which your cue ball travels after contact with the object ball, because it in fact alters the tangent line that is, the 90-degree line at which your cue ball will normally glance off a ball with a center ball hit.
The softer and smoother the hit, the more you can minimize your angle coming off the object ball.
This becomes an important tool in your arsenal, especially when you want to avoid a scratch or avoid hitting other balls on your way around the table.
And, of course, it is a simple way to get from one end of the table to the other.
In a game of Nine Ball, for instance, the follow shot may prove invaluable if every other numbered ball is on the opposite end of the table!
While learning position play and cue ball control, it is simpler to picture your pool table divided up into small quadrants and to visualize having your cue ball arrive in that desired quadrant when shooting.
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