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English - What, When, and How

Posted 12-23-2014 at 09:24 PM by Legacybilliards
Updated 12-23-2014 at 09:28 PM by Legacybilliards

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Contrary to popular belief no matter how hard beginning players try to coax their ball into the target pocket, their efforts usually fall short. Yelling, jumping up and down, or even impassioned pleas up towards the pool Gods in the sky seldom make a difference. These realizations come with time, but when they finally click it’s a relief to the players and everyone around them.

As players progress in skill level they cross through a veil into a realm where English doesn't mean simply talking to their cue ball. This sudden awareness and peace of mind opens up new opportunities never before considered. Whereas the original goal while learning the game was wholly based on not scratching off the cue ball, leveraging shot speed, and position play – playing with English opens up a whole new world of possibilities.

English in layman’s terms is a technique in billiards that uses side spin on the cue ball to open up more options on possible shots or position play. True English only involves targeted strikes to the right or left of the invisible vertical plain running down the center of the cue ball. Draw shots (under center) and follow through shots (over center) are sometime mistakenly included when players discuss English but in reality they are just basic variations of the stop shot (straight on center) that is first developed.

Basic Physics
In pool terms, when applying English there are side effects called Deflection and Throw. Deflection means the cue ball tends to travel in the opposite direction of the English applied. Throw means that when a cue ball withEnglish hits the target ball, the energy is transferred in the opposite direction (IE: a cue ball with right English spins counter-clockwise and will "throw" the target ball into a clockwise spin). It is also very important to consider that shooting with English is not an exact science and experience is the only thing that will help a player estimate the amount of Deflection and Throw that will occur.

Basic Influences on Deflection and Throw
• Stroke Speed
• Spin on the Cue Ball
• Shot Distance
• Pool Table Cloth

Below we will discuss the four basic types of English including when and how they should be used.

• Left English – This is hitting the cue ball to the left of center. The "deflection" will cause the cue ball to travel slightly to the right of the stroke. Most often used for thin cut shots where the player wants the cue ball to slightly hook into place at the end of the shot by intentionally relying on Deflection. Because the cue ball will be moving in a clockwise motion, the Throw on the target ball will spin it counter-clockwise.
• Right English – This shot is the same as Left English only to the right of center on the cue. Deflection will cause the cue ball to drift to the left of the stroke and throw will cause counter-clockwise spin that translates to clockwise on the target ball.
• Low English – Provides backspin to either right of left English. Useful in shot placement.
• High English – Provides top spin or follow-through to right and left English. Useful in shot placement.

Note: Modest variations will include High Left, High Right, Low Left, and Low Right. The Deflection and Throw effects will still apply to any combination.
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