Shooting Hard vs Rolling the Ball.

FeelDaShot

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Over the past year I've received feedback from a few different opponents saying that I'm shooting too hard. At first, I didn't think much of it since I was playing position fine and not overrunning shape very much. However, after hearing it a few more times I started to practice slowing down and finessing my shots more delicately but I still didn't quite understand the issue with my shot speed.

Last night I think I finally figured out what's going on. I realized that I don't roll the cue ball much prior to object ball contact. I'm stunning most of my shots rather than letting the cue start to roll a few inches prior to contact.

I think I picked up this habit subconsciously for the following reasons:
1. I don't trust most tables to be level so when the ball is rolling I'm worried that it will drift off line.
2. When using english, I'm concerned that I'll miss the shot due to cue ball swerve. Which I've never been confident at predicting.
3. When using english, I'm concerned that that side spin will wear off once the cue ball starts rolling forward.

Anyways, last night I spent a little time running balls while focusing on letting the cue ball start rolling prior to contact as much as possible. In some situations this wasn't the best choice for position but I just wanted to work on my ball pocketing with a rolling cue ball, especially when using english.

To my surprise, most of my concerns above turned out to be non-sense. I was still able to hit the ball at a medium pace to avoid any table roll offs. At a medium pace, the swerve wasn't as significant as I thought it would be and can easily be adjusted for. And lastly, the spin didn't really wear off too much once the cue ball started rolling forward (which I still don't fully understand the physics behind *shrug*). Also, I was pocketing balls better than ever because the contact throw is pretty negligible with a rolling cue ball. Shooting harder with stun was making my ball pocketing overly difficult and I was spending extra energy doing it.

I know you can't roll in all of your shots but I'm going to keep working on these shots until I master them so I can add them to my shot repertoire for when needed. Hopefully sharing this experience can help some of you as well. Cheers!
 

Bob Jewett

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Not necessarily. On a surprising number of shots, I've noticed that you have the option of forcing the cue ball into position or rolling it into position.
Probably not the same position unless the shot is straight. I'm talking about the type of position Mosconi played and the type I think players should aspire to: on a dime. If your only concern is to get on the correct side of the next ball, then lots of different hits will work.
 

BasementDweller

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I think the main reason players avoid rolling the ball - is because it hides their stroke flaws. Yeah I'm pointing the finger at you - BasementDweller. Huh?

If you are hitting firm all the time, you may be masking those slight stroke wobbles. Instead work on both, hitting the ball firm or even hard and then hitting the ball so soft it barely reaches the pocket.

Knowing you can roll a ball in like Ralph Souquet gives you a level of confidence that few players have. I think Ralph is probably the best ball roller of all time.
 

Zerksies

Well-known member
I think the main reason players avoid rolling the ball - is because it hides their stroke flaws. Yeah I'm pointing the finger at you - BasementDweller. Huh?

If you are hitting firm all the time, you may be masking those slight stroke wobbles. Instead work on both, hitting the ball firm or even hard and then hitting the ball so soft it barely reaches the pocket.

Knowing you can roll a ball in like Ralph Souquet gives you a level of confidence that few players have. I think Ralph is probably the best ball roller of all time.
100% Agreement on this.

I can tell how good a player is by the way the sound of the ball as they pocket it.

All good players are not slamming the ball into the pocket.

Basic pool ball physics, the harder you hit the ball the smaller the pocket gets and more precise you need to hit the ball. If you hit the ball softer the more slop you have in pocketing the ball.
 

MitchAlsup

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I think I picked up this habit subconsciously for the following reasons:
1. I don't trust most tables to be level so when the ball is rolling I'm worried that it will drift off line.
3-shot warmup can read the lean of the table
2. When using english, I'm concerned that I'll miss the shot due to cue ball swerve. Which I've never been confident at predicting.
Simple lack of pracice, here.
3. When using english, I'm concerned that that side spin will wear off once the cue ball starts rolling forward.
That is not how sidespin works. Sidespin gets applied as the cue-tip hits the cue-ball. Afterwards the sidespin moves ON the rotational axis such that the CB rolls straight with higher angular momentum than without. The swerve is the side spin getting transferred from original inclination to the final orientation.
 

BasementDweller

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
100% Agreement on this.

I can tell how good a player is by the way the sound of the ball as they pocket it.

All good players are not slamming the ball into the pocket.

Basic pool ball physics, the harder you hit the ball the smaller the pocket gets and more precise you need to hit the ball. If you hit the ball softer the more slop you have in pocketing the ball.
I think we are more like 90% in agreement. While hitting the ball hard may reduce the size of the pocket for the ball, it may still INCREASE the likelihood of pocketing the ball, based on the player's preferred stroke. Rarely if ever, do players shoot as softly as possible and for good reason. A firm confident stroke may give a player the highest make percentage.

I don't think it's important to shoot soft because it gives you more pocket slop, I think it's just an important stroke to have in your bag. So I guess it's more of a stroke perspective than a table/ball one.
 

gregcantrall

Center Ball
Silver Member
Playing bar table 8 ball league, way back in the '80s:
The cueball had 3 varieties. The Punkin ball, the mud ball and the wire frame ball.
My biggest problem was playing for and getting Wire frame angles with the Punkin ball. 🤷‍♂️ As a Yute it bothered me to have the Old No Stroke Elmer Fudd looking opponent beat me. Then I learned. Well it took a while. 🤷‍♂️
 
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hang-the-9

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I think the main reason players avoid rolling the ball - is because it hides their stroke flaws. Yeah I'm pointing the finger at you - BasementDweller. Huh?

If you are hitting firm all the time, you may be masking those slight stroke wobbles. Instead work on both, hitting the ball firm or even hard and then hitting the ball so soft it barely reaches the pocket.

Knowing you can roll a ball in like Ralph Souquet gives you a level of confidence that few players have. I think Ralph is probably the best ball roller of all time.

If someone spends any time on tables not level, the idea or just rolling in the ball to the pocket, or even for a safe, would be a scarry thing LOL
But.. .that does not mean shoot it "hard", I tell people you want a decent firm stroke, even when getting action on the cueball, but not a "hard" shot.

I shoot the ball in, if not needed for position, at a fairly steady stroke where the balls goes "pop" in the pocket, I almost never shoot it soft so it just falls in. Probably my speed on a simple shot straight in, say the last ball on the table, would probably send it 3 or more feet past the pocket if there was no pocket there and the ball just kept going. Pocket speed have heard talk about is like 3-4 inches past the pocket.

I like to have a steady speed of the stroke, and adjust how the cueball reacts with tip position, of course for the situation that can change. My thought is, shoot the right speed for the shot. To me, that is never slow unless it's needed to roll the ball for next position or I'm trying to cheat the pocket or have it roll off the rail or something special not just straight in.
 

fjk

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I have an alternate opinion here. I notice most top players take a full, firm stroke and rarely hit soft. Shave and Jason Shaw are two examples that come to mind.

On a related note, the best bank pool players tend to hit most banks way harder than it seems they should. What's up with that?
 

Bob Jewett

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... On a related note, the best bank pool players tend to hit most banks way harder than it seems they should. What's up with that?
The idea is to get a sliding rather than a rolling object ball into the cushion. That avoids some problems and makes the angles more consistent. I think it's covered pretty well on Dr. Dave's site.
 

Bob Jewett

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Most snooker players play soft unless it's necessary for a more firm shot, should be the same with pool.
When they are working the reds around the black spot, soft rollers are frequent but they also play a lot of stuns and semi-stuns.

Snooker players also need a lot of soft hits when they are playing safe and often with a lot of side spin -- often lag speed.
 

lfigueroa

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
The brutal truth of the matter is that you need to be able to do both.

As Bob said, there's usually only one way to achieve a precise position. Sometimes that will be a slow roll and other times it'll take whacking the ball. If you only have one or the other in your tool box you will only get so far at the higher levels of play.

Lou Figueroa
 

fjk

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I grew up playing a lot of one pocket. Obviously in one pocket, there's a big advantage to rolling balls in (if you do miss, the ball stays close to your hole). Anyway, I feel very comfortable rolling balls in and I tend to shoot a lot of shots in 9 ball the same way. But...rolling balls in 9 ball is a disadvantage for the same reason (you tend to leave your missed shot very close to the hole...little chance of leaving a tough shot). Besides that, I personally believe taking a full, solid stroke tends to help accuracy.
 
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