Thursday, 9 August 2012

Cue ball sports dictionary!! Part 1

Please note --
Stun = stop shot, if it is a full ball hit as well.
Follow = Forward spin = high english
Top = extremely high english
Pull back = Backspin = low english = screw back
Bottom = extremely low english
Cue stick = cue = stick
CB = Cue ball, white (in most cases)
OB = Object ball, varies mostly throughout the game         
  1. Table - A snooker table is 12 ft x 6 ft, an English pool table is around 4 ft x 8 ft or 4.5 ft x 9 ft, an American pool table comes in 7, 8 and 9 ft. American pool tables generally require heavy balls than the English pool tables. I heard somewhere that certain snooker tables also require heavy balls and have huge pockets, but I'm not sure. Generally they require lighter balls, and I've been playing snooker using lighter balls for the past few years. All these tables have six pockets each, 4 at the corners, and two at the centers of the long rails. Then there are tables which do not have any pocket at all. They are used for games such as 1 cushion and 3 cushion billiards, and maybe even carom pool, if such a game exists. I could practice it all day.
  2. Cue stick - A cue stick is used to strike the cue ball. It generally comes in 3 sizes; one piece, 2 piece and three quarter 2 piece. This can be made of materials such as ash, maple etc. It is the only weapon which you will have, but you can do wonders to the cue ball and the object ball with just the cue stick, so choose wisely.
  3. Cue Ball (CB) - This is the white colored ball which you will strike with your cue stick. In most games, you commit a foul if your cue ball enters any cushion. You will have to control the cue ball throughout the game. You can do this using stun, roll, follow, screw back, and other shots such as stun run through, a little top side with lots of speed, to roll the cue ball just a little bit forward, etc. The list is endless. You can go one, two or even multiple rails. If you are a beginner, do not think about rails for now. Don't worry, it will come in due time. Remember one thing, that the cue ball will spin if you apply the required side, but it will start losing it due to friction as soon as you strike it. How long the spin stays depends on the speed of the shot and the amount of spin put among other factors such as how many rails the CB has travelled.
  4. Object Ball (OB) - This is the ball which your cue ball will strike. In most of the games, you have to try and pot the OB using the CB, and then move to the next OB. Notice the acronyms, I will be using them throughout my writings. So basically, your target is the Object Ball (OB). In some games such as snooker, some object balls are replaced after a successful pot, except when no reds remain on the table. 
  5. Pot - A pot is made when the object ball goes inside the pocket, and the cue ball doesn't. It is said to be a perfect pot, when the cue ball finishes at a good distance and at the required angle for potting the next object ball and making call for the 3rd object ball. Don't think this ahead if you are just a beginner. First focus on just potting the OB. Then when you are comfortable enough (should not take more than a week), start thinking where your cue ball will land for the next shot. Play like that for a while for every shot. If you are a seasoned player and want to make bigger breaks and are not thinking at least 3 balls ahead, start doing so ASAP.
  6. Miss - When you are not able to pot the object ball, it is said to be a 'miss'. A good miss is when your cue ball lands safe so that your opponent is not able to play the next shot easily. A perfect miss is defined when your opponent is left snookered behind another ball. It is extremely difficult to make a perfect miss, so don't even think about it if you are not a seasoned player. Instead, look at opportunities. Take for example a long red when your white is in the baulk. If it is easy, you can play it for the black. Otherwise you can come back two or even 3 or 4 cushions for any of the baulk colours. You can decide the number of cushions on the probability of the 'pot'.
  7. Stun - If the CB travels at a path perpendicular to the path travelled by the OB,  after the CB hits the OB, it is called a stun shot. It can be used to control the Cue ball all across the table. Since the path travelled is perpendicular to the one travelled by the OB, it is easy to judge its motion. After you have learnt the technique and can stun at will, you can start hitting the CB with a little follow or pullback and  let the cue ball run at angles lesser than and greater than 90 degrees, thereby controlling its path even more effectively.
  8. Follow - If you hit the CB above center, it will move forward after hitting the OB. Sometimes even if you hit it below center it will move a little forward especially on long shots. You can start practicing for a follow shot by placing the blue on its spot and the white around 4-5 inches behind it and in line with the opposite side pocket. Try to pocket both the blue and the white in the same shot and in the same pocket. Increase the distance between white and blue once you are successfully able to do for shorter distances. Then move to the longer pockets opposite to each other. Do it for all pockets to get a real feel of the table.
  9. Pull back - If you hit the CB below center, it will come back after hitting the OB, unless all the backward spin produced is lost due to factors such as friction, speed etc. The CB cannot come back at all after hitting high on it, unless you are doing some kind of masse shot, maybe when the the 2 balls are close to each other. Start practicing for the backspin or the screw back shot by again placing the blue on its spot and the white around 4-5 inches behind it and in line with the opposite side pocket. Try to pocket both the blue and the white in the same shot and in different side pockets. Increase the distance between white and blue once you are successfully able to do for shorter distances. Then move to the longer pockets opposite to each other. Practice on all sides of the table for the optimum effect. 
  10. Natural Roll - Whenever you hit the cue ball at normal speed and a little to somewhat high english, it travels at an angle roughly equal to 30 degrees. This angle is applicable for cuts between 1/4th ball to 3/4th ball. To travel the path more accurately, you have to remember that the cue-ball deflects most when OB is hit half ball, and least when it is hit 1/4th and 3/4th ball.
  11. Safety - When there is no clear shot to the object ball, or the shot looks dangerous, you can play a safety shot and hopefully give your opponent a difficult next shot. This will ensure that he doesn't score and maybe even give you an easy next shot. Basically you just have to clip a red, and send it towards / inside the baulk area (see below), either directly, or by making it travel multiple rails
  12. Baulk area - Baulk area is the rectangular region behind the green-brown-yellow line. It is known as a safe area, because first it creates a distance between the reds and the white and second you have a chance of either sticking to the cushion, pocket jaws or going behind one of the 'baulk colors' to give your opponent a difficult snooker to break.