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helping side...

Postby rekoons

I’ve been trying to put in a conscious effort to improve this kind of shot that I hate: white low on the black thinnish contact to a blind pocket like this (no idea if this is ¼ or whatever so this illustrates better):

Image

Always have mixed results with this one playing plain ball, missing mostly thick, so this got me thinking about the push effect (object ball shortly getting dragged a tiny amount in the direction the cue ball is traveling), which in this case might explain missing it thick.

I also remember videos by Barry Stark, Barton snooker and Break from life guy about playing these thin shots with helping side: for a left cut helping side means applying right hand side, for a cut to the right helping side is left hand side.

I always avoid using any side just because I don’t need it at my level, and hitting white dead center is challenging enough.

I was struggling with this shot yesterday again missing thick, and decided to apply some helping side, just for fun, and the result is CRAZY: I potted 18 out of 20 (9/10 both sides)! It was as if I couldn’t miss the pot! :dizzy:

I know transmitted side from CB to OB is a topic of discussion with believers and non believers, and honestly I don’t know what’s going on but something is definitely happening!

Non believers say it’s just the white arcing around (like a swerve) and hitting the OB from a different angle, but how can this be the case in this situation? Helping side here should arc the white in the wrong direction resulting in a thicker contact.

I lined up and got down to the shots plain ball, aiming on the same spot on the black as before when I was missing thick (so not taking in account the different line of aim when using side) and then during my feathers shifted a tip left or right and played the stroke as ‘normal’.

Anyway, they went in so easy it almost felt like cheating :-D

have to experiment some more though...

Re: helping side...

Postby Johnny Bravo

Nice picture. I always play these with side. Then again, I play 90% of my shots with side :chuckle:
This is not a very hard shot, so I'm glad you mastered it. :spot on: :wave:

Re: helping side...

Postby Holden Chinaski

Johnny Bravo wrote:I always play these with side. Then again, I play 90% of my shots with side :chuckle:

Footage pending.

Re: helping side...

Postby Prop

Holden Chinaski wrote:
Johnny Bravo wrote:I always play these with side. Then again, I play 90% of my shots with side :chuckle:

Footage pending.


<laugh>

Re: helping side...

Postby Prop

rekoons wrote:Non believers say it’s just the white arcing around (like a swerve) and hitting the OB from a different angle, but how can this be the case in this situation? Helping side here should arc the white in the wrong direction resulting in a thicker contact.


Pace determines this. If you were to play the pot hard, it would initially push the cueball quite a lot, and it wouldn’t have chance to arc back on line before striking the object ball. Play it dead-weight, and not only does the cueball initially push much less, but it also has a chance to arc before striking the object ball.

All those things need to be hardwired into your approach to any shot played with side.

As for why a pot can be ‘helped’ with side, well it’s probably not something I could properly explain. There will be transfer of side to some extent (depending on how full the contact is and the pace it’s played at) but it’s as much about feel as anything else.

Re: helping side...

Postby rekoons

Second try at playing these with side, similar result: (much) better pot succes rate than playing plain ball.

Prop: yes I feel pace is key, I roll them in gently, not dead weight but they don't hit the back leather either. White ends up just high on the blue or between blue and baulk colours.

Re: helping side...

Postby Dan-cat

This really doesn't make much sense... Much like my explorations with transmitted side on long cut back doubles.

What I mean is, if you hit the right part of the object ball plain ball, they will go in. So why does the side help?

Re: helping side...

Postby rekoons

:shrug:

You tell me... It doesn't make any sense to me as well, but they do go in a lot more...

Re: helping side...

Postby Prop

rekoons wrote:Second try at playing these with side, similar result: (much) better pot succes rate than playing plain ball.

Prop: yes I feel pace is key, I roll them in gently, not dead weight but they don't hit the back leather either. White ends up just high on the blue or between blue and baulk colours.


Yeah I was just using dead weight as an example against hitting the cueball hard to explain the differences between the two extremes. There are two things* going on before the white strikes the object ball - the initial push/deflection in the opposite direction to the side you play with, and then the arc of the white back in the direction of the side you play with. Then on contact with the object ball, spin transfer comes into it to a significant or negligible effect like I mentioned in my last post.

It does work. And like I said before, it’s not easy to explain why. Here’s something to try: Play the pot with the opposite side to what you’re using to help the pot now. It’ll be harder to pot it than even striking plain ball. It will feel counterintuitive and unnatural. Hence why they talk about ‘natural’ side (and part of the reason Higgins sat nodding his approval at Trump’s deep screw with left shot up and down the table at the 2019 WC IIRC).

*actually three things if you play against the nap towards baulk, but that’s another discussion for another day <laugh>

Re: helping side...

Postby Prop

Dan-cat wrote:This really doesn't make much sense... Much like my explorations with transmitted side on long cut back doubles.

What I mean is, if you hit the right part of the object ball plain ball, they will go in. So why does the side help?


I’ve heard the Nugget try and explain it once, and the best he could offer was that it helps you ‘feel’ the shot :shrug:

Re: helping side...

Postby Iranu

Dan-cat wrote:This really doesn't make much sense... Much like my explorations with transmitted side on long cut back doubles.

What I mean is, if you hit the right part of the object ball plain ball, they will go in. So why does the side help?

Maybe deliberately putting side on stops you accidentally flicking a random bit on and throwing the ball

Re: helping side...

Postby rekoons

Iranu wrote:
Dan-cat wrote:This really doesn't make much sense... Much like my explorations with transmitted side on long cut back doubles.

What I mean is, if you hit the right part of the object ball plain ball, they will go in. So why does the side help?

Maybe deliberately putting side on stops you accidentally flicking a random bit on and throwing the ball


Yeah, I've heard that argument as well, the reasoning is indeed along the lines that it could be easier to consistently put the same amount of side on than it is to consistently hit the center... I don't really think so myself but understand the reasoning. maybe it IS the reason after all, who knows...

I absolutely want to avoid playing with side as much as possible, but for this particular angle it seems to help.

Re: helping side...

Postby Prop

Iranu wrote:
Dan-cat wrote:This really doesn't make much sense... Much like my explorations with transmitted side on long cut back doubles.

What I mean is, if you hit the right part of the object ball plain ball, they will go in. So why does the side help?

Maybe deliberately putting side on stops you accidentally flicking a random bit on and throwing the ball


This actually makes a bit of sense. In the same way a slightly off-straight 7 foot pot is often easier than a dead straight equivalent. Majority of snooker players will relate to this (not the top top players, dead straight is fine for them) but club players.

Also, playing with side gives a bit of extra control in that you can alter the potting angle depending on pace rather than alignment. A bit like a car sliding around a racetrack, the driver will steer the car on the throttle rather than with the steering wheel. It’s that ‘feel’ thing.

Re: helping side...

Postby acesinc

Good morning, gents. (Sexist bias on my part, I know.) This is another topic in which I take great interest. As Johnny said far above, I also play the vast majority of my strokes with some side, albeit usually slight and there are a couple reasons for that.

I continue to be amazed at Prop's coaching ability, bravo! You have a way of making a statement so that it is logical and impactful. However, with the greatest respect Prop, I think we are not quite on the same page for this one. Sadly, I will need to repeat a statement that I have made many times before. I am a natural snooker player, one of the very few American snooker players you will find. Most "snooker players" over here really play a lot of American pool then get on the snooker table occasionally so they transfer over many bad habits. I played pool as a teenager, studied it in some detail so I learned the jargon, then discovered Snooker at 19 years old and never looked back. And while in general, the instruction in Snooker is miles ahead of the instruction in Pool, for some reason this is an area where Snooker instruction lags. I have always thought that, for this concept at least, the terminology used in Snooker is inadequate and the terminology of the Pool world is far more descriptive and useful. I say this because in the OP, Rekoons uses the term "helping side" which demonstrates the lack of clarity of Snooker vernacular. Helping Side is a term I understand to have a different meaning than Rekoons uses here. In fact, the effect you are seeing, Rekoons, I am not even aware that there is an accepted "snooker term" for it. But there is a Pool term....Cut Induced Throw. And to counteract the cut induced throw, you have been testing the application of "outside english" (the proper Pool term for what you are calling "helping side"). For some reason, the English (people) seem to take the American Pool term "english" (yes, properly it is NOT capitalized) to be a slur or insult; in fact, it is a compliment as long ago, the pioneer American pool players were astounded at the English players' abilities to induce spins on the balls and thus was the action descriptively dubbed as "english" this side of the pond.

As for "helping side", in American pool, this is termed as Spin Induced Throw. Dr. Dave, the world authority for all things related to the physics of cue sports, likes to call this SIT (and Cut Induced Throw CIT) but I am not real keen on those acronyms. As everyone on the Island knows, I don't mind typing out the few extra letters required for the proper name just to save a few keystrokes with the acronym.

So what is "outside english" and why doesn't snooker have a name for it? The Break From Life guy on YouTube has been doing several videos lately of exactly this phenomenon and he is doing a great job of it. If I recall, I think he is calling Rekoons' effect "Impact Throw" which I have not heard bandied about before in the Snooker world. I don't know if he came up with the term or if it is beginning to be used universally for snooker but obviously, this term "impact throw" has borrowed from the American terminology. "Outside english" then is the antidote to the poison of "impact throw".

Every step forward, I need to take two steps back to define things........what is impact throw? Dr. Dave calls this effect "Cut Induced Throw". He likes to call it CIT; I don't. I will assume everyone knows the squeeze effect in snooker whereby a seemingly dead plant will be "thrown" offline depending on where the cueball strikes it. Well.....impact throw is exactly the same thing, except that there is no plant set. It is simply that the surface friction between the cue ball and the object ball cause them to cling together for a fraction of a second upon contact causing the object ball to go off at a (very slightly) unexpected angle rather than the mathematically perfect expected angle. In Rekoons' description, he would always miss thick.

This is totally normal; it is NOT a kick. In fact, a kick is really exactly the same thing except that it is greatly amplified. Sort of like comparing a normal light, summer breeze to a raging hurricane. Wind. Same thing, just to different degrees. So this happens all the time and in general, players are probably not even aware of it, even pros. When a player has a lot of experience, that generally just allows instinct and muscle memory to kick in and play the pot correctly even if the effect is not exactly understood.

But.....if you apply Outside English, you will compensate for Cut Induced Throw, or Impact Throw, or whatever else you might want to call it, and the object ball will go off on the expected line as Rekoons discovered. Why does outside english work? There are many, many ways to strike the cue ball: center, top, bottom, left, right, and innumerable combinations of all of those. I will cite only two in order to simplify and compare: stun and outside english.

The term "stun" means that at impact, the cue ball is in a state of sliding on the cloth. It is NOT rolling. It may have various spins on it as it slides and it will still be called "stun" but at its simplest, let's say the cue ball slides perfectly from the cue tip to impact with the object ball, not even a hint of a spin on it. When impact occurs, there is normal surface friction between the two balls and they cling together for an instant. How strong this effect is has many variables: how clean/dirty the surfaces are, the angle of approach of the cue ball, the speed at which the stroke is played, and.........any initial spin that may have been applied to the cue ball. The last is the special one that we will discuss regarding outside english.

But if cue ball is struck perfectly center ball and slides into the object ball at an angle, Rekoons noticed that he misses the pot thick. This should now be obvious that the cue ball sort of "grabs" the object ball a little bit and gives it a bit of a "twist" which throws it off the expected line. Just slightly. The effect is small but enough to miss many pots.

Outside english then would be to apply a small amount (between half tip and full tip) of side which is opposite (outside) the direction the object ball will be cut. So cutting the Black to the left? Apply 3/4 tip of right side. The reason this works is because unlike the glancing blow of contact, the spin applied to the cue ball allows it to "roll" sideways off of the object ball. The cue ball doesn't "grab" like I described before because instead it simply "rolls off" the side of the object.

Weird. But true. Here is an analogy...... When you watch a tv/movie shot of an airplane coming in for a landing, the sequence is always the same: as the plane approaches, the wheels are down but not rolling (because they are not motorized), the plane "bumps" the ground to start the wheels rolling (and we hear the squeal of rubber hitting road in the movie) and the plane lifts back up bucking a little unpredictably, then the plane comes down smoothly as the spinning wheels now make contact with the pavement. So impact throw is that first bump.....non-moving wheels "grabbing" the non-moving pavement with mildly violent reaction; friction. And outside english is the second landing.....the now spinning wheels smoothly contacting the pavement so everything acts as expected.

________________________________________

I was also going to write a bit about WHY I rarely hit center ball, but I need to get to work so that will need to wait.

Re: helping side...

Postby rekoons

Hi Ace, we were expecting you <laugh>

I do think I am referring to the same terminology here: when I say ‘helping side’ I mean applying side (‘outside english’)so that the ‘Spin Induced Throw’ (SIT) cancels out, or compensates for, the ‘Cut Induced Throw’ (CIT) (aka ‘impact throw’).

What is puzzling to me is that I see great improvement in potting while NOT changing my line of aim when playing with side compared to plain striking. i.e. the same aiming result in a lot more thick misses striking plain ball compared to applying helping side (outside English).

Most logical explanation would be that I am aiming wrong in the first place (as Dan suggests), and that I miss thick striking plain because of CIT. but I ‘feel’ as if I do already aim thinner to compensate for CIT.

If indeed I still aim too thick while applying helping side (remember I don’t change aim) and the ball goes in while playing at a gentle pace than that suggests to me it is the combination of SIT and the soft pace that makes the pot. Playing it gentle would prevent the white to arc much.

Continuing this logic then: hitting with a firmer pace would arc the white more and at that point you would have to allow for this in your aiming (a cut to the left with right hand side on would mean you have to aim more to the right of the object ball, as in hitting it even thinner).

This is then the ‘feel’ for the shot that Prop is on about.

Does that make sense?

Re: helping side...

Postby Prop

Great post, Aces :hatoff:

I think we are on the same page on the whole, except the part where we talk about the actual impact between cueball and object ball. I’ve learnt from what you’ve said here. And it makes sense to me. So, it’s much less about spin transfer as I initially assumed, but in fact this ‘rolling’ motion of the cueball when played with ‘helping side’ or whatever we’re calling it, rather than that unwanted grip on impact when playing plain ball. The majority of my input was discussing what happens to the cueball before impact with object ball, which leads me on to my reply to Rekoons:

I think you’ve got the idea, Rekoons, but it’s probably helpful to clarify a bit of terminology. And that’s the distinction between deflection and arc (at least in the terms I’ve used).

When you first strike the cueball with side, the immediate effect is deflection, not arc. So hit the white with extreme right spin, and the white deflects to the left.

After that initial deflection, then it arcs. So on that same shot, after deflecting to the left, the white arcs to the right.

My racecar analogy is something I stand by, and I just hope I’m communicating it as well as I hope. The pace you strike the white (in combination with the amount of spin applied) will determine how much the white initially deflects, and then (to a lesser extent) how much it arcs back the other way.

You can try this:

Line up a pot, about a foot between white and object ball. Maintain an identical potting angle to the object ball with each shot, and strike the white in exactly the same place (let’s say 2 tips worth of right spin) on each shot. The only thing you change is the pace you play the shot at. Play the first shot at dead weight. The next shot slightly harder. Then at mid pace. Harder again. Then very hard.

You’ll see that the object ball is sent at a different angle every time. This shows the relationship between spin and pace, the deflection, and the arc.

In more detail, the analogy is that the throttle pedal of the racecar represents the pace you put into each shot, and the steering wheel represents the angle you line the pot up. In both cases, the steering wheel stays in the same position, as does the potting angle remain identical. The car can be steered on the throttle, just like the trajectory of a cueball (and therefore the trajectory of the object ball it strikes) played with side spin can be altered depending on the pace you play it.

Hopefully this doesn’t confuse matters further <laugh>
Last edited by Prop on 03 Nov 2021, edited 1 time in total.

Re: helping side...

Postby Prop

RunningSide wrote:Instead of computing all those calculations just play safe off the green.


<laugh>

Re: helping side...

Postby rekoons

Prop wrote:So, it’s much less about spin transfer as I initially assumed, but in fact this ‘rolling’ motion of the cueball when played with ‘helping side’ or whatever we’re calling it, rather than that unwanted grip on impact when playing plain ball. laugh


Now that you reformulate it like that I think my penny has finally dropped, I'm a bit slow today lol.

Makes sense yes.

Thanks for the input guys. :bowdown:

Re: helping side...

Postby acesinc

rekoons wrote:
Prop wrote:So, it’s much less about spin transfer as I initially assumed, but in fact this ‘rolling’ motion of the cueball when played with ‘helping side’ or whatever we’re calling it, rather than that unwanted grip on impact when playing plain ball. laugh


Now that you reformulate it like that I think my penny has finally dropped, I'm a bit slow today lol.

Makes sense yes.

Thanks for the input guys. :bowdown:


Again, props to Prop. He has the patience to cut through my gobbledygook, slash away at the nonsense, decipher the usable content, and present it as a simple, logical, clear statement. Thanks, Prop.

I have more that I wish to say on the topic but in the middle of my busy work day now so I will try to get back to it tonight.
Last edited by acesinc on 05 Nov 2021, edited 1 time in total.

Re: helping side...

Postby chengdufan

Rekoons, you know you have to pot a red first, right?

Re: helping side...

Postby chengdufan

edit: double post

Re: helping side...

Postby acesinc

chengdufan wrote:Rekoons, you know you have to pot a red first, right?


<laugh>


I will try to get a few more words in on topic but I fear that I may erupt some controversy. First, let me say that I don't mean to be pedantic with semantics, but my point is that for some very strange reason, American Pool rather than Snooker has evolved a better understanding of tiny, very subtle directional changes in the motions of billiard balls, despite the fact that a long pot on a Snooker table is akin to a sniper shot from 500 meters while the longest pot on an American Pool table merely needs to be shoved in the correct general compass direction and it will fall in the hole swallowed up by massive pockets. Makes no sense to me. You would think it should be the other way 'round.

But the fact remains, the Snooker world has a poor understanding of throw despite its potential massive usefulness. So I will take a few more paragraphs to separate a couple of points. Snooker uses the term "helping side". This is a sort of muddy, universal phrase, not very specific. I have always took helping side to mean (American Pool term) Spin Induced Throw as demonstrated many decades ago in this video by the late, great Jack Karnehm. (I apologize for the awful sound quality; I am no movie sound engineer, simply couldn't fix it. Some transcript in the description.) The most important bit of the video begins at 1:20 if you want to jump straight to it. :



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I8p_XeckYEg

So this is SIT or Rotational Throw, because the initial spin on White transfers a tiny bit of spin to object so that it goes off in a very slightly different direction than "normal". The reason this is "helping" is because it allows you to strike an object thicker to hold your White position while the object acts like it has been struck thinner to be potted. Amazing! As Jack says, "...you will find that it will crop up in so many variations, but the point is you have the principle in mind." In essence, this is using Side or spin on the White for the purpose of making the object ball act in an unnatural way. SIT is something that we, as the striker, do purposefully to get a specific result on the Snooker (Pool) table.

Then there is Cut Induced Throw, CIT, or Directional Throw, or sometimes even Push. CIT is not something the striker does; it is simply the Laws of Physics in action. The surfaces of the balls naturally wish to cling together for an instant and that friction is enough to change the path of the object slightly. The simplest example of this (and this will be the first controversy...) is when the White position is left poorly below the Black so the Black must be thin snicked into a corner pocket with a rest.
............

Intermission to explain the controversy; probably my pedantics with semantics again, but I wish to be clear in my meaning. For literally centuries, hundreds of years to be clear, the English Billiard Table has had a clearly defined anatomy: the Baulk end is the "bottom" of the table, the Black Spot end (formerly known as the "Spot" end but if I call it that, I will confuse you even more) is the "top" end. It is as if you are standing at the D to break off and you look at the table....the cushion at your waist is the Bottom, and the distant end where you must contact Red is the Top and all other definitions evolve from there. So if you were playing for Black and your White ends up too near cushion, you are really "ABOVE" the Black. And if you have the thin cut I described with the White between Pink and Black, then you are "BELOW" the Black (and also "ABOVE" the Pink).

Then some idiot in the 20th century invents television and some other bigger idiot decides to display a snooker table on television upside down and some idiot commentator chimes in by watching and describing and misleading the viewing audience about how they are seeing the anatomy of the snooker table, and there you go, hundreds of years of history erased due to the modern fad of technology.

So throughout MY writing, I will always refer to the proper anatomical descriptions of the table and ball positions. Please try not to be confused by the misinformation that you have been fed for your entire snooker viewing lives.

End intermission...

So then, back to our thin snick of the Black with a rest from a poor position below it (between Pink and Black spots). You strike it and it "feels" like you got the perfect angle. Black heads toward the corner pocket and......bumps the top (Black) cushion just an inch or two before the pocket for a missed pot. It seemed perfect, you thought you made a great recovery. But the Laws of Physics got in the way. It wasn't anything you did or didn't do as the striker, that is just the way Life works, Cut Induced Throw.

So to make a pot like that, the striker has two options: 1) make a guess as to how much thinner to contact the Black to compensate for the Cut Induced Throw that will happen, or 2) counteract the natural tendency of CIT and impart a small amount (1/2 tip, 3/4 tip) of side OUTSIDE the direction of the cut.....cutting the Black to the left, play with right side. Number 1) is purely guesswork, inconsistent, but it is the way the situation is nearly always handled. I would suggest that generally, players have no idea they are handling this "problem" this way because they don't even realize that the "problem" exists. It is just instinct from previous experience. As for option number 2), you may call this "helping side" if you wish, but I won't because I feel that will muddy the waters of the definitions of things more than they already are, exactly like the guy who put a snooker table on television upside down. I hope this has helped to better explain and differentiate a striker USING Spin Induced Throw (Helping Side) for a specific purpose, as opposed to a striker UNDERSTANDING the concept of Cut Induced Throw (Impact Throw) which will happen, like it or not, so if the striker is clever, he can take a counteractive measure to CIT which is outside english (no snooker equivalent term as far as I am aware). So I don't consider outside english to be equivalent to helping side because the outside english is not CAUSING the object ball to be thrown at all. Quite the opposite, the outside english is actively PREVENTING the object ball from being thrown. And that is the reason why Rekoons potted 18 out of 20.

Keep doing what you are doing, Rekoons. The better you understand this, the easier the pots will fall.

I have a bit more to say (of course) but the precise topic will be altered so I will post separately.

Re: helping side...

Postby acesinc

rekoons wrote:
Iranu wrote:
Dan-cat wrote:This really doesn't make much sense... Much like my explorations with transmitted side on long cut back doubles.

What I mean is, if you hit the right part of the object ball plain ball, they will go in. So why does the side help?

Maybe deliberately putting side on stops you accidentally flicking a random bit on and throwing the ball


Yeah, I've heard that argument as well, the reasoning is indeed along the lines that it could be easier to consistently put the same amount of side on than it is to consistently hit the center... I don't really think so myself but understand the reasoning. maybe it IS the reason after all, who knows...

I absolutely want to avoid playing with side as much as possible, but for this particular angle it seems to help.


I have some time available while I wait for a truck so I will add a bit to my novella. Perhaps it will be a full fledged novel before I am through. Take note of the bolded bit above.

In my previous post, I hope I emphasized the advantage of occasionally adding Spin Induced Throw or Helping Side to re-direct the object ball onto an unnatural path. That is far, far from the whole story. Now, I will make my second, certain-to-be-controversial statement...contrary to popular belief, adding side to the White is NOT in fact responsible for causing the White to swerve, or arc if you prefer. I expect to see the pitchforks and torches on the horizon now. In fact, I can very easily present some evidence to you from no less than the great Jack Karnehm himself to back up this bold claim. But first I must quantify what I mean that the side is not responsible for the swerve; of course it is! It is just not responsible in and of itself. It is absolutely possible to strike the White in a perfectly measureable straight line while adding a fair amount of sidespin to it. Pros do it all the time; myself and probably most of the amateurs on Snooker Island, not so much. Be patient, it will take quite a bit of time for me to get around to stating what it is that actually makes the White swerve or arc.

I have sifted through a fair amount of instructional materials in my time and among my most treasured possessions are two books from the father of Snooker, Joe Davis. I occasionally loan out some instructional materials and have lost a couple things as a result. However, no one gets their hands on my Joe Davis books unless I am there to oversee. The books don't leave my prying eyes in the presence of others. One of the most profound of the many nuggets of information that is ingrained in my brain goes something like this, "The difference between a professional player and an amateur is that a professional strikes the White ball precisely where he intends to." That may not seem like much. But it is huge. That is exactly what the scene in The Rack Pack is about where Steve Davis just keeps repeatedly striking the White off the Black cushion while the other guy holds a cue on top of his head to keep him still. Profound.

What does that mean for the rest of us? I am a mechanical engineer by nature. My brain has numbers and percentages constantly swirling around inside. A mechanical engineering principle is that however you may wish to design a machined part, it can never be EXACTLY what you designed it to be. Oh, it will be very, very close but not perfect. If I design a steel cube exactly 1 inch by 1 inch by 1 inch and I want a 1/4 inch diameter hole exactly in the center of one face through to the other side, then THAT design is the one thing that I cannot possibly get machined. It is called TOLERANCING. Maybe one side is just a hair's width too wide or another side is a hair's width narrow, or the hole is just a touch too big, too small, or a tiny bit off center. But a machinist cannot possibly make the part exactly, precisely correct according to the design. Even if he could, it wouldn't stay correct for long. If steel warms up or cools down, even just a little bit, its dimensions will actually change. So the engineer designs the part so that it will serve its function even if it is a little bit off. Your snooker stroke should be designed the same way.

This is where Rekoons' bolded statement comes in. No offence to you of course Rekoons, but when you believe that you are hitting the White center ball, you probably are not. I know that I am not. That is what Joe Davis is saying. In engineer-speak, Joe Davis means that a professional has a very tight tolerance as to where he strikes the cue ball, perhaps plus or minus a millimeter, too small to even talk about in terms of tip diameter. Me? I have no simple way of measuring it, but just by logic, I expect that the tolerance of my striking White is probably much closer to plus or minus a half cue tip, especially if I am playing a very firm stroke. In millimeters then, that means where I think I am striking (center ball), I may be rather close, but I may be putting 4 or 5 mm of RIGHT hand side, or perhaps 4 or 5 mm of LEFT hand side on the White. Maybe more. THIS in fact is the reason that I rarely strike center ball. Except for long potting or long safety snicks for obvious reasons. If (because I don't have the time or desire to practice six or eight hours a day like Steve Davis,) my cue tip is really going to sort of hover centered around a particular spot on the cue ball that I intend to strike, then I am better off to strike intending, say, a touch of right hand. In reality, I will either get a proper touch of right hand side, or a bit more than a touch of right hand side (but it will still be right hand side), or my tip may wander back toward center ball in which case White will probably travel a straighter line anyway. All those things are kinda good.

On the other hand, if I try to strike center ball, then in reality, I may get center ball, or I may get a bit of right hand side, or I may get a bit of left hand side. Now, apply THAT concept to your White ball above the Black scenario, Rekoons, with which you started this thread. Before you learned about the helpfulness of outside english, you would either pot or miss this shot seemingly arbitrarily. Sometimes they would go in, sometimes you would miss a little thick, and sometimes you would miss a lot thick. And all the while you were aiming the same way and you thought you were striking center ball. See a correlation here?

So when I look at any particular stroke (barring the long pots and safeties mentioned above) I decide is it better played with outside english (if directional throw will be a factor for thinner shots)? or better played with inside english (primarily used for positioning the White on rather thick shots; if you use inside english on thin shots, you will probably miss the pot near certain)? And whichever of those two is better suited (usually outside english maybe 8 to 1 ratio), I will align my tip half to three-quarter tip diameter off the vertical center line of the cue ball.

Of course, many strokes will need to be played with top spin or screw spin as well and this is where the danger comes in. Now we will finally get to why I said side spin does not cause White to swerve. Let's do a thought experiment...

~~~~~~~wavy lines~~~~~~~

Imagine you are a fantastic basketball player, say, at the level of a mediocre Harlem Globetrotter. You can spin a basketball perfectly vertical on your finger tip. I mean the South Pole of the spinning ball is on your finger, the North Pole is pointing directly, exactly away from the center of the earth. Now........move your finger away and allow the basketball to drop straight down toward the center of the earth (gravity). What happens? The ball hits the ground and it bounces....straight back up. Does it go left? right? forward? back? Why not? The exact South Pole of the ball hits the ground and it is spinning on a theoretical point mass. (In reality, of course, the ball will compress like a pancake so there is a surface contact and friction and a fair amount of the initial spin rate will be absorbed, so the actual RPM's of the ball will be reduced after the bounce.) So it will bounce perfectly straight back up despite the initial spin without any "swerve" or "arc" to any particular direction. But let's back up, go back to spinning the ball on your finger, but then before you release it to drop, pull your finger slowly to your body slightly so the ball "tilts on its axis" away from you, then allow the ball to drop. Now what happens? The answer of course depends on if the ball was spinning clockwise or anti-clockwise. It will either bounce to the left or the right. It wasn't the spin that made it change direction; it was the spin in conjunction with the tilt.

~~~~~~~~wavy lines back to snooker reality~~~~~~~~~~

So it is really the same thing on a snooker table. Undoubtedly, you have learned to hold your cue as horizontal as you possibly can. This is not just to look cool. If you strike off-center on the cue ball so that you impart side spin WITHOUT ANY TOP SPIN OR SCREW SPIN, the cue ball will travel away from the tip in a straight line without curving. The cue ball will simply begin sliding and spinning, balanced perfectly on its "South Pole". The cue ball will not swerve or arc at all. Now, in full disclosure, you will still see the squirt or deflection because that is a function of striking the cue ball off balance, not through the center of gravity......more mass is on one side of the vector of the impact path than the other. So the cue ball will still squirt one way or the other (depending which side you strike of course) and how far it squirts will depend of how far off center you initially struck. This is what Dr. Dave's equation would be all about that we discussed in passing in that other thread. But the thing is that if the cue is PERFECTLY horizontal (to be honest, that is virtually impossible) and strikes along the horizontal centerline (but not on the center point) and the path of the cue stick remains true and parallel to the slate, then the cue ball will deflect, but it will never arc back on line. But in real life, of course, other spins, top or screw, are applied either by accident or design. If we WANT to arc the cue ball back, we raise the butt of the cue up a bit. Jimmy White's famous Masse shot is the ultimate demonstration of this. In my opinion, quite possibly the single greatest exhibition shot ever produced for an audience:



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Sk9_hWUDZM

So imagine if Jimmy had elevated his cue to the extreme and simply struck down straight perfectly on the vertical centerline of the cue ball: White would have travelled out toward the Yellow spot, then reversed direction exactly right back where it came from. The side spin and the top/screw spin must work together to make the cue ball curve. If you have one without the other, the cue ball will travel a pretty straight line. THAT is why it is so important to keep your cue stick as horizontal as possible (unless you are purposely trying to swerve): to prevent unintentional spins which are caused by the elevated cue and will lead to curves that you didn't intend.

Oh, and going back to my "evidence" direct from the mouth of Jack Karnehm....it is exactly at 1:30 when he says ".....a touch of right hand side, with a semblance of screw on it..." That "semblance of screw" is extremely important because it is then transferred to the object as a trace of top spin which is what actually allows the object to tilt and bite into the cloth and travel off in the odd direction. For the record, I ran my numbers through Dr. Dave's calculator so it is confirmed....a "touch" of spin on the White will always transfer to the object as a "trace". It is a fixed ratio. :-)

Re: helping side...

Postby rekoons

acesinc wrote:If you strike off-center on the cue ball so that you impart side spin WITHOUT ANY TOP SPIN OR SCREW SPIN, the cue ball will travel away from the tip in a straight line without curving. The cue ball will simply begin sliding and spinning, balanced perfectly on its "South Pole". The cue ball will not swerve or arc at all. Now, in full disclosure, you will still see the squirt or deflection because that is a function of striking the cue ball off balance, not through the center of gravity......

....THAT is why it is so important to keep your cue stick as horizontal as possible (unless you are purposely trying to swerve): to prevent unintentional spins which are caused by the elevated cue and will lead to curves that you didn't intend.


Very clear explanation on the need of holding the cue parallel :hatoff:

acesinc wrote:If (because I don't have the time or desire to practice six or eight hours a day like Steve Davis,) my cue tip is really going to sort of hover centered around a particular spot on the cue ball that I intend to strike, then I am better off to strike intending, say, a touch of right hand. In reality, I will either get a proper touch of right hand side, or a bit more than a touch of right hand side (but it will still be right hand side), or my tip may wander back toward center ball in which case White will probably travel a straighter line anyway. All those things are kinda good.

On the other hand, if I try to strike center ball, then in reality, I may get center ball, or I may get a bit of right hand side, or I may get a bit of left hand side. Now, apply THAT concept to your White ball above the Black scenario, Rekoons, with which you started this thread. Before you learned about the helpfulness of outside english, you would either pot or miss this shot seemingly arbitrarily. Sometimes they would go in, sometimes you would miss a little thick, and sometimes you would miss a lot thick. And all the while you were aiming the same way and you thought you were striking center ball. See a correlation here?


I understand what you’re saying here but I don’t really see the advantage in doing it so:

If one aims to hit the centre of the white, the contact point will hover around the centre (sometimes left, sometimes right, sometimes bang on centre) so the object ball will go sometimes a little left or right of the intended target. Resulting in missing a pot sometimes thick or thin. It’s the inevitable range of error correlated to the error in hitting the centre of the white.

If one aims to hit a bit right of centre for example, the contact point will hover around this intended spot on the white, (sometimes putting too much side on, sometimes too little and as a result hitting the centre of the white and sometimes bang on the intended spot just right of centre) so the object ball will ALSO go sometimes a little left or right of the intended target. Won’t this ALSO result in missing a pot both sometimes thick or thin? :shrug:

I need to pick your brain a little more though because I don’t see why not aiming for the centre of the white would somehow narrow the ‘range of error’ versus aiming centre white, or result in only missing a pot on the thick or thin side?

I do see now that hitting it with a little side can make the SIT (spin induced throw) compensate for the CIT (cut induced throw), I don’t doubt that because I can see it for myself.