Badsnookerplayer wrote:Thank you for taking the time to reply with a really informative answer and also posting the link to the video - superb viewing! I remember reading the Joe Davis book when I was young and that is probably why I was unsure about the answer to the question. It makes sense though that the composition of the balls these days have changed the effect of transferred side.
I really am very grateful to you for taking the time to do this and feel better informed and equipped to understand - and play - the shot. When it comes off it is one of my favourite shots as the ball seems to be almost magenetically attracted to the cushion. Thank you
You are very welcome. I enjoy the discourse. However, I do have to disagree somewhat with your analysis of cause and effect, particularly about the bolded statement. Like I said earlier, I believe the transfer of spin issue is settled these days that there is a definite transfer effect. And to be clear, this is a "gear" effect, meaning that the transfer to the object ball will be the opposite of the spin applied to the cue ball, i.e., right hand spin on the cue will induce left hand spin on the object. While I agree with you that properly executed, a well played shot of this sort the ball does seem glued to the cushion, where I differ from your analysis is the cause of this attraction. I don't believe it is the spin that makes the ball stick. Like seen in the video, the usefulness of the applied spin is at the last instant to spin the ball off the jaw of the pocket and into the hole. Without that spin applied, the ball may well rattle the jaws and bounce away. With that said then, what is it that makes the object ball seem to maintain contact as it rolls along the cushion?
I don't think I have ever seen, heard, or read any instruction about this but I have developed my own opinion on the matter over the years. Say that a ball on is in physical contact with a cushion 12 or 18 inches from a top corner pocket. Actually touching the cushion, not just very close. What is the old trick for how to play for this pot? Many people advise to attempt to strike both the cushion and the ball at exactly the same instant, simultaneous as it were, and that in theory should place the white ball perfectly to pot the ball down cushion into the corner pocket. Sounds simple. In fact, that is far from simple and so the wrong way to approach this shot.
Think of it this way. Have you ever tried to place 2 object balls close together, say about 3/4 ball diameter apart, then place the White about a foot away or so. Now, try to make simultaneous contact with both balls. Almost certainly, you cannot do it. Oh, of course, you will be very close to simultaneous, but if you listen closely, you will probably be able to discern the two separate clicks of contact but you will not be able to distinguish which click was first. So then why would it suddenly be easy to contact a ball and the cushion simultaneously? In fact, it is not easy and you can use this knowledge to your advantage.
If you try to hit ball and cushion simultaneously, then surely, you will hit one or the other first most of the time. If you hit the ball first (by just a microsecond) then the ball will push into then away from the cushion and will not go into the pocket. But if you contact the soft cushion first (by just a microsecond), then the White will continue its path sinking into the cushion and will obviously then make the necessary contact for the pot. So it is clear, to have the best chance of potting the ball, you should actually aim to just barely contact the cushion first. And so this is yet another way that running side will help you to pot the ball....you can actually aim to hit cushion first by 1/32", or 1/16", or even 1/8", whatever is your personal feel and control of how much the White will swerve when you apply whatever side you decide to apply. This is where the practice, practice, practice comes in. If you are aiming to hit cushion first by say 1/16" and you are playing just a small amount of running
side, say a half tip diameter, then the White will also swerve in its path just slightly in the direction toward which you applied the side. This is completely up to your instinct because if you swerve that White more than the 1/16" that you accounted for in your aim, then White will contact the ball first and you are finished.
Here I have rambled on all this time but I still have not told you what it is that I
think causes the "magnetic" effect you mentioned. My best analogy for this comes from driving down the motorway. Imagine driving on a high speed road that has what we goofy Yanks call "rumble strips" (I don't know what the British terminology is so I hope you know what I mean). These rumble strips are just grooves or ridges built into the edge of the road so that if your tire goes over them, your car will vibrate and jar you to pay attention because you are wandering aimlessly in your lane, falling asleep or drunk or whatever. Pay attention to your driving! So anyway, what happens if say your left side tires wander over the rumble strip outside the left side of your lane? Obviously, as the driver, you will immediately feel the vibration and hear the noise. Your instinct kicks in and you jerk the wheel quickly to right and suddenly, you are back in your lane where you belong. But why did you instinctively
jerk the wheel to the right, and not the left? What actually happened was when your left tires wandered over the rumble strip, they encountered resistance and therefore, they slowed down noticeably slower than your right side wheels so your car began to veer slightly to the left. With the noise and vibration, as the driver, you suddenly noticed this veering and instinctively you counter-steered in the other direction, just like when you are straightening out from a skid on ice.
So how does this apply to billiard balls? Think of that ball on the cushion just like your car and imagine it has little wheels on it. But it doesn't have a driver to "counter-steer". So when the object ball starts rolling along the cushion like crossing a rumble strip, it is going to feel resistance along that edge that is remaining in contact with the cushion and now it is going to continuously "veer" toward that side. Which means that it is just going to stick like a magnet to that cushion, constantly trying to push deeper into the cushion.
So after that, it sounds like potting a ball down a cushion should actually be very, very simple. Obviously, it is not. The last part of this equation to begin to pot these shots with some
consistency is the speed at which you play the pot. Watch the pros when they are faced with these situations. Sometimes, they may strike stronger to play as a shot to nothing or as a half-safe, but when a pro is faced with this type shot that he is absolutely making his best effort to pot, they will always hit it at just a certain speed that seems to work. Too fast and the object ball will probably bounce away; the "magnet" effect will not be able to work. And if they hit it too slow, one or the other of the balls will roll off line or maybe the object ball will just stop in the jaws of the pocket. Again, practice, practice, practice to find out exactly what that special speed is, but for me, I have a certain way that I think of it. When I absolutely am trying to pot this type of shot (which will always come with the risk of leaving the ball hanging for your opponent), then I think to myself that I want to hit at a speed that in the event it does NOT drop in the pocket, the object ball will have just enough pace to rattle and bounce out between 6 and 12 inches (and there is a good chance that it will bounce out and roll along the opposite cushion leaving the same dilemma for your opponent if he decides to play at it).
Sorry for the encyclopaedic response BadSnookerPlayer, but it seems to me that you are looking for answers to improve your game and before long, we should be able to change your screen name!