Types of Pool Shots — Billiards Shot Names
Updated: May 25
Whether you want to entertain guests or gather your family for some quality time, shooting pool is an excellent way to do so. When you add a pool table to your home, you have a fun, sometimes competitive way to pass the time. As you become familiar with the ins and outs of pool, you may want to take extra time to practice billiards shots to impress your friends and family.
The various billiards shot types can be easy, moderate or difficult, but with the right amount of practice, you can have fun mastering any pool shot. Even though they're different from each other, all types of pool shots require accuracy, skill and patience. Below, you'll find various basic pool shots and pool trick shot names so you can become a top shooter in no time.
The Straight Shot
The straight shot is one of the most basic pool shots to practice. To make a straight shot, you line up your pool cue, the cue ball, the object ball and the pocket in a straight line. The goal is to hit the cue ball directly in the center so that it hits the object ball in a straight line and makes it land in the pocket.
To execute a successful straight shot, you will need to use different levels of force depending on how far apart the cue ball, object ball and pocket are from each other. Try to avoid using follow-through and instead stop your pool cue as soon as it makes contact with the object ball.
The Bank Shot
The bank shot is another one of the basic pool shots to practice. It's similar to the straight shot because you will try to hit the cue ball directly in the center. However, the goal of the bank shot is to hit the cue ball into the object ball so that the object ball hits a rail and bounces off of it to land in a pocket. This is a fairly easy shot to make if you have a good eye for angles.
The Break Shot
The trick of the break shot is to smash your opening shot into the pack of balls. The goal is to pot a ball by spreading the balls out across the table and have the white ball end up in a central point on the table so that you can line up further shots. If your opening shot is successful, you can stay on the table and continue to attempt another break. If you don't pot any of the balls, your opponent gets the chance to make a shot.
The break shot is all about technique and power. The cue ball should be behind the baulk line and just a little off-center. The other balls should be static and touching. Once everything is in place, aim for the point just above the center of the cue ball and send it into the ball at the very tip of the ball triangle that is closest to you.
The Double Shot
The double shot is a shot you can take when the ball you want to pot is in a difficult spot. This is usually when a ball is awkwardly positioned near a middle or corner pocket. The goal of a double shot is to shoot it off the cushion and land it in the opposite pocket.
The trick is to aim your cue ball at a point on the cushion that's halfway between the pocket and the object ball, at the same angle that the ball will leave the cushion. These shots are easier to perform than you may think.
The Plant Shot
Also known as combination shots, plant shots are tricky because they require precise accuracy. In fact, you're twice as likely to miss a plant shot than other shots. The goal is to aim the cue ball at an object ball to make the object ball hit a third ball and pot it. These shots are important in nine-ball pool because if you pot the yellow nine-ball you win the game.
The trick to a successful plant shot is to make the object ball hit the target ball straight-on. Try to avoid hitting the object ball with any swerve, as even a small spin can send the ball off course and cause you to miss your shot.
The Draw Shot
The goal of a draw shot is to hit and pot the object ball and cause the cue ball to return to its original spot, or further back from the spot from where it was when you hit it. Shooting a draw shot requires you to apply a backspin on the cue ball so that it can spin back toward you.
The trick is to strike your pool stick at a lower point on the ball than you normally would. This will give it the backward spin that it needs to come back to you.
The Force Follow Stroke
The force follow stroke is similar to the draw shot, but it involves a sidespin instead of a backspin. The goal of the force follow stroke is to hit the cue ball hard into the object ball and have the cue ball slowly follow the object ball in a straight line after it hits.
To complete the force follow stroke, hold your plant hand closer to the cue ball than you normally would, resting the cue tip in your plant hand so it's almost inside the palm of your hand. Use a punching motion to hit the side of the cue ball, and it should hit and follow the object ball.
The Cushion Shot
What is a cushion shot? The cushion shot will be your go-to shot when the ball is stuck against the side of the pool table. When you make a cushion shot, you're aiming to hit it just right so that it glides along the side of the pool table and lands in a pocket. If you hit it too hard, the ball can roll back into the open space on the table.
The secret to a successful cushion shot is to pretend that the cushion isn't there. Hit the ball at the same angle you would a ball in a regular spot on the table. Try to hit the cue ball at a medium pace against the cushion and the object ball at the same time.
The Masse' Shot
The masse' shot is also known as a banana shot or a curve shot, and it's a good shot to try when the ball you're aiming for looks unhittable. The goal is to strike the cue ball from an elevated position to make it shoot forward and bend. To do this, you need to strike the cue ball fast, hard and at a downward angle. Try to use a punching motion with your pool stick to hit the ball.
To master the masse' shot, it's also important to relax your shooting hand and keep the pool stick level with the table. If you practice this shot, you can get a feel for the point of the ball you need to hit and the strength you need to apply.
The Jump Shot
When you execute a successful jump shot, the cue ball will jump over another ball to hit your object ball. This is a useful trick shot if there's a ball standing in the way between your cue ball and object ball.
To execute a jump shot, hold your pool stick so that it aims downward at the cue ball from a 45-degree angle. Aim to hit the ball forward with a downward motion slightly above the middle of the ball. If you're successful, the ball will jump up and forward.
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