I’m sure you’ve heard the importance of getting the cue ball to center table before. This makes sense: you have the most options from this position. The same can be applied to balls near the center table, and I’d like to specifically mention balls very near the side pocket.
A ball near the side pocket (that is pocket-able in that pocket) is an extremely strong ball to have on the table. There are many reasons this is so:
*) This ball can be seen/made from nearly any spot on the table, an 180 degree area
*) This ball is never more than 1/2 a table distance away
*) It is relatively easy to make this ball and gain position for most any other shot
Let’s contrast this to a ball near a corner pocket:
*) can only be seen from a 90 degree area
*) can be a full table distance away
*) not necessarily easy to play shape off of for any other shot
Obviously there are exceptions and other situations to consider, but these are all general rules of thumb. Don’t be anxious to shoot that ball off near the side pocket if you don’t need to, it can get you out of trouble later!