Controlling whitey: hit it low!

If you pay close attention to the top players, you will notice that many use draw on a large percentage of their shots, even shots that don’t call for any draw, or even follow. Why is that? There are couple of factors at play here: addressing the cueball low (aim) and striking the cueball low (control.)


Addressing the cueball low is an effective way to find the cueball center vertical axis. The point at which the cueball makes contact with the felt is always at the center. This is a very objective target. The closer you can strike on this axis, the less side-spin and better control you are going to have. You will find many top players address the cueball low, and then before the final stroke they will bring the cue tip up to where they want to strike.

You may also find that many players have a “loop” in their stroke. That is, during their warmup strokes the back hand moves in a circular fashion, effectively bobbing the cue tip up and down along the vertical axis. They may not even know why, but this gives the brain more three-dimensional information about exactly where the cue tip is in relation to the cue ball, resulting in more accuracy to the tip strike placement.


Striking the cueball low generally gives you more control over a shot. A cueball traveling medium speed (not real fast, not real slow) is very controllable, and results in less collision-induced-throw. Hitting low also makes inconsistencies (worn cloth, dents and divots, flakes of chalk etc.) less of a problem. Bottom spin also helps avoid slow-stun contact-induced-throw (and skid.) You will never see a pro baby an easy shot, they always add speed or spin to the ball so they avoid CIT.

Let’s say you have a five-foot straight-in shot where you want the cueball to slightly roll through the shot. What happens when you shoot center ball and easy? You are at the mercy of the table roll, amongst all the other elements. What if ¬†instead, you hit this shot low with some speed, and the cueball loses its backspin and rolls forward just before making contact with the object ball? You still hit the object ball slow, but you have made this a very controllable shot! This shot is commonly referred to as a kill shot, or drag-draw.

Now lets say you have a five-foot stop shot. You can either hit the cueball close to center and very hard, or hit the cueball very low and not so hard (also a kill shot.) Which method do you think you will have better control of? What if the object ball isn’t quite straight-in and you don’t want whitey flying down the tangent line? You have to use the kill shot here. This is a very powerful shot technique.

As with anything, it takes practice to get control of your draw. It is probably going to be one of your biggest game changers if you do not already harness this ability. This principle can be used all over the table for a wide variety of shots. Whenever possible, hit low with less power. This will result in better shot control.

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  • Rogerlewis 2004

    Great info. After I learned to strike the cue ball along its vertical axis my game improved 10 fold.¬† You can run the cue ball using low English especially it’s a cut shot hitting the rail afterwards.