The spot kicking system greatly simplifies lining up kick shots by using reference points outside of the pool table playing surface. Let’s start with a typical example:
Here we want to kick the red ball (object ball) into the corner pocket off of the top rail. Where do we aim? Let’s try the Spot Kicking System, it is easy and accurate.
First, we imagine a ghost-ball where we want to make contact with the object ball. Then we find a “mirror ghost-ball”, or a ghost-ball directly across the table from this one. See this diagram:
Now we can see that if the cue ball were laying exactly where the mirror ghost-ball is, we could simply use the middle diamond on the short rail as our aiming point and hit exactly where we need to go. We will use this as our reference line. Lay your cue on this line and find a spot off in the distance along it. This is marked as “aim spot” with a green star. This could be the edge of a chair, a poster on the wall, a salt shaker sitting on a table, whatever you see that lines up.
Now that we have our aim spot, shoot directly at this spot from wherever the cue ball lies:
No matter where the cueball is, we can use this aim spot to hit the exact same target. Now some important notes:
- It is generally a good habit to blend a little running english into a kick shot. Narrow angles don’t require much if any, and wider angles require more. Practice and find what works.
- The optimal distance to the aim spot is the same distance as the cue ball path from the first rail to the target ghost-ball (the green dotted lines are the same length.)
- The farther the cue ball is from the reference path, the more important the aim spot distance is (so try to pick close reference lines.)
- The less rails there are in use, the more important the aim spot distance is.
From this information we can conclude that one-rail kicks need to be fairly accurate for the distance to the aim spot. Also, try to pick a reference line that is very close to where the cue ball lies. This will allow a bit of variance in the aim spot distance and still work ok. For instance, we could have chosen a mirror ghost-ball that sits on the third diamond from the left (blue X), and used 1.5 diamonds on the short rail as our aim line and had a closer reference line to the cue ball.
For shots where the object ball is away from the rail, you should still be able to accurately approximate a mirror ghost-ball for any given spot. Another approach is to extend a line through the object ball along the cue ball path to the nearest rail, and figure your shot from there.
Now on to two-rail kicks.