How to Play with Side Spin in Pool

Using side spin properly in pool is an art form. Therefore, the time has come for me to try and simplify one of the more complex parts of the game. This post will help build your Pool knowledge and increase your skill-set all at the same time.

What is Side Spin and How do I use it?

All you members of the Undergound are at varied points in their Pool wisdom and skills so I’m going to start with a brief explanation of side spin.

Striking the cue ball on either the left hand or right hand side of centre results in Side Spin.

When you apply Side Spin during a straight shot into the cushion:

the cue ball will react by diverting to that (imparted) side when it collides with the cushion. By striking the cue ball on either the white spin in either clockwise (left) or anti-clockwise (right). This spin is easier to see immediately after the tip contact when using Aramith Pro Cup balls as there are red spots on the white ball to help gauge it’s roll. As the diagram below shows, it’s easy to see where the cue ball has been struck by the player when the cue ball impacts the cushion:

How to Play Side Spin 8-Ball Pool
What is 8-Ball Pool Side?


The side shown above is perfect for getting out of snookers. Similarly it is also effective to manufacture specific angles when there are other object balls (blockers) in the way.

Most players only usually discuss either ‘right’ or ‘left’ when referring to side spin. Side spin is also known as either running side or reverse side. These are equally as important to understand. Both will be used by playing with either right-hand or left-hand spin, depending on the direction of the angle. Let’s take a look at how Running Side and Reverse Side work…


Running side is going “with” the angle in which your cue will already be facing. For example, if your cue angle is pointing to the right,

  • shooting with right hand side will go “with” the angle – both opening the angle up (widening) and adding pace/distance travelled.

As the diagram above shows. If Ball 1 was struck through the centre then it would end up in the position of Ball 2. In contrast, when cued through the same line, at the same pace – but with right hand side it finished in the location of Ball 3.


Reverse side on the same shot would be to add left hand side and go “against” the natural angle. This will narrow the angle the cue ball comes off the cushion at and also slow the pace/distance travelled.

Above are 2 examples of Reverse side. Balls 1 and 3 can be played with Left and Right hand spin to achieve the finishing position of Ball 2. However, if Ball 1 was played with Centre Ball Striking then it would finish in the Position of Ball 3 – and vice versa.

TOP TIP: It is always worth remembering that:

  • Running side adds pace to the movement and number of rotations to the cue ball.
  • Reverse side slows the pace of the cue ball and reduces its’ number of rotations.

Now, let’s take a look at what happens when you impart side onto the cue ball, then it makes contact with your object ball – i.e. your red, yellow or black.


When you play with side, the white ball will cause the object ball to move off it’s natural course upon contact. This effect is called “Throw”.

When you aim a straight shot into the corner pocket with left hand side, the likely result is that the impact throw will send the object ball off to the right hand side causing you to miss the shot. This takes effect because some of the kinetic rotational energy is transferred from the white ball to the object ball, thus causing the object ball to also rotate with side spin. As always there are variables such as delivery, speed and striking point which will impact the amount of throw you achieve.

As illustrated above, when the white ball is struck on the left hand side, clockwise rotation is set in motion. By the time the cue ball rolls into the red object ball this energy is transferred causing the red to move off-line to the opposite side, in this case to the right. Exactly the opposite effect can be seen when playing the same shot with right hand side.


I hope this helps give a clearer understanding of using side spin in your 8-Ball game. Knowing when, and How to use side is an important advantage to have when you want to reach the upper echelons of the pool world. Using side spin correctly will help your game immensely. Don’t over-use it though or this could be detrimental. I’ll cover that one some other time.

Hope that helps Raise Your Game,


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