Cue Ball Control – Increase your Positional Play.

Cue Ball Control – achieving the perfect cue ball position for your next ball is something that many players struggle with because they don’t always know where to hit the white ball. When you master cue ball positioning you will start to make the game look simple. To reach this level we first need to understand the cue ball positioning basics. These include where to hit the white ball and how to deliver the cue for the results you’re aiming to achieve.

I will guide you through these technique names and delivery points so that you can start to practice these various positional shots straight away. Knowing and executing these fundamental shots effectively is an essential foundation to becoming a top pool player.

The Stun Shot

The Stun shot, also known as the stop shot is one of the most popular shots used in 8-ball pool. It is used when you want to make the cue ball stop after contact with the object ball. On a Stun shot, the white ball can only stop “dead” if the shot angle is straight. Otherwise, the cue ball will go to the side opposite from the potting angle. For a regular stun shot you will cue the white ball just below centre. Your delivery will need to be punchy for this shot. This will cause the cue ball to slide across the table cloth without any forwards or backwards roll.

Where to hit the pool cue ball to play a stun shot.
How To Play an 8Ball Stun Shot
During a Stun Shot there is no Cue Ball Rotation.
A White Ball with No Rotation During a Stun Shot.

The Screw Shot

The Screw shot, also known as screwing back or backspin is another technique used for cue ball control. Screw is executed to make the cue ball to come back towards where you played it from after it has made contact with the object ball. As with the Stun shot, the ball will only come back straight, if the shot angle is straight too. Otherwise it will travel in opposition to the potting angle. Playing a shot with screw puts backwards roll into the cue ball which goes against the normal roll of the ball. This is the main reason that many pool players struggle playing effective screw shots.

For maximum backspin and best results, ensure you strike the cue ball as low as possible. Too many players fail here because of a fear of miscuing and jumping the cue ball. It’s also essential to make sure you cue the ball smoothly and not punchy like the stun shot.

The Pool Coach, where to hit the white ball for maximum screw on a shot
How To Play an 8-Ball Screw Shot
Pool Coaching - The effect that applied bottom spin has on the cue ball.
Bottom Spin applied to the White Ball

The Topspin Shot

The Topspin shot, also known as a follow-through or follow shot is when you play the cue ball to follow the object ball. Following the trend above, if the shot angles is off-straight, then the white will follow in the opposite direction of the potting angle.

Again as above, the straighter the shot angle the more true the cue ball will follow the object ball. Also, like the screw show it is important to cue the topspin shot smoothly for best results. Be sure to strike the cue ball at the top to gain maximum topspin.

Where to hit the white ball for follow/run-through shot.
How To Play an 8-Ball Follow-through Shot
Cue ball rotation with forward roll. Topspin White Pool
Applying Topspin to the White Ball.

In Summary.

In 8-Ball pool there are many variables. This also means there are multiple ways to deliver the cue through the white ball to affect the positional outcome. For example; the delivery speed, elevation angle and cueing technique can all change the results of a shot.

With this in mind, this post is not an exhaustive post that says “if you do this, then this is the guaranteed result”. It is a guide more aimed at helping you to play those shots where you want maximum topspin, bottom spin or just to stun the ball dead (no roll after object ball contact) at a medium distance.

Let’s take a quick recap. The 3 fundamental cue ball principles and how to play them for most effective results are:

  • The Stun Shot – Struck just below the centre of the white ball and delivered with a punchy stroke.
  • The Screw Shot – Struck at the bottom of the cue ball and delivered smoothly, pushing the cue through the white.
  • The Follow Shot – Struck at the top of the cue ball and delivered smoothly, pushing the cue through the white.

You should now have an overall understanding of the most popular shots and techniques required to begin your path to cue ball control mastery.

Hope that helps,


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