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Techniques En Masse. ~ Nkoyoyo Eddy

The art of billiards is comprised of eight techniques that include: trick/fancy, follow, draw, bank and kick, jump, masse, stroke and special art.

But among all, the masse is the most difficult to master and the most splendid stroke one can ever see—the way it translates those seemingly impossible trajectories. It’s so fun and undoubtedly the greatest crowd pleaser to the trick shot audience.

Basically, the masse is a shot made with the cue stick elevated (butt end in air and shaft pointed into the felt) at some angle of elevation which is dependent on amount of curve required. Even though most masses require much energy, the most effective masse stroke requires an effortless, yet elegant execution.

When we consider the physics involved in the masse, it’s all about kinetic energy (KE).

From the law of conservation of energy, we know that the KE received by the ball during impact with the tip is equal to the one developed by the player’s movement except for some negligible amount converted into heat due to friction.

From the formula KE = 1⁄2 mV2 where m stands for mass put in motion by the player and V standing for velocity of that mass. It’s evident that mass and velocity are the two quantities that can effect the energy transferred into the ball. Implying an increase in mass can increase the energy transferred, therefore a heavier cue is most effective with a masse.

Most importantly, change in velocity means a massive change in energy since velocity (V) is squared (multiplied by its own value). Below is how we can maximize our velocity. Considering other equations of motion, we have all the tools we need.

V = u +at S = ut + 1⁄2 at2 V2 = u2 + 2aS (V-velocity, u-initial velocity, a-acceleration, t-time, S-distance)

Since the final stroke starts from rest, initial velocity is zero (0). V = u +at → V = aXt. Maintaining the same acceleration (a), velocity (V) can be increased by an increase in time. This can only be done by increasing the distance. In summary, the larger the bridge length, the more the velocity generated and hence more kinetic energy.

To maintain an elegant stroke a player is required to remain free and loose, putting only the necessary body parts in motion. This includes the hand and forearm—although it’s common practice among players to include the arm and shoulder—but they limit elegance.

The other important part is the cue grip. Requirement of a loose grip is no question but still the most effective grip is one that allows grip rotation around the wrist which in turn increases the acceleration.

Having understood all the above information and principles, one can at ease masse the cue ball and dribble it off on single cushion a number of times but the question still remains, how do we judge the final direction of the curved cue ball?

Thanks for visiting Sneaky Pete Mafia Magazine and enjoy your curving balls experience, we welcome any further questions, reactions, and comments.

Please list straight to Eddy in the subject line, I hope this article has provided insight into your masse evolution.

Editor: Dana Gornall

Photo: Ranjan Gupta/Flickr

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