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The Secret of the Half-Ball ~ Bill Smith “Mr3Cushion”

Bill Smith “Mr3Cushion” has been one of the top players in the country for all of his 40 year career as a professional 3 Cushion player. He can teach as well as he played and brings us a great opportunity to this great game.

The SECRET of the Half-Ball

The Half-Ball Aiming System THE KEY FACTOR in my game’s acceleration over the years is what I’ve learned regarding the achievement of maximum effect and speed with the help of my late mentor and best friend Ernie Presto. People have always been kind enough to ask, “Why does your cue ball always seem to have so much life to it with so little effort?” Well, part of it is due to the hand/eye coordination nature gave me. I can’t help you with that. But, it mostly has to do with how I strike the object ball. I can help you there.

One of my secrets is this: Whenever I can, “I try to hit the first ball exactly half-full,” (as close to half-full as possible). The reasons are quite enlightening. 1) It’s the purest form of carom you can make, because you’re hitting equal parts of the ball with very predictable deflection results 2) All things being equal, the cue ball and the object ball both travel at the same speed after a half-ball hit, so calculating the speed of the shot for position is easier 3). Making a half-ball hit throws the object ball off the cushion with the most English. 4) And with the exception of aiming for thin-ball hits, half-ball hits are the easiest to visualize and execute with or without English on the cue ball.

Diagram 1

First, how to aim correctly for a half-ball hit. It doesn’t matter which side of the object ball you hit with or without English: Diagram 1, pg 91, shows the proper way to aim without English that is, 12 O’clock, center, or 6 O’clock on the cue ball. Simply aim the tip of your cue at the edge of the object ball. This produces a pure half-ball hit. To aim for such a hit with English, you find your desired point of contact on the cue ball and aim at the opposite point on the object ball. For example, to apply 2 tips of 11 O’clock English, you will aim at a point representing 2 tips of 1 O’clock English shown in Diagram 2. Try this you’ll be amazed at its accuracy.

Playing Half-Ball Position Shots Now to some common game positions that can utilize half-ball hits to yield good position for your next shot. Diagram 2 is a fairly simple short-angle shot off the inside of the first ball. But it’s the combination of 11 O’clock English and a half-ball hit with the resultant speed that brings the first ball to the position shown.

Diagram 3 gives us an extended short-angle shot off the outside of the first ball. Here a half-ball hit in combination with 12 O’clock English will send that ball near the opposite corner where it will be “big” for the next shot.

Diagram 3

The shot in Diagram 4 introduces another element-stroke tempo. There’s a kiss here between the third rail and the second ball. To avoid it we need a shorter stroke with slower tempo. These techniques, plus a half-ball hit, will produce the cue ball action needed to avoid the kiss and score. Using proper speed the first object ball will come to rest near the corner for the next shot. Use 4 O’clock English here; your shortened stroke will add speed to the object ball and slow down the cue ball.

Diagram 5 shows a shot played incorrectly by most players. They attempt to score off three cushions when the right shot calls for four, as shown. Remember, your biggest possible target on a billiard table is one resting near a corner. Hit this shot with 4 O’clock English using a half-ball hit with a slow stroke to allow the first contact ball time to travel to the other corner of the table.

For the pool playing community. I’m sure with all the info on the internet the past 20-25 years on the cue games, many players have come to be able to recognize a, ‘Half-Ball’ shot when it faces them. Well now, with my ‘Half-Ball Aiming System’ you can have much more confidence applying English to the cue ball without fear of missing pocketing the object ball! Whether you’re applying LEFT or RIGHT hand English, contacting the, outside or inside of the object ball. Let me just clarify the difference between, the two. Inside of the OB. “When applying English to the CB and you want to contact the OB on the, OPPOSITE side that the player contacts the CB, ie; (applying RHE and contacting the OB on the LEFT side of the OB). Outside of the OB. Applying English and contacting the SAME side of the OB., ie; (applying RHE and contacting the OB on the right side). ” Inside of the OB really means, when cutting an OB to the left and you want the CB to go 1, 2 or 3 rails contacting the LONG cushion on the right side. DIAGRAM 1.

Outside of OB really means, when cutting the OB to the left and you want the CB to go 1, 2, or 3 rails contacting the LONG cushion on the right side. DIAGRAM 2.

The home page for 3 Cushion Billiards legend, Bill Smith. Mr 3 Cushion is know offering

his expertise to all in both lessons, online tutorials, and just announced, his new book ‘the Consise Book of Position Play‘ for the intermediate to advanced Billiard player.

Author: Bill Smith “Mr3Cushion”

Editor:  Chris Freeman


Sponsored by Jacoby Custom Cues

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