Pool Dogma

principle.. a belief.. or a statement of idea or opinion, esp. one authoritatively considered to be absolute truth.
Anything and everything that is written on the pool dogma rant page is the truth... the whole truth... or the truth.. "In My Opinion".
My first pool room experience was in 1958. There was a sign that read, "No one under the age of 16 allowed".. I was 15 yrs. 
There are many pool and billiard web sites... This page shares some observations that may be helpful to others.
The Game page is to share games. The billiard Links page shares sites. This Dogma page is to share whatever.
1) Why are there 16 peas in the shake bottle?
Pea (Kelly) Pool - A Rotational game with private ball numbers.
The BCA rule book says:
"A set of fifteen number peas (or "pills") and a shake bottle are also used".
"After the balls are racked, but before play begins, each player is given a pea from the shake bottle (containing the peas numbered 1-15)".
"The number of the pea is the player's private number and is kept secret".
IMO the book should say:
A set of sixteen number peas (or "pills") and a shake bottle are also used.
After the balls are racked, but before play begins, each player is given 2 peas from the shake bottle (containing the peas numbered 1-16).
After looking at both peas each player places one pea face down on the table. When all peas are on the table, the numbers are revealed. 
The player given the #16 pea shows it and breaks. If the 16 pea wasn't given, play starts from the lowest to highest numbered pea shown.
The number on the second pea is the player's number and kept secret from all other players, until the corresponding ball number pockets.

So why are there 16 peas in the shake bottle?..... The #16 pea is the automatic starting number.
If given the #16 pea you don't have a choice of 2 pea numbers. You must show the #16 pea. The player with #16 always breaks the rack.

If your pea choice is 2 or 15, keep the 15 pea private. Show your 15 and you may never shoot at the 2 ball because you're the last player.
My condensed version: 
Each player is given 2 of the 16 total peas from the shake bottle and privately looks at both peas.
The 4 to 8 players keep one pea a secret and show only the pea number that they want to reveal.
The secret pea number is the players ball. The second pea number determines the batting order.
The lowest number pea shown is the 1st player and breaks. The next lowest pea is second ...ect.
If any player receives the number 16 pea, he must show it. He has no choice of peas and breaks.
A player breaking in Pea Pool could have an advantage by pocketing his, or another players ball.
All balls are contacted in rotation. After the lowest ball is contacted by the CB any ball can pocket.
Pea pool with 2 or 3 players?.... Rack and play with 10 balls... Use the pea numbers 1 through 9.
The 1 ball racks on the front...The 2 & 3 balls rack on each corner...The 10 ball racks in the center.
All 10 balls are contacted in rotation. Any ball that pockets (on a legal hit) will remain in the pocket.
Players are never eliminated. The game ends if any player pockets his own ball, or the 10 pockets.
A player pays you $1 if you pocket his ball. All players pay you $2 if you pocket your ball or the 10.
A dogma truth IMO
2) What is the most important shot in pool?
I've read the draw shot is the most important shot in pool.. but is it?  To play pool beyond the begginer level you must be able to draw the cue ball. But to play competently you must accurately control the stop shot. Not just to stop your CB dead after a straight on hit, but to let your cue ball drift forward by 3-4 inches after hitting the OB. Hit your CB close to it's center axis at different speeds. Use a firm stroke.

Trying to hit CB stop shot speeds, on most shots, helps in pocketing balls. CB sidespin (unless intensional) throws the OB off line. If your
CB is hit bottom center and it slides as it contacts the OB, sidespin should be minimal. Tangent line position will also be more predictable.
Practice dead straight cue ball stop shots.. Practice drawing the cue ball back by 4 inches.. Practice letting the cue ball drift forward by 4 inches.**
Being able to do this consistently, from any distance, will give you maximum cue ball control. This is very important for playing pin point position.

Dead stops & drawing the CB back 4 inches can be accomplished using speed for control. Drifting forward 4 inches requires a finesse stroke. 
To drift forward, the CB slide quits and it starts to roll before contacting the OB.. Practice these 3 shots to help control angled stop shots.   

There aren't many straight on shots in actual play. Angled stop shots send your CB down the tangent line 90 degrees from your OB line.
Angled stop shots will always start down the stun line. With top or bottom spin the CB will deviate (**remember that 4") from the stun line.

If you control your angled stop shots, you'll control the stop shot line. Work off your stun line for CB shape, and to break up those clusters.
Throw out 5 balls... Take CB in hand on the lowest ball... Try to pocket the balls in rotation using stop shot speeds only... Stop shot speeds
vary with where you need to move the CB... Straight on stop shots can be hit hard or softly... Angled CB speeds will help control your CB.

A YouTube video that explains how a CB runs the stun line when the CB slides... https://youtu.be/_3NnmvKAIXV ...(A video by Sharivari)
The CB slides for a short distance after it contacts the OB, just before it starts to roll the TL.. Where is the CB going? (see question #18)

Practicing won't always make perfect but practicing will lead to progress. This short quote sums it up.. You must own the stop shot line.
A dogma truth IMO
3) Why can't I draw the cue ball?
Drawing the cue ball isn't hard... once you do it a few times. What about drawing the first time? You can try using this stop shot method.
Hit stop shots only. Don't try drawing the cue ball. The cue ball always starts from the same position. The object ball changes position.
Use the side pockets. Put a object ball (OB) on the table center spot. Place the cue ball 1/2 way between the OB and either side pocket.
Once you can stop the cue ball dead when pocketing the OB, move the OB half way between the center spot and the other side pocket.
The cue ball (CB) and the OB are now both separated half way between the center spot and both side pockets. Stop the cue ball dead.
Once you stop the cue ball dead when pocketing the OB from that distance, move the OB right into the pocket jaws. Stop the CB dead.
If you can stop the CB dead everytime and not follow the OB into the pocket, put a third ball on the center spot. The ball that you placed on the center spot is now separated by 1 diamond length from the CB, and by 2 diamond lengths from your OB in the side pocket jaws.
Hit a stop shot again on the OB in the pocket. Forget about the center spot ball. Only visualize a stop shot on the OB in the pocket jaws.
If done correctly, the CB draws back off the center ball.. Not fast, but it will come back.. What about drawing the first time? You just did it.
A dogma truth IMO
4) How far backwards will a cue ball draw?

Short distant draw shots are not hard.. long distant draws are not easy. It's the spinning friction on the cue ball versus the distance.
The backwards spin determines how far the cue ball will draw. The distance between the balls can determine the reverse ball spin.
As spin determines the draw, the forward ball motion must also be considered. The spin has to over compensate for both the friction of
the cloth and the inertia applied to the cue ball as the distance between balls increases. Here's an old saying that isn't quite accurate:
              If the distance between balls is 2 feet, draw the table length.
              If the distance between balls is the table length, draw 2 feet.
Draw backspin on distant balls can possibly be faster than on short power draws, but is quickly lost the further the cue ball travels.

On small angled draw shots (about 20 degrees or less) CB drawback angles are close to twice the angle of the CB to OB line and OB to pocketing line. Stand directly behind the OB to look at the pocket line. Look at the angle from CB to the OB. If that angle is 10 degrees the CB drawback angle will be about 30 degrees. The drawback angle will be the 10 degree cut line angle, plus twice that angle (10+10+10) or 30 degrees.
Hint: If you use either a heavy OB or light CB your draw distance may rival a trick shot artist.  
A dogma truth IMO
5) How important is hitting the cue ball centerline on a long draw?
Using side spin when drawing the cue ball is a powerful tool for position. Drawing the cue ball back into a rail with side spin changes the
rebound angle. A cue ball contacting the rail with left side draw will rebound to the right, with right side off a rail it will rebound to the left.

Centerline draw spins the CB backwards for short distances, but a CB will quickly lose back spin on long draws and side spin takes over.
The problem of hitting long draw shots is cue tip accuracy. Center ball hits are most effective if there's not a great distance between balls.
Slightly off center hits on longer draw shots will make the CB squirt. With practice the amount of CB squirt can easily be compensated for.

Off center draw shots make the CB turn into a tilted roll if friction takes over. The CB loses backspin, turns into side spin, and then will roll.

Control when your "maximum" CB side begins, and it's possible to spin balls in from fairly long distances, without much squirt.
A video clip showing how this technique can be used on low, off center hits... http://billiards.colostate.edu/normal_videos/new/NVB-10.htm
Using a striped ball (stripe vertical), try to keep the ball spinning backwards, with the vertical stripe upright, until it contacts the end rail.
Friction takes over quickly and the vertical spin starts to tip. Contacting the ball off it's center line will flip it over and the stripe rolls tilted.

Contact the ball halfway between it's equator and the table with the cue tip. Draw too low and you'll be flirting with the CB miscue limits.
A dogma truth IMO

6) How much cue ball side spin do you use?

Contacting a rail with a spinning cue ball (english) is used for position play. How much spin to use depends on the shot and the cut angle.

There are perils in aiming when putting spin on the CB. The CB has a tendency to deflect (squirt) from the intended aim path. Straight in
shots can be missed if spin throws the OB offline. If the cue is elevated the CB also has a tendency to curve from the travel path (swerve).

I hit high/low near the CB center line on fuller hit shots, and will use side (if needed) on cut shots. OB throw is minimized on very thin cuts.
How much spin? As little as possible to get shape on the next ball. Hitting about 1/2 cue tip off the CB center line will usually do the job. I
sometimes use a combination of either high or low with side spin for position. Your point of aim usually changes when using side spin.

side spinning CB usually has little effect on the direction it will travel after colliding with the OB. If there is no forward or draw spin, the CB will travel closely along the tangent line. Where the sidespin takes affect is when it contacts the rail. The angle of approach into a rail will either widen the rebound angle, or shorten the angle depending on the spin. Knowledgeable players always use sidespin for position.
A dogma truth IMO
7) Is there any advantage in using the "measles" cue ball?
The Super Aramith Pro Cup cue ball (measles) is being used in professional matches on television. I think it's great because you
can easily see the 6 red dots and know how much spin the pros are using for each shot. The old timers could hide their skill as
the completely white cue ball would not show any spin. But is there any advantage in having your own measles ball?
Not only can you see the spin you apply but the measles ball can also be a great learning/teaching tool. By placing 2 of the spots
on opposite sides, and hitting the ball so 4 dots will roll in line, you can see follow and draw shots easily. You can see if your draw
shots are coming back vertically or on a tilted axis and also can see if any english is applied to the ball.
As a teaching tool you can have the student hit on one of the red dots. Standing directly across you can see how much follow, draw,
or center ball is being applied to the cue ball (see above #4 - Why can't I draw the cue ball?). The measles ball is pricey but worth it.
A dogma truth IMO
8) Do you recommend using a practice ball?
Practice balls can help you improve your game play. Some practice balls are used just for aiming. Some practice balls have either stripes
or circles, and some have a combination of both. There is a practice ball that has 2 colors, one color on each side of the ball.
You can make your own practice ball for stun and 90 degree shots by drawing 3 lines around a cue ball with a permanent marker. The 3 lines should each be drawn completely around the ball. The lines should bisect each other and cross at 6 points on the ball.
The first line goes completely around the ball. The second line goes around the ball at 90 degrees from the first line. The third line goes around the ball at 90 degrees from both lines 1 and 2. This ball will now be your object ball.
The ball with the drawn lines is placed with one line horizontal to the table surface. One of the other lines should point directly at a pocket.
The intersection points of both the horizontal line and the line pointed at the pocket is now the contact point for the cue ball.
The third line shows the tangent line direction the stunned cue ball will go after contacting the practice ball with the 3 drawn lines.
You can practice keeping a cue ball on the tangent line from different angles and different speeds. Variations from that line means the cue ball had some forward or reverse spin when it hit the practice ball and wasn't sliding at contact.
A dogma truth IMO
9) How do you warm up before playing a match?
I like to warm up by hitting long straight in shots. I try stopping the cue ball dead in it's tracks. I start out with the object ball on the center spot
and place the cue ball about 1 foot away. I hit stop shots and pocket the OB in a corner. I increase the cue ball distance away from the OB about
10 - 12 inches for each of the next 2 shots. I then start placing the OB 1 foot or so further away from the center spot for each shot. As distances
increase I'll keep my chin directly over my cue, concentrate on center hits and make the cue follow straight through.

I'll work on my PSR when warming up. As I turn into the shot I angle my body until my cue aligns down the shot line parallel with both the CB and OB. I'll angle my body so when I bend over I'm on my shot line.  ( Lining up .. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BPn3Wzp4NT8 )

To align to the shot line, the butt of your cue must align with the OB, with the cue tip and CB on that same line between the butt and OB. 
I always check to see that my stroking hand is aligned to the object ball. My stroking hand and chin should always be aligned with the cue, cue ball, and object ball. To STAY ON THAT LINE the stroke hand MUST be below your shoulder. Your elbow only allows your forearm to bend toward your shoulder. If your hand isn't under your shoulder your forearm moves either toward the inside or outside of your shot line.

Something I try to do is keep my stroking arm shoulder high. Watch players with a pendulum stroke. They'll always have a high shoulder and their bridge hand & upper stroking arm are close to a being in a straight line. Elbow drop players will usually have a lowered shoulder.

One good way to align the cue for a straight stroke is to think about hitting the OB with the cue tip. Place the cue tip to hit the CB dead center. Look at the OB and then look down the shot line to align the cue shaft to the OB. Your stroke hand, shaft, tip, cue ball and object ball should all be on the same line... Just as an archer would line up an arrow that would be sent toward a target. The archer only needs to release an arrow, but the cue needs to accelerated forward.. and STRAIGHT forward.. through the CB without any sideward variance.

Here is a little tidbit for explaining cue acceleration from One Pocket John... a AzBilliards forum member...... Cue Acceleration
When I feel that my stroke is smooth I throw 10 or 12 balls on the table, half stripes and half solid. With ball-in-hand I pocket a striped ball first, then
a solid ball. I alternate striped, solid, striped, solid...ect. It's easier than pocketing balls in rotational order, but I always look for shape 3 balls ahead.
Before pocketing a stripe, I'll look ahead to my next striped ball. I get shape on a solid for that next striped, and then shape ahead again for my next solid.
A dogma truth IMO
10) What is the correct speed used to pocket balls?
There are several books on the game of pool. Most don't include what speed is used to pocket balls. One excellent book I have read says:
"The "Holy Grail" of pool is the ability to hit every shot softly without English, to have the object ball go in, to leave the cue ball in a perfect
position for the next shot, and to have this happen every time."
That's almost like saying the "Holy Grail" of golf is the ability to hit every par 3 in just one shot, to have the ball go in, ..or the "Holy Grail" of lotteries is to always pick the correct numbers, and to have this happen every time.
Hit every pool shot softly without english and someone will be walking out the door with a wallet full of your money.
There are very few shots you will hit softly enough that the object ball will drop into the pocket and still leave the cue ball in the position zone.
Although the "Holy Grail" may be the ideal, it certainly is not the reality of how the game is played.
The object ball pocket speed depends solely on how far the cue ball must travel for position on the next ball. The cue ball could be hit
hard or softly, with or without english to accomplish this. There are numerous players who use too much CB speed, or too much CB spin.

The correct speed to pocket your object ball... with CB stun... is determined by how far the CB needs to travel. (Read Question #2 again)
If you want to stun the CB to travel to the rail, hit the CB a little harder.. If your CB only needs to travel 10" hit the shot with less CB speed.

Using less "CB speed" doesn't mean to decelerate the cue. To play good pool you will need cue acceleration for CB control, but just don't 
over cook it.
Something you could practice is to hit all your shots at stop shot speeds. Stop shot speeds can be hit harder, or softly, depending on your shot angle.

My advice for position play is to have the CORRECT spin on your CB when it CONTACTS the OB. The CB only behaves with correct spin (top, side, bottom or stun).
If a softer hit is required place your stroke hand toward the balance point of the cue and shorten your stroke. Your bridge could also be shorter.

I joined the Navy in 1962 and was playing against an older gentleman in a pool room in Norfolk, VA.  When we parted ways he said he thought I
was a very good player. I thanked him for the compliment. Then he said, "You'd play better if you didn't shoot so hard".  A good lesson learned.  
A dogma truth IMO
11) Why do I find it hard to stay focused?
How many times have you seen a player miss an easy shot but have perfect shape on the next ball?  Some shots just seem so simple that the
focus required to make the shot at hand is compromised. This can easily happen in games when you're thinking about positions on the next shot.
I think the way some players practice actually makes them prone to not staying focused. Many players practice pocketing balls without concern
for precision. There are times that even easy shots need precise hits, not only for position, but also just to pocket the ball. Many shots don't need
precision, but if you practice trying to pocket balls without focusing, you may bring some of that thought process to the table against an opponent.
Two practice drills that may help to keep  you focused are straight in shots. One of the drills uses 2 balls near the pocket, the second uses a cuestick.
Drill 1)  Two balls are placed in the mouth of a corner pocket. Both balls are separated by a third ball placed between, but not touching either ball. Remove the center ball. The OB and CB are both placed in a straight line between the corner pocket and the opposite rail side pocket. Pocket the OB in the corner without contacting either ball. (You can tighten & loosen the pocket by moving the 2 balls slightly up or down the rails)
Drill 2)  Place the tip of a cuestick inside a corner pocket and line the butt up toward the side pocket. Place 3 balls against the side of the cuestick.
Place the OB one diamond from the pocket, the CB near the butt end of the stick, and place the third ball at random between them. Remove the cue.
Make straight in combination shots, hitting the CB into the middle ball, pocketing the OB. Hit draw, follow and center ball shots.

The 2 practice drills above require more precision CB contact than just knocking balls into a pocket. Try them both when applying a little side english.

A dogma truth IMO

12) Aiming 1.. do you look at the cue ball or the object ball last?
If ball aiming were easily taught there'd be thousands of world class players. All sorts of systems, training devices, and techniques have been utilized.
Some different types of aiming in pool and billiards from Dr. Dave's website... http://billiards.colostate.edu/threads/aiming.html ... it's a very long read.

IMO you should always practice your stroking fundamentals first.  Many years long ago I was told by a older gentleman to remember this statement... Straight cue - Straight through....  Any type of aiming system, without a focus on your stroking fundamentals, is essentially worthless. Any player.. with practice.. can aim.. but the problem is.. your CB must be hit where you think you're aiming. That can't happen with a crooked stroke when hitting the CB... Aiming is stroke related.

One way to work on a straighter stroke would be with this... Cue Extension ...made from PVC tubing. The extension components are 3/4" tubing 9 1/2" long.. a 3/4" end cap.. a 3/4" coupling and a 1 1/4" coupling. Drill a 5/16" hole in the end cap for a 5/16 bolt. Weight is added by threading nuts onto the bolt. After assembly slip the larger coupling over your cue. Some tape build up on your cue butt may be added to hold the extension securely. If you prefer more weight, washers can replace the nuts. (Image by AzBilliards member One Pocket John)

The added weight behind your stroking hand should give you a feeling of "pulling" the mass of the cue vs. the feeling of pushing the cue. Enough weight behind your hand is needed so the balance point is about 1 to 1 1/2" in front of your hand when it's placed on center wrap.

Always align the cue at the same spot under your chin. Concentrate on the shot. STAY DOWN.  Aiming tip.. http://youtube.com/watch?v=qYTyG00dhLg ..With the cue under your chin you'll have one sight line... but you have 2 eyes. If the cue is to either side of your sight line, the shaft can never be in line.
Your aiming sight line could be under a dominant eye if you have one . It's very important to keep your eyes level and always repeat the same sight line.

Most players look at the OB last. I don't think it matters. Do field goal kickers look at the goal posts last? Golfers at the green? Tennis players at the net?
I think top players would advise that you should look at the object ball last. I think that's the best way, if you've got good eyesight and have a perfect stroke.

I've always looked at the OB last but at times I look at the CB last, such as the top of the CB when it's against a rail. Concentration is the most important part.
Concentrate on the OB aim point (eyes on OB last), or tip contact on the CB (eyes on CB last). Think about the speed and spin to send the CB into position.

I find the easiest way to align the cue is to raise the tip above the CB. With the tip directly over the CB sight down the shaft, to the point of OB impact.... You could also try placing the cue tip on the table behind the CB where it sits on the cloth, with the shaft aligned to your OB.

A video clip of Jerry Breisath talking about shooting and aiming..  http://youtube.com/watch?v=YpbNlnS9GFk&feature=related .. The aim portion of the video mentions both the point of aim and point of impact. At the point of OB impact the cue ball will be on the stop shot line. ( See question # 3 )

Side spin will always change your OB aim point. If you would care to try a few practice games that require precise aiming skills click on  - Carl's Pool Game Page -

A dogma truth IMO
13) Aiming 2.. this is how I usually aim.

PSR (Pre Shot Routine) Before I bend over I know my shot angle. By knowing my angle while standing I have an idea where the cue ball contact is before hand. I turn my body so my cue is on the shot line. I know the OB shot angle.. the tangent line.. where my next OB is located.. spin & speed needed on the CB for shape. When I bend over, I'll know where I want my tip on the CB. That's when I start to aim.

I usually aim in two different ways. I use a reverse angle aim point ( RAAP) looking for the contact point.. OR.. I'll aim using OB fractions. 

My cue pivots toward CB center, looking for the OB contact point. You could say this is contact point to contact point (CP2CP) aiming, but I find it's much easier to see the contact point by always pivoting from inside the OB cut angle.. I never pivot from outside of the cut angle.

I mostly use RAAP cue offsets as the above paragraph, then pivot back toward CCB.. OR.. I will aim CB center at 1/8 OB fractional lines. Which of those 2 methods I use depends on how the shot looks to me. (Sometimes I will use both methods). RAAP always starts with a inside cue offset... Fraction aiming always starts with alining center CB... but only after ..I find the pocketing angle in the front of my OB.

Fractional aiming can start from center of the OB (full ball) or from the outer edge of the OB (1/2 ball).. Both ways work in 1/8" increments.

A 2 1/4" OB has 8 equal (.280 wide) spaces across it's surface... Click on this attachment... How I usually aim )

(Note) The CB and OB always make contact (or they'll collide) halfway between from the OB center, and where your CB center is aimed.
When the balls overlap they form a football shape (2 disks passing over each other) and the contact point is always between the overlaps.
If center CB is aimed at the OB outer edge, the CB edge is aligned to OB center. The contact point will be 1/2 way between for a 30* cut.

My pivot always starts from a Reversed Angle Aim Point (RAAP). The cue tip offset on the CB, is an "equal distance" from OB centerline to OB contact point, but offsets to the opposite side of CB center. If the OB contact point is left.. my cue offsets to the right side of the CB.
BEFORE PIVOTING my cue tip starts at center CB.. but then I parallel shift, so my cue aligns at the same points on both the CB and OB.
My cue aims "through" the CB, and it always "points" exactly at the same spot on the OB.. (The reason I do this is exact cue alignment).

What I look for as my cue pivots toward CCB is the OB contact point. I won't say RAAP an "aiming system" but I do consider RAAP a very good "playing" system. My tip is "aimed" at the RAAP for exact cue alignment. Then my cue pivots toward CB center while I'm looking for the exact contact point. The OB center is 1 edge of the football shape, the CB center is at the other edge, and your CP is between them.
This RAAP way of aiming is very similar to (or the same as) CP2CP aiming, but you'll have a better visual reference to judge the distance.

Once you find your CP.... aim at one pocket point.. then the other pocket point, until you can hone in between both of those pocket points.

A picture is worth 1000 words... RAAP pivot diagram ... (graphic created by Patrick Johnson - AZBilliards forum

I align the cue parallel with both the CB center and OB center and visually project that line to the rail. I then imagine a line from the OB into the pocket. The angle formed in the front of the OB is my pocketing anglue. I'll then compare the angle formed in front of my OB to a 30 degree angle determining if that angle is wider or narrower than 30 degrees. The CB to OB line is compared to the OB to pocket line.

Sometimes I'll check my pocketimg angle from behind the OB. The OB to pocket line is then compared to the CB to OB line for my angle.
I'll aim CB center to hit one of 5 inside OB aim points for my known pocket angles. I'll hit close to one of those aim points even if the CB is going to be deflected by using some side spin. If the OB is hit with inside english, I'll aim to hit somewhat thicker than the exact fraction.

The 5 aim points are OB Center, OB edge, Midway between the Center & Edge, and 1/2 way between those points. I'll think of those aim points as 5 vertical lines on the OB, dividing the OB into 1/8 increments. I always aim center CB at the 5 points. The balls collide exactly between both overlaping edges. You can aim using the CB edge to align with those same 5 points when CB center passes the OB edge.

After the CB center and my cue align to hit the OB angle needed I'll tweak my OB aim point at 2T.. (2T tweaking is CB aiming at "two tits"). I'll aim the CB at the nearest pocket tit first, and then the furthest pocket tit. The pocketing contact point is between both 2T contact points.

1/8 OB fractional aim points commonly used.... Fractions

( See Question #19 ) ..Note: This aiming process may sound complicated.. but when you know your angle, it only takes a few seconds.

SLAP ... Stun Line Aim Point heips find your OB contact point.. (Visualize a pencil glued to the back of an OB pointing at a spot on a rail) Your imaginary pencil should be at 90 degrees from the pocketing line. The pencil touches the OB contact point and points at your SLAP.

Visualize the tangent line direction that the sliding CB will take. I'll tweak my aiming so the front of the CB will contact the OB aim point.
Once I find the OB aim point I never think about pocketing the OB, only the direction a stunned CB will take off the OB and the amount of speed needed.

The CB will hit a rail on the end of the stun line. (I call this the Stun Line Aim Point) I'll aim the CB to run the stun line (even when I'm not stunning the CB).
If your CB is sliding as it hits the OB aim point, the CB travels down the stun line to the SLAP.. The OB will travel down the OB/pocket line.

This YouTube video shows how the CB (when it slides) follows the tangent line..https://youtu.be/_3NnmvKAIXV ... (video by Sharivari)

You might say SLAP is similar to the way carom players aim. If you hit a OB with a sliding CB it's predictable where your CB travels, if it contacts the OB precisely on the SLAP aim point...... This game is called.. CONTACT .. and requires using SLAP lines to score points.

The OB has 2 visual aim points.. the OB Center or OB Edge.. To find your OB contact point reference off either one of those 2 aim points. The 30 degree contact point is the OB edge. Full Ball is OB center. The 15 degree contact point is exactly between them. How to find your angle to determine which ball quarter to use?.. (See Question #20)

When the cut shot is very thin I try to visualize the distance from the OB contact point to the OB edge. The CB contact point and CB edge are exactly the same distance.

A dogma truth IMO

14) Do you think outside the table rails when you play?

The rails have more of a purpose than to just keep balls on the table. Use the rails for position, coming into the OB from behind the shot line. Have you heard the expression, "Think outside the box", when making decisions?  I think this saying applies to cue ball control more than you might realize when playing position. Visualize a spot outside the table, at an exact mirror image distance where you need the cue ball to roll. Your visualized spot could be on an imaginary table, that's alongside and touching the table that you're playing on.
The cue ball would only be hit hard enough to go to the imaginary spot, but would bounce off the rail, and then would roll into your desired positon zone. 

Two rail position can be played the same way also by thinking about an imaginary spot further out, the total distance that the cue ball would need to travel.
The cue ball would be hit hard enough to go the imaginary distance, bouncing off 1 rail, toward a desired spot on the 2nd rail, and into your position zone.
Thinking outside the box to an imaginary object ball (the mirror image of an existing object ball) can be used for safety kick shots and can also be used for breaking up ball clusters. The cueball could also carom off a ball to an imaginary point outside the rails and into locations for playing safe.
A dogma truth IMO  
15) What exactly is a stun shot?
A stun shot is nothing more than a controlled stop shot. Instead of hitting an OB full in the face and stopping the cue ball dead, the OB contact is off center. The cue ball goes 90 degrees sideways from the object ball path. This path is called the stop shot line, the tangent line, or the stun line.
Did you notice that I said a "controlled" stop shot? The shot angle and correct speed controls the distance the sliding cue ball moves down the stun line for position. To move into the same position zone, a shallow angled cut shot may need hit with more stun speed, and a cut shot with a wider angle may need less speed with more draw. The angle off the OB can be changed considerably, or you could let the CB roll. ( See question #18 )
Although a "true" stun shot would be a 90 degree angle, positions for pocketing the next ball may require different angles and/or speeds off the OB.  
The next time you are practicing, hit some stop shots and vary the cue ball speeds. Use centerball or lower cue tip positions. Try hitting cut shot angles from under 20 degrees and from different distances, stunning the cue ball. Good players can stun the cue ball to within inches for position.
Here's a CB stun control drill for both direction and speed. Put the CB on the center of the table. Place an OB ball touching the CB, and in line toward a side pocket. Roll the CB away. Hit an angled OB shot to the side pocket with stun, sending the CB down the tangent line to the foot spot.

After pocketing the OB, the CB should stay on the tangent line, stopping on the foot spot. Try again with more speed, passing the foot spot with the CB and stopping it 1 ball from the end rail. Try with more stun speed, bouncing the CB back off the rail, coming to a stop 2 balls from the foot spot. 
A dogma truth IMO
16) Why does a sliding cue ball stay on the tangent line?
If the CB and OB are both the same size and weight, and the CB is sliding, the balls separate at 90 degrees. The OB will roll almost immediately.
The cue ball starts sliding down the tangent line before it rolls. How quickly the CB starts it's roll is determined by the cut angle and/or CB speed.
Have you seen a stand with steel balls hung on fishing lines.. (Newton's Cradle).. If you pull an end ball out and drop it, the ball dropped stops dead.
One ball on the opposite end "flies" out. When that end ball comes back it will stop dead, and the ball you first pulled flies out. If you pull two balls
out and drop them, 2 balls on the opposite end fly out. The momentum of whatever weight is dropped transfers to the opposite end of the row of balls.
To stop a cue ball it must be sliding (no roll or backspin) when fully contacting the object ball. The OB then absorbs all the momentum of the weight
of the CB and "flies" out leaving the CB dead. The tangent line crosses the stunned CB path at 90 degrees. The CB stops after it slides into the OB.
When the 90 degree tangent line is angled from the cue ball path, the OB absorbs most of the momentum of the cue ball, but not all. Wider angles
will change the speed of each ball because the OB would be contacted thinner. Less CB momentum is absorbed by the OB as cut angles increase.
The amount of CB momentum on cut shots gets divided between both balls. As the CB cut angles vary, the amount of OB absorbtion will also vary.     
The CB slide ends when friction takes over. With controlled forward or reverse vertical spin you can accurately deviate the CB from the stun line path.

The CB can also slide down the stun line with maximum spin. If you use a numbered ball for your CB, with a number placed on top... that number will stay on top. The CB slides forward as it spins on the bottom number. This only happens for short distances before the CB starts to roll. If it slides upon contact with the OB, the CB spin off the OB won't affect your tangent line direction. The spinning action only affects the CB direction after it contacts a rail. The stun direction doesn't change if your CB slides without spin, or it slides when spinning.
A dogma truth IMO 
17) What is the best way to play position?

Good position play is the only way to keep any run going. There's no way you'll run more than only a few balls without knowing how to get shape ahead.
Almost all position play requires you to move the CB into a desired location. It could be as easy as letting the ball roll, or you may need to steer it there.

In order to run balls, you not only need to get shape on the next ball, but you need to get shape on the correct side of that ball. You'll need a plan. Think ahead before shooting. Place your cue behind your following OB with it pointing at your next intended pocket. What side of the cue should your CB be for shape on the ball that follows that next ball? You need to get shape on the correct side of each OB.. unless you intend to travel all over the table.

The more the cut angle, the less control you'll have on the CB. Sometimes you may have to set up for a longer distance on your next shot to get that controllable angle. You need to try to work off the stun line... (Question #16)... instead of having the CB flying all over the table.

A sliding CB always follows the stun line ( See question #15 ). This is important to know because it will give you an aim point for the CB when playing
position. I call it the Stun Line Aim Point. The stun line path runs 90 degrees from the OB/pocket line. The SLAP is a point on the rail at the end of the
stun line. An angled stun shot, used with the proper speed, will hit the SLAP. Knowing this fact you can use follow, draw and/or CB speed for position.
If you need the CB to run between blocking balls, or need to break up clusters, you can pick a rail spot that's past, but in line with the point intended.

Shape on the next OB may require playing off more than 1 rail. Your angle coming off the 1st rail will depend on where you want to contact the 2nd rail.  
Align the CB to contact the SLAP. Use follow to deviate forward of the stun line. Use draw to deviate back from the stun line. Always think about your CB speed.

After determining the OB aim point, align the CB edge to hit the OB aim point. Your perception of the carom angle may change as you approach the shot.
You may need to tweak in the aim point to align the CB to the OB/pocket line. Novice players will try to force the CB into locations it can't go. Don't do it!

A dogma truth IMOî

18) Where is the cue ball going? 
The cue ball, on a stun shot, moves 90 degrees from the direction of the object ball path. But where is the CB going if it rolls forward or the CB
has some backward spin? The correct answers to these questions can be found on sites linked on the Pool and Billiard links page. There is a graph
on Bob Jewett's website (www.sfbilliards.com) in his miscellaneous file list.  File #26 shows the rolling CB path with various OB fullness contacts.   
If the cue ball has natural roll when it contacts the object ball on a half ball hit, the cue ball will deflect about 33 degrees from it's original path.
The cue ball and object ball will separate and roll apart in directions of equal angles, and both balls will travel approximately the same distances.
A rolling cue ball will deflect slightly less on a hit either fuller or thinner. Cue ball paths, when hitting an object ball with 1/4 or 3/4 ball contact, deflect
about 28 degrees. A rule of thumb for a natural rolling CB on 1/4 to 3/4 OB contacts, is CB a deflection angle of 30 degrees from the original CB path. 
The cue ball with a stun shot, can accurately be steered to travel different paths.. Cue balls with draw also take new paths, but aren't quite as predictable.

You could think of draw angles as 3x the cut angle. If the cut angle is 15 degrees, the CB draw back angle would be 30 degrees from that cut angle, or 45 degrees. If the CB cut angle is 20 degrees, the draw angle would be 60 degrees. A 30 degree cut shot would draw nearly 90 degrees from the original CB path.. The 30 degree draw wouldn't be a draw back, but the CB path changes dramatically. When hit with extreme draw, the direction the cue ball travels on a 1/2 ball hit is almost a right angle from your original cue ball path.  
Fuller or thinner hits on the OB can change the CB path. The speed of the cue ball and amount of draw will also effect as to when it starts to deviate.
So where is the cue ball going? ..There are 3 cue ball paths to look for on a 1/2 OB HIT if using Stun... Natural CB roll... or Draw. Those 3 CB paths are with... Stun - 90 degrees from the OB path... Natural roll - 30 degrees from the original CB path... or Draw - 90 degrees from the original CB path.

With thicker than 1/2 ball hits a rolling CB will also take predictable paths. Imagine a line through the center of your OB that points toward another ball. Aim center CB at the point where that line exits your OB. The CB, after contacting your OB, will deflect very close along your imaginary line.... With a thicker than 1/2 ball hit, using draw, the CB will reverse direction at an angle that's three times your pocket angle.

No matter what happens to your OB... You MUST know where your CB is going. You always need to control the CB for shape or safety play.

Drawing the CB straight back only happens if the shot is straight on. The cut angle and CB spin when it "contacts" the OB will determine
where the cue ball is going... Read Question #again... You must own the stop shot (stun) line. You always work off of your stun line.
Good players know where the cue ball stops.
Poor players know the CB stops somewhere.
This video link added to the dogma page on 3/10/2009... 
Mike Page put out this video explaining the cue ball path.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2J0I6IgLlo8   Another of his excellent instructional videos. 
A dogma truth IMO
19) Ball quarters: Do you recognize the 30 degree OB path?

It's surprising how many people still think the OB will travel at 45 degrees on a 1/2 ball hit. It seems reasonable, and for many years I also assumed it did. The OB center to it's outside edge is 90 degrees. Half of 90 degrees is 45. Shouldn't it travel 45 degrees on a 1/2 ball hit?
Well balls are round, and if racked in a triangle with three 60 degree corners, the outer angles of 3,6,10 or 15 racked balls run 30 degrees.
The OB contact point on a 1/2 ball hit is less than 1/2 way between the OB center and the OB edge, & the OB travels 30 degrees.. not 45.

When talking Ball Quarters some folks visualize overlapping balls.. A 1/2 ball overlap will go 30 degrees.. A 3/4 overlap will go 15 degrees.

This link is about... Ball overlaps and Center CB ...aiming. Many players align the CB edge to find a corresponding OB overlap. The CB looks bigger than the OB if there's a distance between them. If center CB is aimed at the vertical lines for each corresponding 1/8 OB, the overlap aim lines in the link above work well. When your OB is close to a pocket, and you need to reach the CB by using the mechanical bridge (rake), your aim is compromised. It's much easier to aim center CB rather than matching up the CB edge to the exact OB overlap.

Aiming to hit the OB center (full) sends it down the line of sight. Aiming the CB center to the OB outside edge (1/2 ball) sends it down a 30 degree angle. (You should recognize the 30 degree angles of a 3 ball cluster, or 30 degree angles running each side of a 15 ball rack)
CB contacts between full & 1/2 full sends the OB various angles less than 30 degrees. Thinner than 1/2 ball increases the 30 degree OB angles. If you aim CB center at known points along the back of your OB, you can find ball overlaps using center CB... and more precisely.

The 5 OB center to edge angles average 7 1/2*... OB center is 0 degrees, .281 from OB center is 7 1/2 degrees, 1/2 way between OB center and OB edge (ball quarter) is 15 degrees, .281 inside the OB edge is 22 1/2 degrees, and the OB outside edge (half ball) is 30 degrees. CCB aim on the 5 OB aim points sends it these angles. Find the pocket angle first, & aim center CB at 1 of those 5 aim points.

Here's a link showing 15*quarter and 30*edge aim points. Both the .280 aim points are between the ball quarters.... BALL QUARTERS

(From Question #13) I always think of OB aim points as 5 vertical lines. Each vertical line would be in 7 1/2 degree increments. Starting at Center OB... Line #1 would be the 0 degree line.. Line #2 would be 7*.. Line #3 would be 15*.. Line #4 would be 22*.. Line #5 (the OB edge) would be 30 degrees. If a cut angle is greater than 30 degrees you can visualize CB edge increments, from center OB to OB edge.

CCB aim points outside of the OB edge.. OB edge 30 degrees... .280 outside OB edge 40 degrees... .560 outside OB edge 50 degrees... .840 outside OB edge 60 degrees... 1.120 outside OB edge 90 degrees... (These outside of OB references can be very hard to visualize).
As the CB center passes the OB edge, the same OB aim points can be used by lining the CB edge for 40, 50, 60 and 90 degree angles.

I don't think of overlaps because each overlap has a precise aim line. If I aim CCB at line 1,2,3,4 or 5.. I know the paths my OB will take.
Find the 5 OB 1/8 overlaps precisely. CCB aimed at Line 1 (full ball).. Line 2 (7/8 ball).. Line 3 (3/4 ball).. Line 4 (5/8 ball).. Line 5 (1/2 ball)

The 5 vertical aim points run horizontally along the OB... like a pencil glued on the OB... In other words your aim points do not follow the contour of the OB. It is important to think that way when your balls are close.. Pick the 5 OB aim points looking from a linear perspective.
You could think of the OB as a flat disk instead of a sphere. The five vertical lines would be evenly spaced from the OB center to it's edge.
The main vertical lines are 1, 3 & 5 (your known angle points). Lines 2 & 4 are the between angles. Line 6 if used, is outside the OB edge.

Another link to finding the object ball quarters... Billiards the game.. finding-the-quarter 

Visualize verticle lines drawn on a clock face to help find the OB quarters. The OB center is a vertical line from 12 to 6 O'clock(0 degrees)
Quarter ball is a verticle line from 1 to 5 O'clock(15 degrees). Half ball is a verticle line on the OB edge at 3 O'clock(30 degrees). The OB is divided into quarters between those 3 imaginary lines. I think it's best to always find your pocketing angle as you approach the CB from behind the shot.

A dogma truth IMO

20) The pocket angle... How do you find it?

Standing behind the shot, to find the pocket angle from behind the ball is the norm and used by most players. IMO there is a better way.
The most accurate way to find the pocketing angle is from the "FRONT" of the OB. (Read the "connecting the dots" links in blue below)

Think of the OB as the 2nd ball in a 15 ball rack. Visualize the first 3 balls to "recognize the 30 angle" down both sides of a 15 ball rack. Your pocket angle may be wider or narrower. After determining your pocket angle, send the CB center to a corresponding spot on the OB.

To pocket a OB the CB must hit a contact point. The contact point on the OB can be seen. The contact point on the CB can't be seen. So how do you make the balls collide on both contact points for the angle? The contact points on both balls are the same distance from their centers. If the CB Center is aimed at the OB edge, the contact points collide 1/2 way between both ball centers and both ball edges. If the CB center is aimed 1/2 way between OB center and OB edge, again both balls collide 1/2 way between that aim point and the OB center.

There are 360 contact points on the OB. I'm calling those contact points dots. If you aim the CB center at any OB dot, the CB and OB will collide on a different dot (Except for straight in shots). If the CB is aimed at a known OB dot, 2 different dots always collide. Aiming the CB at the known dot connects 2 different dots to send an OB to the pocket. Pocket angles must be known before connecting the CB/OB dots.

Read the following in order.. Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.  Connecting the dots ..... Connecting the dots.. Part 2 ..... Connecting the dots.. Part 3
Post #1 and #6 in the Connecting the dots part 3 thread, will show you how to make your own template for recognizing pocketing angles.

AIM LINE PROJECTION: Now that the OB ball quarters 0, 15 and 30 are known.. how do you find the between pocket angles? When you come down into the shot, align the cue, the CB and the OB all in the same line. From that point you'll want to extend, or project the aiming line to the rail so you can see, in your minds eye, if the aim and pocketing angle lines vary from your 0, 15, or 30 degree aim point.

Projecting the line all the way to the rail lets you recognize the 30 degree line (as above). You'll realize when it's less than, or fuller than a 30 degree 1/2 ball hit. The projected line and the OB pocketing line forms an angle. The angle formed determines which OB quarter you will use. If your pocketing angle requires.. more than.. or less than.. a 1/2 ball hit, you'll need to refine your center CB aim. You may find the angle in front of the OB may be hard to determine on back cut angles. That would be an angle where the CB is closer to the rail than the OB. If this is the case the angle should be determined from the backside of the OB. The pocket to OB line compares to CB to OB line.

Look at both your imaginary projected line and the required pocket line the OB needs to take. If the angle is 15 degrees, the CB must be aimed at 1/4 ball on the OB. If the projected line and pocket line is less than 15 degrees, the CB center needs to be aimed between the OB center and 1/4 OB. Needless to say.. It's important that you Recognize the 30 degree cut angle for angle comparisons. You may find it quicker to find your pocket angle from behind the OB on certain shots for a double check on the angle that you found in front of the OB.

A dogma truth IMO

21) What makes the cue ball "squirt"?

The term "squirt" describes the CB deflection from the OB aiming line. How can the CB deflect from a correct aiming line?  The vertical axis could be the culprit.

USING SIDE - Experience will teach you .. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=7L6P6jGfefI .. About Snooker but is very informative. 2/24/17

If a putter is aligned properly, the golf ball will always be hit on line. The putter pushes the golf ball toward the direction that it's aimed. If a pool cue is aligned properly, the CB could still be hit off line. So what's the difference? Both balls will move from the point of contact toward their vertical axis... the putter face is wide with a flat surface... the cue tip is narrow with a rounded surface

A flat putter face, always rolls the golf ball toward it's vertical axis. The cue might be aligned OK, but the radius of the cue tip may not hit the exact center line of the CB.
If the vertical center axis and cue tip contact point are even slightly misaligned, the CB will squirt, or deflect. This squirt effect is minimized by hitting the CB high with follow. It may be that the CB starts to roll forward slightly before it deflects.
A well chalked cue tip could help to eliminate squirt with a slightly off center contact. The chalk will make the tip cling to the CB as the cue is being thrust forward.

How much the CB squirts depends on speed and the amount of off center contact. This is the reason you'll need to adjust your aim point when hitting off center.
Many players hit too hard or too far from CB center. Doing both accentuates the amount of squirt. My advice: Think small on the CB when placing your cue tip.

A dogma truth IMO

22) Is center table the best place to play position?
Your best cue ball position choice may require that the CB end up near center table. From the table center you may find multiple shots and cut angles for cue ball positions.

So just what spot on the table is considered.. table center?  1/2 way between the side pockets is the exact center, but that spot might not be where you can pocket your OB, or get good position for your next ball.

Table center is an "area" on the center of the table. The size of that area depends on how far you can stretch from the end rails and make a comfortable bridge without compromising your stroke. Test for your own comfortable bridge distance and try to keep the CB within that perimeter. The end of my CB distance on 9 foot tables is just past the side pockets. This "area" for my CB is between the end rail to about 1/2 diamond from each side pocket.
Of course the table center might not be possible.. but.. you should almost/always.. consider all rails as a "No Parking Zone" for any cue ball positions. If your following shot on the OB isn't nearly parallel to the rail.. you'd only be able to put follow on the CB.. unless being severely jacked up with the cue stick.
Leaving the CB at least 1/2 diamond from the rails and within your own bridge zone reduces the use of the mechanical bridge. Pro players will sometimes use a mechanical bridge... but they'll use it seldomly. 
Visualize an imaginary line drawn from the corner pocket to the foot spot. This "imaginary line" would run at a 45 degree angle from the short (end) rail.
Put an OB on the imaginary line.  Place a CB randomly so it will hit the end rail after pocketing the OB. Pocket the OB with a stunned CB.
After OB pockets, the cue ball should go 45 degrees into the short rail, rebounding toward the side rail, and then to the center of the table.

If the OB is on either side of the imaginary line, the cue ball needs to be forced into a path that would run at a 45 degree angle from the end rail. 
If the imaginary line is between the OB and end rail, use Follow on the CB.  If the OB is between the imaginary line and end rail, use Draw.
Here's a Youtube link to Dr. Daves' VEPS II, showing how the 45 degree rule to center table is used..... www.youtube.com/watch?v=9OD5TsWrByI
You could also practice pocketing balls in a side pocket, coming off 3 rails with the cue ball, to the table center. Try hitting some slightly angled draw shots. Draw the CB back with, and without, touching a rail. Practice stopping your cue ball near center table.
These shots show the CB angles and the speed that's required to stop the cue ball near center table. It's also useful information for other position play. 
A dogma truth IMO
23) What is BHE and pivot points?
This is how I was taught to aim when using side spin.. play with a "level cue" adjusting for any CB deflection.. and I still sometimes play this way.
When putting one tip of right english on the cue ball, the object ball aim point moves one tip to the right. If using left english, aim one cue tip left.
(Adjust the OB aim point, and the cue tip offset, in the same direction and same distance, as the english applied to the cue ball)

With practice you'll find the OB aim contact point will be thicker when using inside english. When using outside english hit it thinner. (See question #21)
A different way is being taught now. A pivot point, measured back from the cue tip, and back hand english (BHE) to align the direction of the cue.
The cue is aligned to the CB center... you then pivot away from center CB. The cue angle can change as the pivot length changes. The correct cue pivot point, if using side english, allows for less CB deflection. Your back hand controls the angled cue direction.
Information on BHE and pivot points can be found in some of the instructional sites on the Pool and Billiard links page. I've tried finding the pivot point on my cue & using BHE. It seems to compensate for most cue ball squirt. BHE "changes" the cue stick attack angle. The correct amount of cue pivot allegedly gets you closer to your OB contact point.... I much prefer the way that I was first taught to aim.

With BHE, the cue is aimed at the OB aim point, and then it pivots away for an off angled CB hit.. Check out... Billiards The Game
The way I was taught (to place the cue tip toward the same side of the CB as the OB when aimed off center) will compensate for squirt.
The users of BHE know that with the correct pivot length the cue ball heads straight down the aiming line.. but does BHE really eliminate all squirt?  The answer is NO. The BHE cue attack angle is aligned away the OB pocketing point. With BHE the cue ball deflects (squirts) down that pocketing line.

BHE is different than RAAP (Question #13) as your cue tip is off the CB/OB center (inside the cutline) and and then pivots to center CB.

A dogma truth IMO
24) Do you hit both the rail and object ball simultaneously on rail shots?
NOTE: The 2 links below are old and no longer work. I'll try to fix them in the near future....

Set up an experimental combination shot by placing 6 balls on the table as shown in this CueTable layout.
The cue tip is placed under the rail. The 1 and 2 balls are placed against the rail. The 1 ball should touch both the cue and the 2 ball. The
3,4,5 and 6 balls are placed against the cue with the 6 touching the 1, and all balls touching. The cue ball is placed further up on the cue. Roll the cue stick away as shown in the picture. Remove the 6 ball. Remove the 1 ball. The 3,4,5 ball combination that remains eliminates any third ball throw on the 5 ball.
The rail and 2 ball will both be contacted simutaneously by the 5 ball as shown in this CueTable layout.
The 2 ball takes the path as shown in the picture when the rail and 2 ball are contacted at the same time. Try it 3 or 4 times to see what happens.
Try the same shot with a 1/4 inch gap between the 1 and 2 ball. Move the 2 ball closer to the pocket by 1/4 inch before removing the 6 and 1 balls.
The 5 ball now hits the rail 1/4 inch before it contacts the 2 ball. The 2 ball hugs the rail to the pocket. Try it 3 or 4 times again to see what happens.
Many players hit the rail and ball simultaneously, or they ignore the rail completely. Balls on the rail, hit simultaneously with follow, do pocket well.
If you need follow on the CB, try to hit the OB and rail at the same time. If you need to stun or draw the CB, I think it's better to contact the rail first.
Think about this.... If a ball is against a rail, the ball equator actually is under the nose of the cushion. Hitting rail first will compress the rail slightly.
A dogma truth IMO
25) What is "third ball throw"?
Straight pool players will continually check the stack. If the cluster is contacted, and a ball moves, there could be a chance of a dead-in-combination.
By saying "dead-in-combination" doesn't mean the balls have to be lined up toward a pocket. Unknowing players may pass up very makeable shots.
One thing a straight pool player looks for is 2 very close balls, almost inline toward a pocket. He could possibly throw the object ball into a pocket.
Any touching inline two ball combination, hit on the side of the 2nd ball, will throw the 3rd ball. Both the 2nd & 3rd ball move toward the same direction.
The 2nd ball goes 90 degrees from the combo line. The 3rd ball goes about 5 degrees from the combo line, depending on the speed and fullness of hit.
Put a cue ball (1st ball) near a side pocket. Put a (2nd) ball on the footspot with a (3rd) ball touching it. Line up the 2nd & 3rd toward a corner pocket.
A CB hit on the direct combination line sends the 3rd ball to the pocket. A CB hit slightly less than 1/2 ball contact on the 2nd ball throws the 3rd ball.
Less than 1/2 ball hit on the left side of the 2nd ball sends the 3rd ball right of the pocket. Less than 1/2 ball hit on the right sends the 3rd to the left.
A stationary ball, by the side of the 2nd ball, can make offline combos possible. Any ball contacting the correct side of the 2nd ball, will throw the 3rd. 
A dogma truth IMO
26) Do you practice 8 ball run outs?

I think a good way to simulate 8 ball run outs for single players is to practice by playing the game.. Fast 8 .. using only 9 balls on the table. After the break you'll pick out either ball group giving yourself ball-in-hand. There are only 4 obstacle balls but you'll have to plan run outs ahead, just as you would if you were playing against an opponent. Look from the 8 ball backwards for your options.

Work on your break.. your pre shot routine.. your stroke.. your CB speed.. your CB routes.. your positions off the tangent line. You'll play better 8 ball by thinking ahead on every shot. Look at the next intended OB shot line. Where do you want the CB to stop? What CB route will give you multiple opportunities? Use the rails to approach shot lines from behind your next OB.

Your only practicing. Shoot problem shots multiple times. Be prepared when actually playing against opponents. Fast 8 may seem simple, but by practicing as a single player, it may help you to become an 8 ball beast.

A dogma truth IMO

27) Are the table pockets tight or are they "buckets"?
Some bar tables have holes the size of buckets because of wide jaws, big throat openings and minimum shelf depths. Tables with tight pocket openings can play well if the pocket sides are angled correctly. Unfair "tough" pockets could have wrong pocket angles with deep shelf depths.
Non tournament table corner pocket specifications are between 4 7/8 and 5 1/8 inches. Tournament table minimums are 4 1/2 inches.
Cut angles on the sides of the corner pocket entrances should be 142 degrees (52+90). The pockets are measured at the front opening.
To be a legal pocket, 2 balls must fit inside the front of the pocket mouth, but not necessarily in the rear of the pocket.
The shelf between the pocket jaws can be range anywhere from 1 to 2 1/4 inches in depth. 
Many bar tables meet the pocket specs but have short shelf depths. The pocket widths will be max, with a minimum shelf to help the ball drop.
Most bar table pockets are very easy for good players. On tight tables,with shimmed pockets, the balls must be hit precisely or they won't go in.
Some better players will have their home table pockets shimmed to create very tight pockets. Ball accuracy is a must on most shimmed tables.
Shimmed pockets require good CB position play. It's very hard to put side spin on the cue ball, cheat the pocket, and still pocket the object ball.

Some say they'd rather play soft (easy) tables and cheat the pockets. I like tough tables for practice. It eliminates some pocket cheating, but not all.
It eliminates some ball spinning, but not all. You will play more precise center ball positioning, using more CB speed control for shape on other balls.

Do you aim at the wear lines (aka tracks) from balls entering the pockets? If the OB is on or inside the wear lines, it will pocket. Put a ball
on the foot spot. Shoot at either wear line running inside the pocket and the ball will pocket. Now move the OB to a position between the
foot spot and the short rail. The ball only pockets if you aim at the wear line on the far side. You have less pocket to work with as the angle
changes. When the table pockets are tight, any ball that catches the near tit will deflect toward the opposite pocket side and could rattle
back out. The tracks run parallel to the rail cushions and are lighter in color from wear. Stay inside the lighter pocket tracks on harder hits.

In the previous sentences I said the tracks are lighter in color from wear. It's easy to say that, as most folks think that. IMO the wear tracks aren't lighter from rolling wear, but from the balls hitting the cushions and pocket facings. The cushion nose is higher than the ball equator and pocket facings have down angles. When the cushions and facings get hit many times, the balls get pushed downward.. into the cloth.

How does your table compare?  First: Measure your corner pockets.... Measure pockets .... Next: Find your table difficulty factor.... TDF
Your table could play very easy, or very tough, depending on the corner pocket TDF measurements. (dr daves' Billiard University website)
How they measure Diamond Table corner pockets.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lG9CqK95U2E  (Greg Sullivan - Diamond Billiards)

Put notebook reinforcements inside each corner pocket (between both of the 2 wear track points) from balls running around pocket points
Reinforcement rings (donuts) give good center pocket visual targets.. Side pocket donuts should be placed center pocket, in line with the cushions.
Use the donuts as a guide to find the back of the pocket. Sight from the OB, past the center of the donut to your aim point in the back of the pocket.

Something to think about is the total size of 6 pockets.. If 6 pockets average 5", it's a total of 30 inches ..that's a big hole on any bar table.
A dogma truth IMO
28) How do you keep score using scoring beads?

Some tables have built in scoring wheels to keep score. Although practical, it's very easy to bump the wheel and accidentally change the score if the
wheel is loose. If the wheel is dirty or sticky it can be hard to turn. I prefer to use wooden scoring beads hung on a wire above the table. Not only is
it easy to slide beads along the wire,  just a glance will check the ball tally. Beads show ball counts in straight pool, or the games won in 8 or 9 ball.

The term "games on the wire" are beads added toward a weaker players' game count.  All pool rooms should hang scoring beads. They just look cool. 

A set of scoring beads... Wood Scoring Beads ...has 3 eyelets to hang them.. an eyelet on either end, and an eyelet 1/2 way between the bead colors. The beads come on a string holding them together, and will need to be restrung along a stretched cable, supported from the ceiling by strings tied to the eyelets. Hang the beads high enough so they could easily be reached by your cue (6-7 feet) The cable should only be stretched tight enough to support your beads. A little bit sagging between the 3 eyelets is okay.
Beads should hang at the foot end of the table. The end eyelets hang so that there's a 20" space from middle eyelet to the 1st bead. The space between the center spacer to the first bead should allow for 15 beads to be pulled toward the center with room to spare on the wire.
(See the scoring beads video below)

If your preference is to hang your beads by the middle spacer only, you could put small clamps on the wire to keep the ends from moving. Vintage beads hang by threaded spacers, with bolts that screw down into the wire... My center spacer hangs from a picture hanging wire.

A short youtube video on how to use the scoring beads by AzB forum member 14-1StraightMan....   http://youtu.be/tvtqupN_o_o 

In the video he talks about 7 scoring beads, but must be nervous and moves 6.  When he subtracts a point, he pulls a bead from the rack count first.
I prefer to pull a bead from the total count first. After that bead touches the rack count I go to the opposite rack count end and pull the rack bead back.

Checking the score in 14.1.. http://forums.azbilliards.com/showpost.php?p=5982245&postcount=1.. from AzB forums member AtLarge

Read the 14.1 Gentlemens Game rules located at the end of this page....

A dogma truth IMO

29) What are the most common mistakes?
Bad habits may creep into any players game without them even recognizing that it's happening. Here are some common mistakes that I've seen.
Lack of concentration. Not staying down. Rushing the stroke. Letting up on the stroke. Loss of composure. Careless stances. Loose bridges.
Not using a level cue (especially when hitting the cue ball off center). Not chalking the tip. Pump handling the practice strokes. Using a jab stroke.
Using too much english (not allowing for cue ball squirt). Hitting the shots too hard (not controlling the cue ball). Not correcting these mistakes.
An extremely important thing is your preshot routine. You must enter the shot from behind, not from the side. You must have a plan before shooting.

Make sure you stroke with your forearm... not with your shoulder... Your forearm only bends toward your shoulder. Your shoulder moves in circles.
If you hold your elbow high your forearm goes in line. If you drop the elbow before contacting the CB the shoulder turns your cue off your shot line.
You may want to check to see if your stroking hand is under your shoulder, your tip close to the CB, the cue aligned, and stroking room  for the cue

I've seen players making the same mistakes for years. They just don't know... or just don't care. If you miss a shot, practice that shot. Ask yourself
if missing a shot was because of a faulty stroke? Your preshot setup? Your follow through? Did you really stay down and concentrate on that shot? 
You don't want to try to analyze all missed shots. The more you think about a missed shot, the more instilled into your memory bank it will become.

A dogma truth IMO 
30) How much weight should I ask for?
Playing 9 ball against a better player you may want to ask for some weight, but how much?  You could ask for games on the wire and have fewer
games to win than your opponenent. You could ask for other balls than just the 9 ball to win. You could also ask for the break on every game.
I was once asked for weight that I thought was somewhat bizarre. My opponent wanted what he called the "rainbow break". He wanted the break on every game, and he would then play me even up. The bizarre part was if he happened to pocket "any ball" on the break he would win.
You can ask an opponent for any amount of weight. The short list below shows just a few variations ranging from lesser to more weight.

Last 2
8 ball
Break & 8
Break & 7
Break - 7 & last 2
Break - 7 & last 3
A dogma truth IMO

31) What do you use to clean your shaft?
I've seen sandpaper and scrub pads used to clean increasingly smaller diameter shafts. I've seen talcum powder, cue slick ointments,
and even chalk cubes rubbed on shafts. I think there is a better way ...the Magic Eraser, a product from Mr. Clean, that I cut in half. 
The box says do not use on bare/polished wood as the product is generally soaked in water for cleaning. To clean my shaft I dry rub the
shaft with the Eraser. I then rub the shaft with a rag to clean any residue left from cleaning. The shaft will be very slick after using the rag.
The Magic Eraser is a microporous material of melamine foam and is slightly abrasive.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magic_Eraser

I've used a Magic Eraser pad to clean cue balls. Dawn dish washing detergent in warm water and then scrub the chalk marks on the CB.
A dogma truth IMO
32) How do you replace a cue tip that has come loose?
If the cue tip on your cue has become loose or has fallen off, you can have it replaced by a repairman, or you can save money by doing it
yourself. Even if you do a poor job it can be redone later by paying a qualified cuemaker.
Make sure the ferrule is cleaned well, is flat and there are no cracks. The leather tip should be sanded flat where it will be glued to the ferrule. The
glue should not be fast setting so you can move the tip into position. I use "Gorilla glue" that expands when the mating surfaces are dampened.*
The trick is to keep pressure on the tip as the glue sets up. I wrap a wide rubber band around the shaft about 6" below the ferrule and use masking
tape to keep it from sliding up the shaft. The rubber band is stretched over the glued tip. The tip is reset to align with the ferrule and the cue is set
aside until the glue dries. The Gorilla glue will expand somewhat as it dries and the exposed glue will need to be trimmed off with a razor blade.
* Gorilla glue is activated when mating surfaces are dampened with water
A dogma truth IMO

33) Will a stitch in time save 9?

You've probably heard this saying before. If you have a small tear in a piece of material, one stitch will prevent the tear from getting large
enough to need 9 stitches. If a small hole shows up on the cloth of your table, fix it before it becomes a problem. The exposed fibers will
unravel as the hole becomes increasingly larger. Before that happens a small amount of Gorilla glue dabbed into those exposed fibers of
the small hole stops the unraveling. Don't use water. Just dab the fibers slightly with a toothpick and drop of glue. Tap it down when dry.

A dogma truth IMO

34) Do you mark the table when practicing position shots?

I use notebook reinforcement rings (donuts) for my ball placements. Each ball can be placed on the same exact spot for repeated shots.
For position zones, I put painters tape into a wedge where I'll need to be for CB shape. Painters tape peels off easily and can be reused.

A dogma truth IMO

When is the best time to play safe? ....sometimes the next shot is waiting too long 
What is cheating the pocket? ....the center of the pocket may not be the center of the pocket

What makes the object ball skid? ....french fries, chalk and CB burn marks
Why do some balls seem heavier than others?....the word "seem" may apply here
Is pool less popular than in years past?....lack of pool rooms and lots of video games
What is the best chalk? ....manufacturer consistencies may vary

How do you check for shaft flex? ...with cue butt on rail press down. Rotate 180* press again

Pendulum stroke... Stroking shoulder and elbow should be high.
Think small on the CB... Especially when using off center hits.
Can the size of the pocketing area change?
How straight is your stroke? Align the cue with OB.. Raise the tip.
How to find the front edge of the CB? Draw circles.
How can you eliminate corner pocket rattle?
Wear lines (tracks) and the actual pocket openings.
Perfect size pocket openings with 141 degree angles?
Should pocket angles change when the pockets are narrowed?
Why does some form of gambling improve your game?
Play for pin point shape?... or... play for CB area locations?
Throw 7-8-9 balls on table.. BIH.. call all pockets before starting run.
George Fels... determining A, B, C and D balls.
TOI using perception aiming to pocket balls.
Correct rail height to keep balls from jumping or being trapped.
More detailed dogma truths to these and other questions will be updated ......when I have the time

Regards, Carl Sandstrom .... (aka Ralph Kramden)

14.1 Continuous Rules....  The Gentlemens game

14.1 Straight Pool rules

14.1 Continuous Pool, also known as Straight Pool, is played with fifteen numbered balls and the cue ball. Each ball pocketed on a legal called shot counts one point and the first player to reach the required score wins the match. 14.1 is continuous in that after fourteen balls are pocketed, they are re-racked and the shooter continues.

                                                            Lagging for the break

Players lag to determine who will shoot first.

The 14.1 rack

For an opening break shot, the fifteen balls are racked in a triangle with the apex ball on the foot spot. When the balls are re-racked, the apex ball is omitted if only fourteen balls are being racked. The marked outline of the triangle will be used to determine whether an intended break ball is in the rack area.

 Opening Break Shot

The following rules apply to the opening break shot: 
(a) The cue ball begins in hand behind the head string. 
(b) If no called ball is pocketed, the cue ball and two object balls must each be driven to a rail or the shot is a breaking foul. This is penalized by subtracting two points from the breaker's score. The non-breaking player may accept the balls in position or may require the breaker to play another opening break shot, until he satisfies the requirements for an opening break or the non-shooting player accepts the table in position.

 Continuing Play and Winning the Game

The shooter remains at the table as long as he continues to legally pocket called balls or wins the game by scoring the required number of points. When fourteen balls from a rack have been legally pocketed, play is suspended until the balls are re-racked.

 Shots Required to Be Called

Shots must be called. The shooter may call "safety" in which case play passes to the opponent at the end of the shot and any object ball pocketed on the safety is spotted.

 Spotting Balls

All balls pocketed on fouls, or on safeties, or without a called ball having been pocketed, and all balls driven off the table are spotted. If the fifteenth ball of a rack needs to be spotted and the fourteen balls have not been touched, the fifteenth ball will spot on the apex spot and the referee may use the triangle to assure a tight rack.


The shooter scores one point for legally pocketing a called shot. Each additional ball pocketed on such a shot also counts one point. Fouls are penalized by subtracting points from the offending player's score. Scores may be negative due to penalties from fouls.

 Special Racking Situations

When the cue ball or fifteenth object ball interferes with racking fourteen balls for a new rack, the following special rules apply. A ball is considered to interfere with the rack if it is within or overlaps the outline of the rack. The referee will state when asked whether a ball interferes with the rack. 
(a) If the fifteenth ball was pocketed on the shot that scored the fourteenth ball, all fifteen balls are re-racked. 
(b) If both balls interfere, all fifteen balls are re-racked and the cue ball is in hand behind the head string. 
(c) If only the object ball interferes, it is placed on the head spot or the center spot if the cue ball blocks the head spot. 
(d) If only the cue ball interferes, then it is placed as follows: if the object ball is in front of or on the head string, the cue ball is in hand behind the head string; if the object ball is behind the head string, the cue ball is spotted on the head spot, or on the center spot if the head spot is blocked. In any case, there is no restriction on which object ball the shooter may play as the first shot of the new rack.

Straight pool racking chart... 14.1 Racking situations

 Standard Fouls

If the shooter commits a standard foul, a point is subtracted from his score, balls are spotted as necessary, and play passes to his opponent. The cue ball remains in position... Except as noted below:

Cue ball scratch is ball in hand behind the head string... No rail after contact... No foot on floor... Ball driven off table... Touched ball...  Double hit... Push shot... Balls still moving... Bad cue ball placement... Bad play from behind head string... Cue stick on the table... Playing out of turn... Slow play

 Breaking Foul

A breaking foul is penalized by the loss of two points as well as a possible re-break. If both a standard foul and a breaking foul happen on one shot, it is considered a breaking foul.                                                                       

Serious Fouls

consecutive fouls. Only standard fouls are counted, so a breaking foul doesn't count as one of the three fouls. A point is subtracted for the third foul as usual, and then an additional fifteen point penalty is subtracted for the third foul and the offending player's consecutive foul count is reset to zero. All 15 balls are re-racked and the offending player is required to shoot under the requirements of the opening break. 

Unsportsmanlike Conduct: The referee will choose a penalty depending on the nature of the offense. 


If a stalemate occurs, the players will lag again to determine who will shoot an opening break.