This section is devoted to billiard study material that would normally be includ-
ed in a
Billiard Atlas Book On Systems and Techniques, probably Volume V
---and now offered as a
to the players of the world.
New information will be added on a regular basis. Hope you enjoy the varied
areas of study.
Shown below, is an uncomplicated system donated by
Turkey's Murat Tuzul.
The cue ball employs a dead ball hit
(one cue tip above center). Avoid a
follow-through stroke and use soft speed.
The first rail hit spot (point of aim) = the cue ball origin number
minus the (third rail
desired hit spot plus 50% of that number).
the rail edge for all numbers. Note that the first rail hit
spot of zero is dif-
ficult to hit (on the short rail) --- use a hit spot of about 2
instead of the exact corner.
method can determine the desired path off an object ball.
cue tip of side english, can alter the 3rd rail hit point by one
diamond, but this
needs practice. This system can locate many cue ball paths.
Along the cue balls horizontal axis , a safe maximum hit spot is where the
the cue tip is 18mm
away from the cue balls center---a carom
ball has similar
The diameter for a pool ball is 56mm diameters, and 61mm diameters for
the carom ball.
The cue balls miscue area is at 24mm away from center ball, and miscues
at 21mm. Some
miscues were evident at under 20mm on the
smaller ball---great care must
be taken with chalking the cue tip.
The double hit area on a cue ball, is about 20mm from the cue ball
center---the first hit determines the initial
cue ball english---the second hit
act like a brake, thus slowing the initial desired english---this double
can only be
observed with a high speed camera.
This entire double hit subject is difficult to assess since this test was
by the robot, and Iron Willie has a
very firm arm grip on the cue
stroke does not slow down.
In actual play, a players back hand slows down during the tip-ball con-
tact, and they
may not have this second
hit---each player slows his stroke
Note: Several factors were involved in the above test---level cue---full
follow through stroke---medium cue ball
speed--- normal cue ball coating
---a cue stick that has a
medium stiffness---various brand cues were used in
tests---a 12mm cue tip was
employed and the results depend somewhat
on the tip diameter.
Note: The below information is confirmed by a high speed camera, one that
takes a maximum
of 12,000 frames per second---tests were conducted by
experts Bob Jewett and Michael Shamos---others taking part were
Harris, Jim Buss and Hans de Jager. Test location
was at Clawson Cue Com-
pany, home of the Predator cues,
during the week of November 2,
The Bridge Hand
A good billiard shot will fail if not made from a solid bridge, which is the
foundation upon which a player builds his or her stroke.
With good support on all sides, a three-finger bridge should form a solid
tripod for support. A "closed" bridge is needed but an "open" bridge can
be used occasionally.
Comfort is one of the aspects you have to deal with in making a bridge
and at first may be uncomfortable, but not so
after a prolonged practice.
Once you get used to your solid
foundation, you will never have to make
further uncomfortable changes.
How tightly your bridge grips the shaft is a matter of personal taste, how-
ever, it is best to retain slight contact on all sides of the shaft. If yours
seem too tight, use a bridge glove to allow the cue to move smoothly
through the fingers.
"The more contact you maintain with the shaft, the less
likely your stroke is to deviate when you actually execute a shot."
If you start from the basics and adjust to the bridge that works for you,
you will have a solid foundation and can then move on to other aspects
of the stroke and game without worrying about the bridge.
Ken Tewksbury, BCA Advanced Level Instructor
Below, are two graphic examples---courtesy of the master instructors of Japan.
Bridge height adjustment
How to form an open bridge bridge
Blomdahl once spoke about cue characteristics and mentioned that
the key ingredient in determining whether a cue hits well is the
shaft. He went on to say he might go through a hundred shafts
before finding a good one.
Cuemaker Dennis Dieckman mentioned that he heard Kobayashi
actually would go through several hundred shafts at Japanís
Helmstetter's factory, not just looking at them but playing with
them all before picking the three or four that he would use. Sang
Lee also tests many shafts before selecting one. Komori on the
other hand would take whatever shafts Helmstetter gave him and
play with them without comment.
The problem with a wood shaft is that it has properties that are
not homogeneous. Some parts of the wood shaft are stronger and
have more density than other parts---because of the grain.
An example of this shown when a piece of wood is splintered and
the broken portion follows the curved grain line.
This grain line may not have the hitting quality of the shaft in the
actual center of the shaft, but off-center.
If fiberglass or metal were used for shafts, it would not have a
grain to deal with. The shaft would hit evenly throughout and the
center of the shaft density would never be off-center---but a
wood shaft is much more desirable.
Dennis further mentioned that his order of grain importance is
tightness, straightness, then color. Dennis further mentioned that
itís very important for a player to get at least two shafts with a
custom cue and that they be weight matched.
Shafts can vary in density and thus in finished weight. Playerís
usually use the shaft that most closely matches the feel or
balance they are looking for and seldom use the other because of
the weight difference. They do not realize that the two shafts
may not be matched and just use the one that "feels better.Ē
From a different perspective, Raymond Ceulemans once commented
on what is the most important part of the cue. "The only thing that
matters to me is the tip. Give me a good tip on a broomstick and I
would still beat everybody."
Bob Byrne related a story where Ceulemans once said that when
he found a good tip, he would remove it from his shaft and save it
for future use since he favored a good tip that is broken in.
As new cue information arrives it will be added here---check back
A Good Tip
During the 2001 Las Vegas World Cup, many of the worldís best 3-C
playerís were surveyed on what cue tips they use, along with other
It seems that most Belgium players stayed with tradition, which is to
use a smaller tip size, while most other top players use tip sizes bet-
ween 11.5 and 12.0 mm.
||Varies with table
While all were quizzed on their tip size and shaft configuration selections, Dick
Jaspers summed up this subject best by stating that the 12 mm size was best for
power shots, while the 11.5 size handled cue ball spin best---an 11.7 mm tip was
In my 3-C travels, it seems that the average 3-C player does not use a cue that
has tip and shaft configurations that compares to the above.
Incidently, most new cues come with inexpensive tip material.
The stiff shaft allows for much better cue ball deflection, thus much better object
ball hits---same for 12mm tip sizes---yet, having a good feel for cue ball spin, is important.
For those players who desire cue ball slide, a certain product is available
and is listed below---coatings are not
to affect the cushion edge, or the
The 3-M corporation has one liquid as the cleaner and the other liquid
as the final finish---the cleaner is named
Finesse-It and the final finish
3-M Liquid Polish, Clear Coat Face---this is a two coat
and can be
hand buffed or machine buffed, to a final gloss---
usually found at automobile supply
Corner Pocket in Ft Lauderdale Florida, and Master Billiards in New
York, use this type of
Top pocket billiard players are known for not liking this type of ball slide
---someday, somewhere, a 9-ball event
will feature this type of cue
slide, and the locals will have the advantage---maybe China ?
Ten Second Lesson
At the 1999 Las Vegas World Cup I asked Raymond Ceulemans
what would be the most important
"stroke advice" he would offer
the average player.
"Try to move only the arm below the elbow and do not use much
wrist for most shots", was his reply..
Much can go wrong if you do not follow his advice. This has a lot to do
with losing control of the shot and
becoming a better player.
Itís easy to classify billiard players; those who stroke the ball correctly,
and those who do not. For example,
most players move their head or
upper body as they strike the cue ballÖnotice this when observing others.
The player must stay motionless until the cue ball is gone. Peeking at the
shot too quickly causes problems
such as slightly pulling up and not follow-
ing through completely.
Shoot most shots without using much wrist, especially short angle shots.
The forearm and hand work as a
unit and have much more control of the
cue ball with better results.
Once practiced, your stroke will magically improve.
A Ladder Tournament
River City Miracle
In Wichita, I selfishly organized these locals recently using Bondzinski's
concept so that they could see
their averages and have their
hearts on improvement. It
worked too. There are 14 players. In one month
played over 100 games and the
housemen are cleaning the table
everyday. Without 4 pounds of chalk, they play
Then, I make available the Atlas books for those that stand still long enough
to read a select
page or two. Most will.
Those of us that rely on the books and our working our way through them
(one new thing at
a time) "call our shots"
to each other, so we can compare
and discuss the many
approaches. It's a minor miracle, right here in River
One guy will say, "Rising
Sun," another offers, "Dead Ball here", "Sid",
"Walt's," "Sang Lee," "Plus," all those familiar
Here's the punch-line: "these writings have given even Wichita a body of infor-
that is improving play and interest
in the game...not just for students and
fanatics, like me, but for the newcomers and converted pool players
in town. The way these
books play a part in the improvement of the game is
probably greater than Walt will ever
Author of the above, David from Wichita, Kansas , December 12, 1998
<DKS411@aol.com> Ladder expert, Frank Bondzinski,1301 Ironwood Dr.
Mount Prospect, IL 60056.
Simple Reverse-the-Rail System (Cho-dan-cho)
One of Korea's World Class Players CHUL MIN KIM donated this simple
reverse-the rail system.
Table and ball conditions vary so you may have to adjust a little....a level cue
with a full follow through stroke is needed....shoot softly for desired cue ball
spin....Cho-dan-cho makes billiard life easier.
Q-ball at 20 on short rail---Object balls at 10 on short rail.
20 + 10 = 30 Aim point on long rail is 30.
99 to 1
Many thanks to Sancho, the Frenchman, for locating this fourth rail cue ball path
---which originates from the short rail (A)--- to a target on the opposite short rail
(B)---with numbers as shown.
The odds of scoring a billiard here are 99 to 1 !
Example: Cue ball (Q) origin = 25---fourth rail destination = 30.
Select a point on the origin rail (A) that is opposite the fourth rail target on (B)
(which is 30)---then divide by 2 (which is 15), this is the base line.
Formula is: Origin on rail (A) is 25, minus 15 = 10---aim at 10 on rail (B).
Cue ball origins from 15 to 0 are outside the system limits
Antonios Gallopoulos, a 3-Cushion systems player from Greece, donated this
unique "Backout" system.
If cue ball is at position "5 or 12" and first ball (Red) is at position "5 - 3" the
first rail hit point is 5.
If cue ball is at position "5 or 12" and first ball (Red) is at position "7 + 4" the
first rail hit point is 12.
For other short rail cue ball origins put together the origin rail multiplier and first
ball (red ball) number and make the calculation e.g. as in the drawing. (cue ball
origin number is at 3x).
3 x 7 + 4 = 25 when red ball is at position "7 + 4".
3 x 5 - 3 = 12 when red ball is at position "5 - 3".
Two Thirds System
Here's another short angle gem from Greece (where the angle into the first
rail is less then 45 degrees).
Antonios Gallopoulos has simplified the Billiard Atlas's "two thirds" system
---and it becomes "3/2"
Suppose we want an arrival at diamond 3---multiply 3 x 3/2 = 4.5
On the line 4.5 to 0, find a spot on the wall , aim the cue ball---et viola !!
Center Cue ball hit---soft stroke---spot on the wall distance is important---
for distance, use the distance from the cue ball's origin rail to the first rail.
Latest Word Note: With practice, a player can use this aim point and add one,
two, or three tips of side english to the cue ball---each tip of side english adds
1/3 of diamond to the third rail hit point---an excellent drill for accuracy---note
that a center cue hit can spell path trouble on certain tables.
A short angle example is shown here:
Billiard Posters from Professorqball
Thanks to Paul Frankel, the billiard world can finally see large colored posters
showing "systems and techniques"
One poster shows the important "Ball System"---the other shows the "Bernie
System"---both nice to know.
Go to PROFESSORQBALL for information on how to obtain these items.