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Ask The Master Edition (1/29/13)

Howdy PoolDawgians!

Before we get into this week's gratuitous sales pitch, we have some exciting news.  Tom Simpson, one of the industry's most respected billiards instructors, has decided to join our little Justice League and write some articles for us!

For those who aren't familiar with Tom, here's a little background.  He's a world renowned PBIA/BCA/ACS instructor who runs the acclaimed National Billiards Academy.  He's been an instructor since 1994 and among other things, is the inventor of Elephant Balls (including the popular Elephant Practice Balls), the Ghost Ball Aim Trainer and has written for several pool and billiards magazines.  

Here's how it's going to work.  Tom will select his topic from questions submitted by our readers.  For his first article, Tom will answer the question "should I play with a low squirt shaft (commonly known as low deflection shafts).  Not surprisingly, we'll be hawking low deflection shafts in this email.  If you have a question for the expert, just email it to  And away we go!


Predator 314 Shaft

As low deflection shafts go, the 314 is OG of the crew.  Predator first came up with the idea of hollowing out the top few inches of the shaft in order to reduce the weight at the front.  This patented design has been proven to reduce deflection and provide an accuracy advantage of as much as 35%


Predator Z Shaft

There are two big differences between the 314 and the Z shaft that impact deflection and accuracy - the shaft diameter and the taper.  As with the 314, the Z shaft hollows out the front of the shaft to reduce overall weight.  Then they take the shaft down to 11.75mm (versus the 12.75mm 314 shaft) which makes the front even lighter.  Finally, they go with a stronger straight taper instead of the traditional pro taper.  The result is an overall accuracy improvement of up to 51%.

Katana Shaft

As a newer player in the billiards biz, Katana had to do something drastically different in order to get in the game.  Like most low deflection shafts, the Katana uses a radial design to drastically improve consistency, but the big story here is the taper.  The taper on the Katana is extra long, which creates a completely different shooting experience.  We like the shaft here at PoolDawg, but don't just take our word for it.  Read the reviews from a dozen of our pool playing customers who gave this shaft an average rating of 4.67 out of 5 stars. 

OB-1 Shaft

To reduce deflection, the OB-1 shaft goes with the light front end concept along with a radial design.  Because Predator is the only company that can use the hollowed out design, OB takes a different angle.  OB hollows the front and refills it with a foam core.  Then they further lighten the front end by using a wood ferrule (instead of plastic).  The result is an amazingly consistent hit that rivals the best low deflection shafts on the market.

Tom Simpson: Should I Play With A Low Squirt Shaft

There is a lot of confusion out there with respect to this issue, but for almost all of us, the answer, in my opinion, is YES.

Squirt is cueball deviation from the stick line. It happens every time you use sidespin. It's an angle change for the cueball that happens during the instant when your tip strikes the ball. Squirt is caused by your shaft. All shafts cause squirt – some less than others. Less is good.

Note that most of the high-tech shaft marketing information will say things such as "low-deflection shaft." You'll rarely see the word "squirt," but that's what they mean. From a technical perspective, we prefer to say that the shaft deflects (bends toward the side of the cueball), while the cueball squirts away from the sidespin. For example, if you use left english, the cueball will squirt to the right
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