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How To Calibrate Your Speed and English

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There is a lot of confusion in the pool world about speed and spin. For instance you may hear one tip left english at medium speed or, two tips high at one speed for a specific shot. What does that mean exactly and how can I make sure I’m doing the same thing correctly? In this article, I will explain the levels of speed and english and what they mean in terms of how the balls act on the table. 

We are going to look at three levels of speed and three levels of spin. 

Let’s discuss speed first.

The first level of speed is: One speed. This is the speed that the object ball just falls into the pocket. One speed is also lag speed. 

The next level of speed is: Three speed. This is the speed the object ball is traveling to hit the back of the pocket. Most shots in pool are shot at three speed. Many players call this “medium speed” and I’d suggest you think long and hard if you are hitting balls harder than this.

The final level of speed is: Five speed. This is when the object ball hits the back of the pocket hard. There are times that you need this much speed, but I think your game will improve sticking with, and harnessing three speed. 

Now onto spin, also known as using english.

Starting with the cue ball on the spot and hitting up the length of the table with three speed and one tip of english will bring the cue ball from the center of the end rail to the corner pocket. 

Two tips of english at three speed, brings the cue ball into the side pocket. 

And three tips of english brings the cue ball roughly to the third diamond on the long rail below the side pocket.

For example let’s say you want to pocket a ball and go one rail to the center of the table. This would require you use two tips of english at one speed. After a few tries, you will start to get a feel for what you need in terms of speed and english. Try practicing english with different speeds to see how your shots end up. You can gauge from there if you need to increase your speed or english, or both to your shot.


See you on the road.

Mark F.