Short Side Position

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One of the things that rotation game players don’t use a lot is short side position. One pocket, eight ball and straight pool players are more likely to look at short side position as an option when playing position.

Let’s look at some ideas for short side position and why it is sometimes the best choice.

First is cue ball movement. The less the cue ball moves, the better we are able to predict it’s final resting place. If you already have short side position, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to move the cue ball around the table to get on the other side of the object ball.

Next is not bumping in to balls. There are many examples of going to the short side to avoid crashing in to other balls. Not bumping in to other balls is an important concept in pool games and we’ll talk about that in a later article.

We also might have to use short side position because one of our balls is blocked from the pocket. Getting on the short side might be our only chance to take the ball off in our sequence.

Finally there is getting an angle to move the cue ball. We might need to be on the short side of a ball to get an angle to move to our next cue ball position.

Let’s look at an example of short side position and then some ideas on how to practice this skill.

Here we can see that getting on top of the two ball leaves us with an off angle combination. Now a lot of you might think that is easy, but we have to fall just right on the two, and then controlling the two to have another shot adds some real complexity to this shot.

I would much rather cheat the pocket a little and use a soft stroke to get under the two. From under the two, we can get to the 3 and then the rack opens up for us. 

Let’s look at some drills that you can practice to help you get familiar with getting on the short side of a ball.

Here is a drill I learned a long time ago, and it still works! This is much more challenging than it seems.



What you are trying to do is pocket the balls in rotation into the far corner pocket. Avoid the temptation to play the object ball in another pocket because you fell in to a funny spot!! Keeping the cue ball under wraps in this small space is a real challenge.

Next is this one.


This is a real tough one! The idea is to run out the balls in rotation with out bumping in to another ball. This will really challenge your cue ball control skills!

Have fun with these exercises. They are difficult, but will improve your position options and you will run out more racks.