Continuing with our look at some of the old time ways to take balls off the table, I thought it would be useful to look at the idea of shapes.  We talk about getting shape, but have you ever thought what that actually means?

Well after this article, you will have a better idea of shapes and how it helps you take balls off the table in a better, easier way.

Here is a typical layout of 8 ball with all the stripes and the 8 ball left on the table.  Your shot with ball in hand. 

As you can see in this diagram, the right half of the table has 4 balls in the shape of a square, and the left half of the table has 3 balls in the shape of a triangle.  Our job as a pool player is to take the balls in the square off first, then take off the triangle and that leads to the 8.

The key idea here is taking off a group of balls without moving the cue ball too much, then moving to the next group and take them off.  Working our way from group to group, we get to our final destination, pocketing the 8 ball.

So what do I mean by taking off a group of balls?  Look at the 4 balls forming a square.  I”m sure you can find two or three ways to take these balls off easily without moving the cue ball too much, and that is the idea.  It really doesn’t matter how you take them off.  What matters is that you pocket them all and finish with position to move into the next group. 

Now looking at the triangle on the left of the table, we can see that the 8 ball blocks the upper left hand corner pocket.  This limits how we get into this triangle as we have to pocket the 14 ball into the lower left corner pocket.

So here is one way to take these balls off without doing too much.

We can stop the 12 in the side, roll forward a little on the 10, and roll forward a bit on the 9 to get straight on the 11 in the upper left hand pocket.  Notice how we took off the square, kept the cue ball under control, and fell perfectly on the 11 to transition to the triangle.

Now we roll forward on the 11, and depending on how we fall, start taking the triangle off.  Notice that it really doesn’t matter how the triangle comes off as long as we keep the cue ball in that area for the 8.

Ideally we would fall on the 14 and then either get under the 13 or go one rail for either the 13 or the 15.  Notice that the 15 leads to a stop shot on the 13 in the side pocket.

So when taking off groups of balls, remember the order is not as important as taking off the group and keeping the cue ball in the general area of the group.  Our thinking process is to organize the balls into distinct shapes (squares, triangles, lines, etc.), and then take the balls off in such a way that we connect the shapes. 

Start thinking about balls being in shapes and how best to take off the different shapes and your patterns will start to get simpler.

Good luck and see you on the road!